How to Answer Common Interview Questions: Tell Me About Yourself

Part 1: Tell me about yourself!

This questions is generally the first question every interviewer asks. It is meant to open the door to information and allow the prospective candidate to provide information he or she thinks is relevant.

There is a hidden question behind this common interview opening. The interviewer is actually asking, “Why do you want to work here? What can you contribute to us?”

So to help you craft an answer to those hidden questions, consider the following.

Why our company?

  • Be sure you have done your research about the company and understand your attraction to the company and position. Can you effectively communicate that information to the interviewer?
  • Be prepared to explain the skills and experience you have that transfer to the new position and the company. Interviewers need to know what you can do for the company and you should make it easy on them by providing clear examples in a well-crafted answer.
  • Speak confidently about your skills without bragging. Do not go astray by moving in the opposite direction and downplaying skills, experience, and knowledge that you bring to the position.

Why this position?

  • Provide examples of past accomplishments to cement the contributions you can make in the new position.
  • Quantify past accomplishments using $, %, and numbers that demonstrate your worth. Or qualify accomplishments that cannot be quantified. Use words such as effectively, positively, and profitably to explain the qualities you bring to the position.
  • Demonstrate that you understand the requirements of the position by linking past responsibilities to the job requirements.

The answer to the “tell me about yourself” question should take no more than 60 seconds. Speak in a normal, conversational tone – there is no need to speak quickly or hurry through your answer.

Craft a new answer for every position and practice your answer. You will be surprised at how much you can convey to the interviewer in 60 seconds.

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