How to Answer the "Tell Me About Yourself" Question

July 15, 2019

It is very common to go into an interview and have the first question you are asked to be, “Tell me about yourself.”  On the surface this appears to be an easy question to answer.  A nice icebreaker to begin the interview.  The reality is that often, this question leads you down a winding path, often resulting in you rambling for several minutes without you ever really being able to highlight any of your skills or suitability for the job. 

You need to know that often, interviewers ask this question in part, to determine if you're a good fit for the job and firm culture.

Often, in response to this question, candidates will divulge their entire life story.  Where they grew up, what clubs and extra-curriculars they partake in, sometimes even their views on controversial topics.  While having a social life outside of work is important and firms do like hearing full-bodied responses, the best way to answer this question is by giving a response which centers around your career – this does make sense, given that you are interviewing for a job. 

Your answer should address several points.  First, you want to speak about your present job situation – this will be a brief overview of where you are now in your career.  Then, you want to highlight a few points about your past – how you got to this point in your career.  Finally, you want to address your future goals for your career.  Ideally, you will want to tie these future goals into the opportunity that the firm you are interviewing with can offer. 

After you have addressed your professional path, you can intertwine some personal aspects about yourself – i.e. any volunteer work, athletic associations, hobbies, etc. 

Be sure not to overwhelm the interviewer and keep your response as clean and concise as possible.  Finally, avoid oversharing, especially when it comes to personal information.  

Ultimately, your answer to this question should be tied to the job and allow you to demonstrate your skills, qualities and overall expertise that will be valuable in the role.

Thanks for reading!  If you have an interview coming up and would like some additional tips, be sure to call or email us.

Happy Job Hunting and Good Luck!

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