How to answer TELL ME ABOUT YOURSELF interview question

How to answer TELL ME ABOUT YOURSELF interview question



Learn how to prepare for the job interview question “tell me about yourself” with these top tips.

The TELL ME ABOUT YOURSELF question is often the first to be asked at an interview and you need to get the answer right in order to give a good impression right from the start. We’ve got some general tips and if English is not your first language then we have some advice as to how to answer to make the most of your English level (even if it’s not fantastic).

Check out our playlist on how to get a job from A to Z

Your host is Gideon CEO of LetThemTalk in Paris and formerly an IT consultant in London.

Intermediate and advanced English lessons with subtitles on our youtube channel. Brought to you by LetThemTalk language school in Paris.

We go deeper

Subscribe here

So you sent off your CV and your covering
letter for that dream job and they're impressed! You're called to the interview
they welcome you, you shake hands and they ask you the first question "Tell me
about yourself?" what do you do? what
do you say? where do you begin? well this question will be asked at
almost every interview and let me tell you that this is a trick question they
are NOT asking you to tell you about yourself. To find out why stay tuned Hello and welcome to LetThemTalk and
today we're going to look at how to answer the interview question tell me
about yourself we've got some general tips and if English is not your first
language we'll look at how you can approach it if you're not so confident
about your English level. As I said at the beginning this is kind of a trick
question they are not asking you to tell them your life story and they're not
asking you to talk, in detail, about your professional and educational experience
and background why should they do that they got your CV they've read your
covering letter, they know all there is to know, so why should they ask this
question? What they want to know is if you possess the art of communication can
you engage? can you keep them interested? can you tell a story? the question
beneath the question is we know you have got what it takes to do the job on paper
but let's see what you're like as a candidate. And this is your chance to
make a good first impression so let's look at how to answer the question.
Rule number one: Keep it brief. Very important keep it brief one,two, three
minutes should be enough I would say five minutes is too long
ten minutes way too long you could probably say goodbye to the job don't
tell your life story, you don't get any points for giving a long answer and you
risk alienating the interviewers you do not need to talk about everything on
your CV this is just the first question and if you forget something, if you get
something important, it doesn't matter you can discuss it later in the
interview. Your answer should pique curiosity and the interviewer should be
thinking "I want to know more" and not "I already know too much". So what's the
content of your answer you should basically tell them a story about your
professional background and educational background if it relates to the current
position. now you should mention some of these things: so start by giving
some adjectives to describe yourself, especially ones that are relevant to the
job you're seeking say something about how you started you could mention an
accomplishment you could talk about your motivation tell them a story of how you
changed something or made a difference in your previous job or at university tell
them what you can do for them and what you want for the future and why you're
best suited for the job. So you can cover some of those points that'll
be great and finally give some personal detail to add colour or to show
that you are and all rounded individual and your life doesn't revolve
exclusively around work but this should be very brief, very brief just a few
words. I know that some recruitment advisors say that you shouldn't say
anything personal when answering this question but personally I think it's
good to show that you have a life outside of work and if one of your
interviews shares the same interest it can help you bond. but as I said keep it
very short so that's essentially the WHAT but HOW you tell it is much, much
more important as I said the question is a challenge to you to engage with them
and to connect with them on an emotional level. Often the words you use are less important than how you say them so
remember rule number one: maintain good eye contact throughout. This seems
obvious but I've seen so many candidates who don't look you in the eye
and it's quite disengaging. Have a good tone of voice with nice rolling
intonation not flat so that you sound like a robot. When you get passionate
raise your voice a little don't shout though. You can speed up, you
can slow down, you can use hand gestures. personally I like that some people sit
with their hands on their lap but I think it's good to look a little
animated and speak informally your covering letter and your CV is probably
written in formal English but when you speak make it sound more conversational
if it sounds too formal you can sound distant and unapproachable and for the
same reason don't memorize your answer learn the key points, yes, but let the
words come out naturally and leave room for spontaneity. If English is not your
first language you might be worried about your grammar mistakes well
certainly you shouldn't be. First of all, the interviewers are not grammar
teachers (unless of course you're going for a job as an English language teacher
and that's a different story) I assure you that they won't notice
any small grammar mistakes they want to know that you can communicate in English.
You can have perfect grammar and be a bad communicator and you can have not
good grammar and be a great communicator and that's what they want and, as I said,
the words you use are much less important than the way you communicate
and the story you tell. So even if your level of English is not that great you
can answer this question and it will put you in a good position for the rest of
the interview. OK I've talked enough about this so
let me just finish by giving an example so imagine I'm a project manager at an
interview for a new job so "Tell me about yourself" I would describe
myself as someone who is versatile and determined and someone who loves
learning. I'm creative, open-minded and easygoing and I enjoy working with
others and I try to use all these qualities in my professional life for
the last six years I've been working at XYZ company I started out at the help
desk where I worked closely with clients and I built some good relationships.
After that I did a number of roles in the company and have been promoted
several times now for the last three years I've been working as a project
manager. The company has been pretty successful and I'd like to think that I
contributed to that success my team has been developing accounting software for
the publishing industry and within two years we came from nowhere to being the
number one product in the field. And you know actually I wasn't looking for a new
job I'm quite happy where I am and I kind of
came across your job ad by accident but it really captivated my imagination your
company is renowned for being one of the most innovative
in the sector. And I know this is a more senior than my current position but I do
have the skills and the experience and the passion you need and I do believe I
can make a positive impact and that's why I'm here today. So in a nutshell
that's who I am professionally and when I'm not working I like to go hiking at
weekends and I like reading books. OK that's it I hope you found that useful
and if you have any tips of your own about how to answer this question do put
them in the comments and good luck with the interview stay mellow and I'll see
you next time.

