“So, tell me about yourself.” A seemingly simple, but daunting question that almost every interview starts with. How much should you share? How can you relate your experiences to the job? This is not an invitation to recite your entire life story or even to go bullet by bullet through your resume. Instead, it’s your best chance to pitch the hiring manager on why you’re the right one for the job. Don’t worry job seekers, here is a foolproof formula for answering this tough interview question.
Why Do Interviewers Even Ask This Question?
When the interviewer asks you, “Tell me about yourself”, what are they trying to achieve? Well, for the interviewer, it’s an easy and open-ended way to start the conversation. His ultimate goal for this interview is to find out enough about you to decide if you’re a good fit for the position and company. In fact, your answer to this question will dictate the interviewer’s first impression of you and will set the tone for the entire interview, letting you lead with your strongest selling points.
How to Answer the Interview Question “Tell Me About Yourself”
Think of your answer to this question as an elevator pitch. An elevator pitch (which is also called an elevator speech) is a quick synopsis of your background and experience. The reason it’s called an elevator pitch is that you should be able to present it during a brief elevator ride.
A great answer will address your primary selling points and why you are interested in this position. You can use this simple 3-point formula:
1. Who you are
This should be a concise, professional introduction of who you are. This is not the time to tell the interviewer where you grew up and your favorite hobbies. Instead, use it as a time to talk about your different positions that relate to this new position.
2. What are your selling points/expertise
Don’t assume that the interviewer has closely read your resume and knows your qualifications. Use your elevator pitch to briefly highlight 2-4 points that you think make you stand out.
3. Why you are interested in this position
End by telling them why you want this position. You should be concise and positive. For example, talk about wanting a challenge or a change. Being too candid and negative about why you are leaving your current position can leave a bad impression.