Tell Me About Yourself: Tips for This Job Interview Question
There’s the ever so frightening question from the hiring management detail that goes something like this, “So, tell me about yourself?” Wait, what?! Uh, I know me…I think! No wait, I do know me! But what part of me do they want to know? Say something, quick! “I like dogs.” NO! You idiot!
This happens people, trust me. And it shouldn’t. You know the question’s coming. You know how to answer it, deep down inside. Now let’s get it squared up so instead of dogs, you’re talking passions.
Think when responding with all your answers to any question about how you can relate your narrative or answer towards that open role. Hiring managers are feeling pain (we call them ‘pain points’ in the fancy business world), and you should care about healing that pain. Explain all your successes or projects in a format that will let them know just how you can provide some Tylenol relief. Tell them about your career achievements and goals first, and then take the opportunity to explain your recent layoff. You can explain it on your own terms, instead of letting the interviewer formulate questions about it. Avoiding or hiding the issue only makes your interviewer think you did not take the layoff well or that you have more to hide.
You can almost answer this in the form of the question, ‘what are your strengths?’ so make sure you have an alternate answer for that question, you don’t want to be repetitive ever during an interview. Different anecdotes for different questions.
Below are some sample answers from previous interview training clients with the hope that you may find some nuggets of help! Happy interviewing!
Client 1: Mentioned the word “leveled” as part of the answer for this question. The client provided a solid approach to this question by speaking about her strengths. She also mentions, “Relatability” as a great answer when speaking about the spectrum of people she can talk to, when it happens to be broad. I’m glad she didn’t go into her favorite hobby, boating, in this answer, but rather went the strength route.
Client 2: Personally he had a family and loves spending time with them…he’s looking for a job that gives him the opportunity to spend meaningful time on the weekends. But he didn’t mention that in the interview obviously (in case he has to work weekends). He also loves challenges and wants to transition back into a benefits role because he loves benefits and feels like he didn’t have a lot of employee interaction. Make this known as part of the answer. Then the client mentioned that he love’s the targeted company’s advocacy for the employee’s work-life balance as a whole. Mention this also, shows you’ve done some due diligence research.
Client 3: She mentions her passion and drive in all aspects of her life, both personally and professionally, and enjoys making a difference in people’s lives. Good, but dive in more on some specifics. Than she said that if she could go the extra mile for the company and employees, it makes her feel good and accomplished. Nicely done! I liked how she went into something personal. Try to spin that into something professional then, while simultaneously using some nice soft skills (team-oriented, dependable, results-driven) to explain her answer. Remember, try to always think of different answers as much as you can! Loved that she kept going into her family as part of the answer, but she also needs to make sure she switches it up some with the end theme being the ability to make a difference. Grat theme, stick to it during the whole interview.
Client 4: He said he loves golf, beer (responsibly), video games, and being a stay at home dad. Not a bad answer and while I liked how he went into something personal, let’s try to spin it into something professional. Do not have this type of answer, most enjoy beer but are most likely not going to display this affection to business colleagues.
Client 5: She said she’s intelligent, dependable, determined to improve livelihoods, hardworking and a people support person. She also said she communicates well and motivates people to get going in life for success, while developing a positive outlook in life. Great answers to keep going back to the individual you’re helping!