“Tell us something about yourself” is a seemingly easy question every one of us must have faced in a job interview. Though apparently, we believe we know ourselves the best and should feel perfectly confident about answering this question. But when it comes from the interview board, you must put your best foot forward without coming across as someone trying too hard to impress. After all, this question has several layers and covers a lot of aspects of hiring:
- Why they should hire you
- How true are you to your resume
- How your communications skills are
- If you are a goal-oriented and confident person or not
- Your background
If not answered satisfactorily, this icebreaker can indeed become a deal-breaker for you. Therefore, this blog will discuss how to answer this question satisfactorily for interview success.
‘Tell Me Something About Yourself’ Interview Question Variants
As a conversation starter or icebreaker interview question, ‘tell us something about yourself’ comes up in different forms. Here are a few common variants of this icebreaker:
- Tell me something about yourself that’s not there in your resume
- Please walk us through your resume
- How would you describe yourself
- Would you please introduce yourself
If not answered well, the question can hamper interview success. So let’s look into a few tips to answer ‘tell us something about yourself’ effectively in a job interview.
How to Answer Tell Me Something About Yourself for Interview Success
Remember, the HR manager is not interested in your backstories when they ask ‘tell me something about yourself’. So keep it professional and brief. Focus on your professional experiences, interests and achievements that have brought you there for a job interview. The question intends to test your communication skills besides your personality, so use professional tonality and word usage. Come across fluent, confident yet modest.
If you have applied for a music teacher’s role, the board will be interested in knowing your experience in playing the cello and not your experience in selling real estate. Therefore, study the job description thoroughly before appearing in the interview and respond to the point.
Brevity is the soul of wit, more so when answering an interview question. Keep it short and crisp, but retain all the necessary information. Do not skip essential details; do not go on and on about something unrelated to the job role. However, there are a few details that are not directly related to professional experience that must be mentioned when answering ‘tell me something about yourself’.
For instance, if you do not mention your family background/ where you grew up etc., in a sentence or two, there will be a follow-up question,’ tell us something about your family’. Also, skipping the part about your general interests and hobbies is a bad idea as it gives an insight into your personality.
Always keep it based on your professional exposure, experience and achievements. Talk about academic and professional achievements first. If you have some spectacular co-curricular achievement/ award — a distinction in sports, arts or music — then you can mention that in a sentence. This gives a human touch, and a peek into the personality of the candidate.
It is essential to come up with a structured response when you are asked ‘tell us something about yourself’. We need a structure because there’s a lot to tell, and we need to decide how to proceed with the answer for interview success. Here’s the flow you should follow
- What you do professionally and how long you have been doing it (years of experience)
- Where you come from (family/ background)
- Currently where you are working, in which role, and previous workplaces.
- Education (recent to secondary level)
- What you can bring to the table if selected (a few affirming qualities/ strengths/ skills related to the job description)
- Awards and achievements from the past that support your claims
- Interests/ hobbies (how do you like spending your free time)
For freshers, it is not possible to harp on professional experience. They must focus on skills and achievements related to the field to substantiate what they have to offer the company.
As they say, your first impression is the last impression, and ‘tell us something about yourself’ is a question that allows you to make a remarkable first impression. If you put your best foot forward, this question will set the course for the remaining part of the interview and ensure success.
However, it is an interview mistake to sound over-convincing as that might ruin your chances of being considered for the job. Do not make unrealistic claims which are not backed by your resume. Research well about the company and the job role so that when they ask you ‘tell us something about yourself’, you can tune it into what they are looking for.