The Best Ways to Answer “Tell Me About Yourself”

Woman interviewing for a job. staffing agency in rochester ny

How to Nail Your Next Interview

Tell me about yourself.  This phrase is oftentimes one of the first things that prospective employees are asked to do during an interview.  Where do you even begin to answer that? Are there certain things worth mentioning more than others? How personal should you get?  Navigating this particular question can be tricky, but the interview experts at Career Start, a staffing agency in Rochester, NY are here to help.

First of all, it’s important to understand why this question is being asked in the first place.  This question is an excellent prompt to begin the interview itself, and gives you as the interviewee the perfect opportunity to introduce yourself.  It’s a brilliant way to mention your experience, your skills, successful projects you’ve worked on, and anything else you feel like mentioning right off the bat.

There’s a couple of different ways to go about answering this question.  You might choose to mention everything chronologically, or potentially start with some of your greatest accomplishments.  Choose whatever way feels the most natural to you. It’s always better to seem less rehearsed, even if you might have been practicing answering this in the mirror for days beforehand.

Even if they already have your resume in front of them, it’s important to reiterate your past experience that is on there.  They’ll be impressed if you can go into further detail that goes beyond the information on that one page document. Think of it as you narrating a story about yourself in relation to your professional life.  Add in any interesting anecdotes that you feel will enhance the information on your actual resume.

This is a great opportunity for you to clearly and effectively communicate your overall skill set.  If you can pull off answering this question, you’re going to seem like a more viable candidate for the position at hand.  In order to really nail this down, follow this simple formula:

  • Present — Begin talking about your current role, your responsibilities, the general scope of it, and highlight a major accomplishment
  • Past — Then, segue into how you got into this position and mention your previous experience that is relevant to the position you’re interviewing for
  • Future — To finish, talk about what you’re looking to do next, why this role seems interesting to you, and why you’re a great fit

Here are a few other tips that will help you construct the best answer to this classic interview question:

  1. Tailor your answer to the role and company. 
    When an interviewer prompts you to tell them about yourself, they’re basically looking for you to tie in the position you’re interviewing for as much as possible.  Making those verbal connections between your experience and the upcoming role will make a huge difference.
  2. Keep everything professional. 
    While it’s important to let your personality shine through, there’s a way to do that without drifting the conversation in a direction that becomes too casual.
  3. At the same time, expressing some passion is equally important. 
    If you’re comfortable, incorporate some personal elements into your verbiage.  You don’t necessarily have to give them a huge amount of detail, but just be conscious that you’re not sounding like a robot.
  4. Be concise. 
    Don’t waste your time reiterating every bullet point on your resume.  Figure out a way to summarize each of your previous positions in a succinct way.
  5. Practice what you want to mention. 
    However, that doesn’t mean you need to memorize a script of what you plan on saying word for word.  Like we said before, keep everything as natural as possible. This will make you come across as prepared but not overtly robotic.
  6. Keep everything positive. 
    It’s best to reflect yourself in a good light.  Stay away from anything you don’t feel would be on your highlight reel as an employee.  The only time to mention any faults of yours would be if the interviewer asks about your weaknesses. Don’t bring them up unprompted.

At Career Start, we’re here to lead you in the right direction during the interviewing process as a premiere staffing agency in Rochester, NY.  We provide personal guidance, helpful tips, and individualized approaches that have been proven to be highly successful.  Check out some of our recent job openings here.

Posted on February 26, 2020. Categorized as .

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