How to Answer the “Tell Me About Yourself” Interview Question

tell me about yourselfFor every interview I have ever had, the first question they always ask  is, “Tell me about yourself.” While it may seem like an easy question, it will set the tone for the rest of your interview, and is the first impression the employer gets of you. Below are five tips to help you ace this question.

1. Be confident

Employers can sniff out a lack of confidence from a mile away. As the first question, this is where they test out whether you are confident or not. Check out this blog post, Interviewing with Confidence: Taming the Midwest Humble, for more information on how and why you need to be confident in your interview.

2. Start with your credentials

First, you should start with your credentials. ” I am a senior majoring in _____.” I always have this little segment down. These are the main points you want to get across to anyone that you meet. This will lay the groundwork for what you want to address in this question.

3. Tell them why you chose your major/industry – give them a story

Passion is one quality employers look for because it’s an indicator that you will be dedicated to the work you will be doing. Talking about the inspiration for your major and why you want to have a job in this field is one way to convey passion. For example, tell the interviewer about a class you took that was inspiring or a life event that caused you to go down this path. Tell a story that gives them a reason to keep listening, giving them insight into why you would be a passionate and enthusiastic employee.

4.Tell them about your experiences throughout college

You then need to transition to telling them about the most influential experiences you have had while in college. Give them a short synopsis of an influential class, your internships, students organizations, volunteer opportunities or anything else that has been influential. This gives them a quick overview of why you have the experience for the job.

5. Tell them how your experiences help them in this job

The most important thing is the ending, or the “hook”. Tell them why your experiences make you the best candidate for this position. Tie all of your experiences and your inspiration together to make you look like you are an enthusiastic candidate that has the experience to back it up. Try an ending phrase like “I am specifically drawn to this position because it would offer the opportunity to utilize my _______ skills and grow in the area of _____. I feel drawn to the work you do here based on past experience and future goals”.

The five steps outlined above represent one way to answer the question. We’ve gotten feedback from employers that this is a good raodmap – but it’s certainly not the only way. Feel free to mix it up a little. Have a friend ask you this question to gain experience and increase your confidence. Like it or not – this question will always come up in an interview, usually right away. Below is a video that demonstrates some good and bad answers to this question.

Jordan Simonson

By Jordan Simonson
CALS Career Services Peer Advisor

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