“Tell Me About Yourself.” Here’s How to Ace the First Interview Question

Many interviewers will start an interview with an open-ended question like, “Tell me about yourself.” It’s a great icebreaker and gets you to feel comfortable talking and showing off your true personality. For some, it can also be an intimidating question with how open-ended it can be.

What exactly does this employer want to know? How much information should you share? Are they seriously asking for your life story? Too much information can be a bad thing at this early stage of your interview, but if you don’t share enough details they’ll get suspicious and wonder if you are prepared for the interview or interested in the job.

Are you looking to get an interview for a new job in Idaho or Utah? The team at Extreme Staffing is here to help. Here’s how to ace the most common first interview question.

Don’t Ramble…

Don’t ask for clarification, just go. Remember this question is essentially an elevator pitch. It’s a short one- or two-minute answer explaining your professional experiences and goals why you’re interested in this job. Make sure to mention your leading professional accomplishments and start strong. Explain who you are in a sentence or two, why you’re qualified for this role and what you hope to accomplish. Overall, try to be concise, honest and positive.

…But Don’t Be Too Modest

If you’re too modest and don’t share enough, the hiring manager will start asking probing questions about past positions, and take the interview in a direction you don’t want it to go. Talking about your past experiences and how they tie into the position you’re interviewing for helps guide the interviewer to follow-up questions. Employers will want to see you’re confident in yourself and your work. Remember that you want to highlight your skills and accomplishments to show that you’re the perfect fit for the job. Sell yourself!

Stay Professional

Don’t give up too much personal information. While interviewers generally like to hear glimpses of your personal life and your passions outside of work, they’re mostly interested in your professional experiences and ambitions when asking you to tell them about yourself. The interviewers may ask follow-up questions regarding your hobbies and activities if they want to know more about what makes you unique.

Don’t Rehash Your Resume

They already have your resume in front of them, so don’t waste time reiterating what’s on there to start the interview. Take them deeper than that. Share the character arc behind all the resume list – what motivates you, what your ambitions are and what stories are underlying the details.

Present-Past-Future Formula

A good rule of thumb is to use the present-past-future formula. Start by explaining where you are right now – your current job and why you’re interested in this particular job. Next, move onto the past. Explain what roles you’ve had in the past that are relevant to this industry, what training you’ve had and what inspired you to enter this field. Finally, focus on the future. Talk about your long-term career goals and how this job will help you get there. What are your plans to advance your career?

You have a lot to prepare for before walking in for an interview, and you might not know what questions will come your way. The vast majority of interviewers will start by asking you one simple question. Make sure you know what to say when they say, “Tell me about yourself.” Looking for more assistance on your job search? Contact Extreme Staffing and Payroll today to get started.

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