How to answer TELL ME ABOUT YOURSELF interview question


So you sent off your CV and your covering letter for that dream job and they're

impressed! You're called to the interview they welcome you, you shake hands and

they ask you the first question "Tell me about yourself?"

what do you do? what do you say? where do you begin?

well this question will be asked at almost every interview and let me tell

you that this is a trick question they are NOT asking you to tell you about

yourself. To find out why stay tuned

Hello and welcome to LetThemTalk and today we're going to look at how to

answer the interview question tell me about yourself we've got some general

tips and if English is not your first language we'll look at how you can

approach it if you're not so confident about your English level. As I said

at the beginning this is kind of a trick question they are not asking you to tell

them your life story and they're not asking you to talk, in detail, about your

professional and educational experience and background why should they do that

they got your CV they've read your covering letter, they know all there is

to know, so why should they ask this question? What they want to know is if

you possess the art of communication can you engage? can you keep them interested?

can you tell a story? the question beneath the question is we know you have

got what it takes to do the job on paper but let's see what you're like as a

candidate. And this is your chance to make a good first impression so

let's look at how to answer the question. Rule number one: Keep it brief. Very

important keep it brief one,two, three minutes should be enough I would say

five minutes is too long ten minutes way too long you could

probably say goodbye to the job don't tell your life story, you don't get any

points for giving a long answer and you risk alienating the interviewers you do

not need to talk about everything on your CV this is just the first question

and if you forget something, if you get something important, it doesn't matter

you can discuss it later in the interview. Your answer should pique

curiosity and the interviewer should be thinking "I want to know more" and not

"I already know too much". So what's the content of your answer you should

basically tell them a story about your professional background and educational

background if it relates to the current position. now you should mention some of

these things: so start by giving some adjectives to describe yourself,

especially ones that are relevant to the job you're seeking say something about

how you started you could mention an accomplishment you could talk about your

motivation tell them a story of how you changed something or made a difference in

your previous job or at university tell them what you can do for them and what

you want for the future and why you're best suited for the job. So you

can cover some of those points that'll be great and finally give some

personal detail to add colour or to show that you are and all rounded individual

and your life doesn't revolve exclusively around work but this should

be very brief, very brief just a few words. I know that some recruitment

advisors say that you shouldn't say anything personal when answering this

question but personally I think it's good to show that you have a life

outside of work and if one of your interviews shares the same interest it

can help you bond. but as I said keep it very short so that's essentially the

WHAT but HOW you tell it is much, much more important as I said the question is

a challenge to you to engage with them and to connect with them on an emotional level.

Often the words you use are less

important than how you say them so remember rule number one: maintain good

eye contact throughout. This seems obvious but I've seen so many

candidates who don't look you in the eye and it's quite disengaging. Have a good

tone of voice with nice rolling intonation not flat so that you sound

like a robot. When you get passionate raise your voice a little

don't shout though. You can speed up, you can slow down, you can use hand gestures.

personally I like that some people sit with their hands on their lap but I

think it's good to look a little animated and speak informally your

covering letter and your CV is probably written in formal English but when you

speak make it sound more conversational if it sounds too formal you can sound

distant and unapproachable and for the same reason don't memorize your answer

learn the key points, yes, but let the words come out naturally and leave room

for spontaneity. If English is not your first language you might be worried

about your grammar mistakes well certainly you shouldn't be. First of all,

the interviewers are not grammar teachers (unless of course you're going

for a job as an English language teacher and that's a different story) I assure

you that they won't notice any small grammar mistakes they want to

know that you can communicate in English. You can have perfect grammar and be a

bad communicator and you can have not good grammar and be a great communicator

and that's what they want and, as I said, the words you use are much less

important than the way you communicate and the story you tell. So even if your

level of English is not that great you can answer this question and it will put

you in a good position for the rest of the interview.

OK I've talked enough about this so let me just finish by giving an example

so imagine I'm a project manager at an interview for a new job so "Tell me

about yourself" I would describe myself as someone who is versatile and

determined and someone who loves learning. I'm creative, open-minded and

easygoing and I enjoy working with others and I try to use all these

qualities in my professional life for the last six years I've been working at

XYZ company I started out at the help desk where I worked closely with clients

and I built some good relationships. After that I did a number of roles in

the company and have been promoted several times now for the last three

years I've been working as a project manager. The company has been pretty

successful and I'd like to think that I contributed to that success my team has

been developing accounting software for the publishing industry and within two

years we came from nowhere to being the number one product in the field. And you

know actually I wasn't looking for a new job

I'm quite happy where I am and I kind of came across your job ad by accident but it

really captivated my imagination your company is renowned for being one of the

most innovative in the sector. And I know this is a more

senior than my current position but I do have the skills and the experience and

the passion you need and I do believe I can make a positive impact and that's

why I'm here today. So in a nutshell that's who I am professionally and when

I'm not working I like to go hiking at weekends and I like reading books.

OK that's it I hope you found that useful and if you have any tips of your own

about how to answer this question do put them in the comments and good luck with

the interview stay mellow and I'll see you next time.