A list of common job interview questions and answers—right and wrong—with expert tips. Behavioral interview questions, phone interview questions, and more.
You know what they say—
You never get a second chance to make a first impression.
And even though it’s a bit of a cliché… it’s true.
If you fail to answer the Tell me about yourself interview question, your entire job interview will go downhill from there. And that’s not an encouraging thought.
Not to worry.
In this article, you’ll learn what this question is really about. We’ll show you a tried-and-tested formula for structuring your answer. Also, we’ll explain to you how to make your answer relevant to the position you’re pursuing. And you’ll get to see lots of examples to inspire you.
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Looking for advice on other interview questions? Here’s a selection of guides you might find interesting:
- What makes you unique?
- How would you describe yourself?
- Why should we hire you?
- Describe what you do in your current position
- Why did you leave your last job?
- What is your greatest strength?
- What is your greatest weakness?
- Why do you want this job?
- Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
- What is your management style?
- Do you have any questions for me?
- What motivates you?
- What are your salary expectations and requirements?
- What are you passionate about?
- How to explain gaps in employment
Learn Why Recruiters Ask This Question
There’s a reason behind each and every question the interviewer asks you. And unless you know what the reason is, you’re likely to fail your answer miserably.
Why do they ask Tell us about yourself?
Well, there are four main reasons:
- To smoothly start the interview without stressing you out.
- To set the tone and direction for the entire interview.
- To get a sample of your soft skills in a real-life situation.
- To get to know you professionally.
Starting with the last point on the list—
Recruiters only know you from what you put on your resume (and maybe from a brief conversation on the phone), so they want to get to know you better. Mind you though—professionally, not personally.
Now, the way you talk and behave will give them a glimpse into your soft skills: Are you confident and calm while you’re speaking? Do you maintain eye contact? Are you a good communicator? Can you establish rapport?
Your answer could also determine what questions come next. If you win the recruiter over right off the bat, your entire job interview can go pretty smoothly.
Of all the questions the recruiters can ask, this one seems most relaxed (and yet meaningful) to begin an otherwise stressful conversation.
Want to find out what questions recruiters like to ask and what they want to test by asking them? Check out this guide: Top 10+ Interview Questions to Ask at a Candidate at an Interview
Memorize This Simple Bulletproof Formula
You already know they’re not looking for fun facts about yourself.
Here’s a simple formula for answering “Tell me about yourself:”
- Start with an important strength the hiring manager is looking for.
- Say how that skill or quality helped your employer(s) in the past.
- Make sure you give metrics to show your real-life impact.
- Explain how this new opportunity will help you grow your talents to your and the company's mutual benefit.
Tell Me About Yourself Examples
Here’s a great tell me about yourself sample answer for experienced IT professionals that incorporates all the elements listed in the formula above:
Q: Tell us a bit about yourself.
A: (1) I really enjoy providing robust software solutions. (2) I’ve led a software engineering team of 10 programmers at Xyzzy Solutions for three years. (3) Our proudest moment was receiving the 2018 Bossie award. (2) Before that I worked for two years as a software engineer at SurgeWallop. (3) I slashed security breaches 70% by winning full employee buy-in for our Principle of Least Privilege drive. (4) It’s been a great run, but I’m chafing at the bit to sink my teeth in with a high-performing DevOps team like the one at Brass LAMP Dev.
I’ve always been really interested in computers. I guess for the past nine years now I’ve been a programmer, but my passion for tech started way back when I was a kid. I’ve always loved monkeying around with code, but it wasn’t until I moved to Arizona that I tried to make a living off it. I got really into it and I can’t imagine doing anything else.
In and of itself the wrong example may not look that bad at all. In fact, it looks like what most candidates would normally say.
The problem is you’ll never be the only candidate, and the strength of your answer will always be relative to the other candidates’ answers. Plus, if it sounds like what most candidates say, no one will even remember it.
Pro Tip: Don’t ramble. Rehearse and time your answer. Have a solid ending. The worst something about you answers take too long and trail off into silence.
Mind you though—
Knowing the formula isn’t enough to give a good answer.
The formula will only help you if you know how to make your answer relevant to the position you’re after.
In the following section we’ll show you how to get everything right.
If you want to introduce yourself in a different context than a job interview, jump straight to this article: How to Introduce Yourself Professionally & Casually [Examples]
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Make Your Answer Relevant
Here’s the thing:
Interviews happen after your resume has gone through a selection process.
It means they’ve liked what you put there.
If you followed our advice on how to write a resume, you already know that relevance is key. If not, well, you’ve just learned it.
Now it’s time to make sure that what you’re planning to say is relevant too. The first step involves revisiting the job offer.
Take a look at the example below:
On the basis of the highlighted fragments of the job offer, we can say the employer is looking for two main skills:
- Handling multiple clients.
- Triaging calls and emails.
Your tell me about yourself answer could look something like this:
Tell Us About Yourself Examples
Q: Tell me something about you.