23 thoughts on “How to answer TELL ME ABOUT YOURSELF interview question

  1. I got hired! I downloaded your video, watched it on the day before the interview and a few minutes before that too. Thank you!

  2. I have a clinical dietetic job tomorrow, it's my first interview for this type of position. I get nervous and talk about stuff that makes no sense. I got nervous once and started talking about how I walk my cats and it was the most interesting thing about me haha

  3. The school where I used to work before I quit my job coz of my studies says i should check what others are offering me and then come back and then they'll tell me how much they'll offer me. And I didn't like it and so I don't want to go back there. So what should I tell the other school where I am going to give interview in the morning , why I'm not applying to the previous school where I used to work when it's a better school with bigger name? Both schools are near my house and so it won't be enough to tell them that their school is closer to my house. And I'm not into lying thingy😭
    Please help me.

  4. Most interview questions are bullshit questions designed to get people to prostitute themselves and this one is the worst. Put another way, interview questions are designed to get you to sell yourself and this is the start of your sales pitch (I hated working in sales). "Connect on an emotional level"? I don't want to connect with you on an emotional level: I'm interviewing for a job, not going on a date. Another reason to hate job interviews!

  5. When youve been in many interviews it then becomes a norm, most interviewers google the questions to ask you. Be ready, flow with them and always be confident.

  6. This video is elementary for me, with my credentials and experience. Nonetheless, I would like to share my last interview that took place two weeks ago and ended in a mess because I was too desperate for any job.

    With my connections, I managed to land an interview with the ceo of one of the top companies and it was my first time to be interviewed by a ceo, and he asked me (tell me about yourself) and I literally blew it.😔 How? Well, I was and still out of a job for 8 months and I was desperate with tons of unpaid bills so I panicked big time and my anxiety cut my breath short and I had mind-block syndrome.

    Here is how I answered the question:
    “I started off with my name, degree and the university I graduated from which was 20 yrs ago. I continued with the names of companies I worked for with dates and locations without mentioning any of my skills, abilities, held positions, promotions or achievements. Then, I stopped talking and the interview was over.” Shortest interview ever, almost 3 minutes.

    Fyi, I have 19 yrs of professional experience, 10 yrs in leading positions with leading companies. I made a big difference in these companies. Several of my ideas and achievements are still implemented in those and I have c-levels to vouch for my work.
    Any way, I sounded like a fresh graduate without any experience I don’t know how or why I started and ended the interview like that.

    To tell you the truth, I don’t blame them for not wanting to employ me. I wouldn’t employ my self after that interview!

    My advice, “When you are interviewed, believe that you already have the best job in the world and that you don’t care if you don’t get the job or whom ever is interviewing you. Then, you’ll feel confident, you’ll look competent and professional in your response.”

    I hope my failure to deliver is a lesson to help others succeed in their next interview.

    Good luck to all…🙂

Leave a Reply