Interview tips – How do you answer “tell me about yourself” in a job interview?

by K B , updated on July 4, 2015

This is one question most people dread, so why do interviewers ask it?

Some interviewers use it to try to make you feel comfortable, while they shuffle through their interview questions to get to what they really want to ask. Some interviewers use it to see how you communicate. Others use it to see how you sell yourself, and whether you have done your research on the role, on yourself and on the company.

To be honest, I think it’s a bit of a lazy question.

It doesn’t put people at their ease. People are generally nervous at the start of the interview, and tend to blurt out whatever comes to mind, even if they have prepared for the question. Then they worry about the impression they make. That nervousness can carry over into the rest of the interview.

So how should you prepare?

First of all, don’t rabbit on too long.

“Tell me about yourself,” will never be the only question the interviewer asks. It’s the umbrella question before they get to the specifics they want to know.  You have, however, only one chance to make a positive first impression. So you want to answer this question in a powerful way.

I’ve recently updated this blog with new examples and tips.

Click through here to find tips and examples to help you answer this question in a way that will make the interviewer lean forward and say “tell me more” and help propel the interview in a direction that you want to take it.

Need to get ahead of the pack for your next interview? Download our free e-book!

Deborah Barit wrote this book. She is one of Australia’s leading interview coaches. It is packed full of easily actionable interview tips.

To get your free e-book and some of our best interview tips direct to your inbox, simply click on this link and answer a couple of quick questions. Easy as, hey!

Here’s what happy readers said about the e-book and interview tips:

“Deborah Barit is a very smart lady…She is good at figuring out what an employer is looking for. It’s like she has ESP — with her help in preparing, I found no surprises in a recent interview and I was prepared for every question….” Cathy, Leichhardt, NSW

“Because I read so many of your posts, I feel as if you were my personal employment coach. I start my new position in two weeks. I had so many obstacles to overcome and each day you posted a solution to my dilemma and how to improve my search. Thank you so much for your input and PLEASE continue to do what you do!”

Click here to get access to the e-book.

K B

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

osakasaul (@osakasaul) July 24, 2011 at 5:46 am

Interview tips – How do you answer “tell me about yourself” in a job interview? http://twrt.me/qvxzm via @InterviewIQ

purenaturaldiva (@PureNaturalDiva) July 24, 2011 at 6:45 am

Interview tips – How do you answer “tell me about yourself” in a job interview? http://twrt.me/21mlu via @InterviewIQ

purenaturaldiva (@PureNaturalDiva) July 24, 2011 at 6:45 am

Interview tips – How do you answer “tell me about yourself” in a job interview? http://twrt.me/21mlu via @InterviewIQ

Bevan Bird (@birdify) July 24, 2011 at 7:22 am

Interview tips – How do you answer “tell me about yourself” in a job interview? http://twrt.me/beuu6 via @InterviewIQ

Alan Firmin (@afirmin) July 24, 2011 at 8:34 am

Interview tips – How do you answer “tell me about yourself” in a job interview? http://twrt.me/t8j5x via @InterviewIQ

RecruitLoop (@RecruitLoop) July 24, 2011 at 3:35 pm

Interview tips – How do you answer “tell me about yourself” in a job interview? http://ow.ly/5LYL6 via @interviewIQ

RecruitLoop (@RecruitLoop) July 24, 2011 at 3:35 pm

Interview tips – How do you answer “tell me about yourself” in a job interview? http://ow.ly/5LYL6 via @interviewIQ

Lifestyle Careers (@lifestylecareer) July 24, 2011 at 6:04 pm

Interview tips – How do you answer “tell me about yourself” in a job interview? A great article full of fabbo tips… http://fb.me/ElTpTMpi

Arnav prakash (@Ar_nav) July 25, 2011 at 3:27 am

How do you answer “tell me about yourself” in a #job interview? – http://tribr.it/h25yn | RT @Princess_Pearly @arkarthick

Ashish Desai July 25, 2011 at 4:15 am

This was just very professional feedback from Karalyn and really appreciate the thought process .

PAKMAN (@FarrukhSiddiqui) July 26, 2011 at 7:05 am

How do you answer “tell me about yourself” in a #job interview? – http://t.co/EqVfn5P | RT @Princess_Pearly @arkarthick @IamPramit

Karalyn Brown (@InterviewIQ) (@InterviewIQ) July 26, 2011 at 9:04 pm

"@RecruitLoop: Interview tips – How do you answer “tell me about yourself” in a job interview? http://t.co/CsbEg0b via" thanks for the rt

Pollock & Associates (@pollockassoc) July 28, 2011 at 4:37 am

Interview tips – How do you answer "tell me about yourself" in a job interview? #Career #Jobs http://ow.ly/5PllA

Melissa Cooley (@TheJobQuest) August 1, 2011 at 6:50 pm

Great post by @InterviewIQ: Interview tips – How do you answer “tell me about yourself” in a job interview? http://ow.ly/5SF8g

@TimGiehll September 26, 2011 at 6:15 pm

Interview tips: How do you answer "tell me about yourself" in a #jobinterview #Job Search http://t.co/YwXW9OVd

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