A: Well, I thrive in the excitement of a fast-paced office. As a receptionist at Drake & Caswell, I loved interacting with our 200 regular clients and managing training and travel schedules for 25 employees. Before that at Mindon Well Drilling, I really enjoyed being the contact point for hundreds of client calls and visits every week. In fact, I saved 20 management hours a month by triaging calls and emails. Those were great opportunities, but I’m at the point where this position at Maven Consulting Solutions would really let my talents shine.
Well, I’ve been a receptionist for the past seven years and I love it. You know, interacting with all the people and taking calls and just working with people in general. I’m a people person. I love the back and forth and energy. Even on my days off I love hanging out with friends and being around family. I’m also a hard worker and I’m very dependable.
The first of these examples addresses the employer's actual needs. The second is just a cute story that tells the recruiter nothing about the actual value you can bring to the company.
Pro Tip: If you’re applying for a job that wasn’t advertised with an offer, you can check out LinkedIn profiles of the company’s employees. Also, explore the company’s website and/or social media profiles to understand its culture and identify the skills it looks for.
To sum up—
It’s not just the formula that’s helpful in preparing your answer. You must see to it that what you’re saying is relevant to the position you’re pursuing.
Not sure how to talk about your achievements in the most impactful way? Check out our guide on How to Describe Your Achievements Effectively
Practice a Lot and Follow Good Examples
You have to remember that it’s not just what you say that counts but also how you say it.
The only way to deliver your answer just the way you want is to rehearse it.
Use the good tell me about yourself examples below to get inspired and then practice as much as you can. Deliver your introduction in front of the mirror, record yourself, practice with a friend.
The goal is to be able to say exactly what you want, just the way you want.
And here’s a bunch of sample answers to get you inspired.
Notice three things all of those interview tell me about yourself answers have in common:
- They kick off with a key fact that fits the job.
- The hit present, past, and future.
- They list achievements that are relevant to the position.
Tell Me About Yourself Best Answers—Examples
Q: Tell me something about yourself.
A: I thrive in a fast-paced office where I can work on ratcheting up efficiency. At Castle Rock Mineral we often had over 100 customers a day come through the doors. I was able to cut scheduling errors by 25% and resolve complaints 50% faster than the previous assistant. Before that at TD Dental, I helped raise patient satisfaction scores 20% by streamlining our intake flow. I’m ready to grow into a position where my efficiency can make a difference to a larger team. That’s why I’m so excited about this role.
That self-introduction in an interview for experienced candidates shows you have what the job needs.
Q: Tell me about yourself.
A: I’m a prolific web developer. At ExamTeam5, I regularly completed full-stack development for websites in 7 or 8 weeks. I cut delivery times at VerifEye Solutions by 30%. I enjoyed both positions, but HF7 Technologies is well-known for its aggressive work schedule. I think my productivity would really be valued here.
Q: Please introduce yourself.
A: I love using my talents to bring more business to a worthy product. I worked as marketing manager at Ninequist Interactive for three years. During that time, my team and I presided over a period of 40% revenue growth. Before that at Spintegrity, I was able to increase conversions for email campaigns by 25%. I’m ready for a bigger challenge, and I would thrive in a fast-growing tech firm like Sequoia5 Global.
That’s a great answer for tell me about yourself in an interview for experienced applicants.
Q: Tell us something about you.
A: I really enjoy working as an OR nurse. For three years at Chrontos Medical, I received consistent commendations for my performance in the peri-operative setting. Before that at Barstow General, I was first-choice for the team of 15 surgeons. I’ve enjoyed every step along the way. Mass General was my first choice when I moved East because of your reputation for high-level health care in a safe, compassionate environment.
That tell about yourself answer for experienced candidates proves your nursing skills beyond question.
Q: Let’s start with a brief self-introduction.
A: When I’ve got a product I believe in, I excel at selling it. I’ve loved working as a sales associate at Peterboro-Munchen for the past two years. The job gave me an opportunity to increase revenue by over $100,000 a year for some of the best pumps and hoses on the market. Before that at Belsden Group, I consistently outsold the other ten reps by 10% to 15%. Again, great product. Those were both great positions and I learned a lot, but now I really want to show what I can do. You’ve got the most respected, highest value security systems in the world, and a big market to sell them in. I’m very excited at the chance to use my skills to put your revenue through the roof.
Plus, a great cover letter that matches your resume will give you an advantage over other candidates. You can write it in our cover letter builder here. Here's what it may look like:
Here's how to answer "Tell me about yourself:"
- Introduce yourself by referencing the job’s needs. Learn them by reading the offer carefully and researching the company.
- Tell the recruiter about your past achievement(s) and why you’re excited about this opportunity.
- Mention the numbers in your answer. They give insight into your real-life impact.
- Review tell me about yourself sample answers. They’ll help you give the perfect answer.
- Practice your answer to feel confident enough to deliver it flawlessly under stress.
Got more questions about how to answer tell me about yourself interview questions? Need more how to introduce yourself in an interview sample answers? Want additional job interview questions and answers samples? Leave a comment. We’ll be happy to reply!