Job Interview Tips Professional Development

6 Steps to Answering ‘Tell Me About Yourself’ During a Job Interview

Written by Jessie Liu

While this might seem a like simple question to answer with people you’ve just met, it can be nerve-wracking at a job interview. What is too much or too little information? How do you articulate all of your relevant job experiences in a 30-minute format? During the interview process, first impressions are important and can make the difference in whether you get the job or not. That, in turn, can make a difference in whether you can pay your bills and buy food. A few handy tips can help you sail through this important interview question to be prepared when the time comes.

1. Include All Relevant Information.

Answer in an inclusive way, but include all the information necessary to give the hiring manager an idea of what you’re about. An ideal response should compel the recruiter to ask you more questions and include parts of your past, present, and future. An interesting response can encourage a recruiter to explore your application further. Whether applying for a sales jobs or other types of jobs, the interview process is the same.

2. Answer. Don’t Ramble.

The recruiter isn’t interested in hearing a dissertation on your past life. Keep information to what is most relevant, and focus on the job description. Try to keep your response under one minute—that’s time enough to respond and will show the recruiter your answer is well thought out and articulate. It might be a good idea to write out a response to this question in advance, time it until it is short enough, and practice beforehand.

3. Think About the Job.

Hiring the wrong person for the job can reflect badly on the recruiter, so he or she wants to find the best qualified person. Getting an interviewee to talk is the best way to go about that, but rambling on about inconsequential things can be a turn-off. Give the recruiter a chance to ask questions and don’t think it is a race to the finish. Be concise and to the point.

4. Begin With Your Education.

If you are qualified for the educational requirements for the job, begin your statement with your education—what and when you studied. If you don’t meet the educational requirements but have experience that shows you can do the job, then start there. Whatever you do, don’t lie about your education. That can perhaps land you a job but can also cost you the job when the employer finds out. In addition, remember to not get too detailed. There will be plenty of other questions to answer, and you can fill in later.

5. Present Your Selling Points.

No, the recruiter doesn’t need to know that you worked in a snack shop during high school or that you have four children and a house full of pets. Going through all the jobs you’ve ever held, even though these jobs are not relevant to this one, is a mistake (as you will be able to tell when the recruiter’s eyes start to glaze over). Keep your focus relevant to the job application and highlight the skills and expertise you have acquired from about two other jobs that make you a great candidate for the job.

6. Hit the Finish Line.

Conclude the answer to this question with why you think your qualifications make you a good fit for the job. If you still have a job at the time of the interview, include how much you would like this opportunity because it offers a challenge and excitement. Don’t say that your current job, boss, or environment is a problem for you. Statements of discontent about a current job may make the recruiter think you could be a difficult person or are job shopping until you find the one that suits you and will take whatever you can get in the meantime.

The most difficult part about job hunting is getting to that first interview to be given an opportunity to speak. TheJobNetwork can help by sending job openings that match your qualifications and needs as soon as those openings appear. All you have to do is list what types of jobs you want to apply for and your qualifications and the process begins. This simple way to job hunt is more inclusive than searching for yourself and keeps you from missing opportunities. You can get started right away when you sign up for job match alert.

About the author

Jessie Liu

Jessie Liu is a digital marketer, specializing in SEO, Digital Analytics, Content Marketing and Social Media. She helps lead TheJobNetwork’s content marketing efforts, including content strategy and promotion strategy. She believes in data-driven decision making. She recently adopted a Beagle mix puppy named Happy. Feel free to tweet her @jessiecliu for pictures of her adorable new puppy or just any marketing related stuff.