How Do You Answer Tell Me About Yourself in an Interview?

Tell me about yourself is one of the most important interview questions for candidates to answer. It's a guarantee that it'll come up during a job interview. Before you answer the question, you should understand why it's asked.

Below we will dive into the reasons this common job interview question is asked and how to best respond to, tell me about yourself.

Why interviewers ask, tell me about yourself

During your job interview, the recruiter is not trying to make you nervous, but it's a great starting point for a conversation for you to introduce yourself thoroughly. Your answer will set the tone and direction of your interview.

Your response starts to show the interviewer who you are beyond your resume. It allows them to hear where you want to go in your career and what experience you have.

It's a question you don't want to answer off the cuff, so spend some time perfecting your answer. Hiring managers expect you to be prepared to speak about yourself during the conversation. It can be a red flag if you don't have a strong answer when asked, tell me about yourself.

How to answer, tell me about yourself

Since this question is so open-ended, it can be hard to decide what to say when answering, tell me about yourself. It can be helpful to break your answer into three parts. Think past, present, and future.

Start with your current job. If you are at a different company, briefly explain your responsibilities and day to day activities. You can also touch on why you are looking to make a move.

There will be more time to go into this later in the conversation, but it can't hurt to mention it now. If you are in between roles, provide a brief explanation as to what led to your current job status.

Second, move into your past experience. You want to explain your past work experience and how it got you to the position you are in today. Mention any meaningful promotions or accolades you have received and how they helped you get where you are now.

Lastly, you ought to round out your answer with where you want to go in the future. This is where you tie your past and present to the company you are interviewing with.

Find a way to weave your personal background into something relevant to the job description if you can. As you round out your answer to the interview question, tell the hiring manager how your previous experience has led you to this next step in your career.

Perfecting your answer to, tell me about yourself

If there is just one interview question you prepare in advance for your job interviews, make it this one. All candidates should be ready to speak about themselves and their work experience. It's crucial to advancing your career. Below are some tips to help you formulate the best answer.

Know your audience

The interview process is long and chances are you will be interviewed by more than one person. Each team member you meet with may ask you to tell them about yourself. Who you are talking to will affect the answer you give.

The recruiter or human resources

As you start your search for a new job, your first interview will be with a recruiter or human resources. You want to keep your responses short and focused. This first step in the hiring process is to make sure you are a good candidate for the open job.

The recruiter wants to confirm your background and resume. Do not share too much personal information with human resources. You want to convince this person that you are worthy of an interview with the hiring manager.

The hiring manager or direct report

Your job interview with the hiring manager or your future boss is the most important. This interview will take the most time. Each question you are asked is important and should be answered with care.

You want to tell your career story. The goal is to convince the hiring manager that you are the perfect fit for the job. Focus on your experience and how it has shaped the employee you are today.

During this interview, you can discuss some personal antidotes. Things like hobbies and passions are safe to bring up.

Executives at the company

Job seekers often have a final interview with an executive at the company. This is usually a shorter meeting and should be kept professional.

You want to leave a good impression on this person so they feel good about the recommendation to hire you. Keep your answers focused on your skills, strengths, and career goals.

Keep it professional

Candidates can often make the mistake of sharing too much personal information when asked the question, tell me about yourself. You do not want to divulge your life story to the interviewer. Use your interview as a way to bring a personality to your resume.

Just focus on your qualifications and accomplishments without sounding too robotic. The hiring manager wants to hire someone with enthusiasm and qualities that would mesh well with the rest of the team.

Stay positive

Companies do you want to hire someone who is overly negative. When talking about your past experience, keep it positive. Do not speak poorly of past employers or companies. You never know who in the industry has a relationship with who, so it's always best to be neutral.


The most important tip we can give you is to be prepared to answer the interview question, what can you tell me about yourself. Share your previous work experiences with passion and excitement. Project your best skills such as leadership, project management, or other relevant traits that align with the job description.

Your experience makes you a great candidate to land your next career. Make sure you practice common interview questions and that job will be yours!

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Dave Fano

Dave Fano

Founder and CEO of Teal, Dave is a serial entrepreneur with 20+ years of experience building products & services to help people leverage technology and achieve more with less.

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