How to answer the question "Tell me about yourself" during an Interview?

Wed Apr 19, 2023

Interview questions serve different purposes. Some aim to gather basic information about your work history, such as the companies you worked for, your previous job responsibilities, and projects you were involved in. These types of questions are commonly asked in interviews. Other questions are designed to test your ability to think critically and quickly, assessing your analytical and problem-solving skills. Despite their apparent simplicity, some questions can prove challenging to answer, like the classic opener "Tell me about yourself."

Interviews can be daunting, especially when you're asked to introduce yourself. Many candidates either clam up with few things to say, say too much or, worse, say too much in the wrong direction. Even given enough time to prepare before the interview, it is difficult to summaries all of your experience and skills into one solid and punchy answer. But the good news is that most of us are overthinking it. Self-introduction, or these tell-me-about-yourself questions, are pretty simple to answer. You only require a framework to work with, a basic structure that can help you construct appropriate and impressive responses.

To successfully answer the question, it is essential to follow these steps:

1. Stay specific
Interviewers prefer to hear specific examples of your past achievements instead of a list of your existing skills, which may be similar to those of other candidates. Providing concrete data and results to support your examples is important in demonstrating your abilities. By presenting numbers, you can set yourself apart from other applicants and showcase your impact on your previous employer.

2. Give short, punchy answers
To make the most of your prior job achievements, it's important to get to the point quickly. Ensure that everything you talk about relates to your key skills and demonstrates what you can offer. Keep your self-introduction concise and focused, and identify the most impressive parts that will make an impact.

3. Build a structure around your answers
To effectively communicate during an interview, it's important to remember that words alone are not enough. The manner in which you deliver your responses is just as crucial. To create a well-organized answer, use a framework consisting of a background, reasoning, and an opportunity for follow-up. The background should cover the "What," the reasoning should address the "How" or "Why," and the follow-up provides a chance for the interviewer to ask additional questions.

4. Practice, practice, then practice again
In a way, the best part about interview questions based on self-introduction is that you know it will come up in every interview. This also means that you have more than enough opportunities to prepare for it. Preparation also allows your answer to come across as less rehearsed and more relaxed. One tip to do so is to record your answer as an audio or video, then play it back for yourself to assess.

Remember, not all interview questions were created equal, and some are designed to test your analytical thinking skills and ability to think on your feet. However, with the right framework, answering the "Tell Me About Yourself" question can be a breeze. By staying specific, giving short, punchy answers, building a structure around your answers, and Practising, you can impress your interviewer and land your dream job.

Tanusree Bagchi

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