Tell me something about yourself is probably the first question any interviewer asks candidates at the start of any in-person or video interview. Sometimes they also substitute their question “tell me something about yourself” from questions, like; “Walk me through your resume,” “Tell me something that is not in your resume”, and “Describe yourself?”
You must be thinking how tough it can be to tell something no one else knows except us! Right?
But, answering this question can be tricky, and it’s not as easy as it sounds. If the interviewer really wants to know something general then it is already there in your resume. Right? But the interviewer wants to test your ambiguity with this question.
This article will help you understand everything deeply.
Brainstorming about “Tell me something about yourself”
Sometimes you know that you cannot repeat the same points as your answer mentioned in the resume. And even after knowing that you are not supposed to tell your personal details, you end up stuck in confusion, how to start? Here are some points to brainstorm that will clear your doubt clouds;
1. What are the special qualities that make you a perfect fit for this position?
Think of the special qualities you possess that will help you convince the hiring manager. Something like your years of experience, your skills, or any specialization or course you did. Review the job application carefully and make a list of your exceptions.
2. Are you interested in this role?
Brainstorm the reason which excites you to go for this position, and how it will help you to move forward to the next step in your career.
3. What are the positive traits that will help you with this job role?
Have your friends or colleagues described that you are organized, curious, entrepreneurial, or generous? Ponder about yourself, how you have been thinking about yourself, or how others have seen you. Then brainstorm the recent examples when you embodied that characteristic.
How to answer the interview question?
The way you will respond to this question will set the tone for the whole interview session, and sometimes only this first question “Tell me something about yourself” can be enough for the hiring managers to mark your candidature. Overall, you need to present the best answer possible in a minute to impress the hiring manager.
a. Mention past experiences and success:
After reading the job description make a list of the required skills for the position and think of your recent success story to put in front of them. However, volunteer work can also support your narrative while explaining a commitment.
b. Relate your current job from the job you are applying for:
If your designation is more senior, detail how you are taking on more responsibilities in your current position. Explain how your skills are helping in the growth of the company.
c. Focus on your strengths and abilities:
Focus more on your strengths and abilities and if possible try to quantify and explain them. For example, (“increased customer service response rates each quarter by 15% – 20%.”) is more impactful than (“improved customer service”). In case you don’t have the exact information, estimate a realistic value.
d. Highlight your personality:
Break the ice! As the question “Tell me something about yourself” is all about knowing the candidate, it can make a good impression to highlight your personality in front of the hiring manager (but no personal details). You can tell about your hobbies and skills that are also a response to the job profile (i.e. reading, writing, listening to podcasts, volunteering) or the ones that showcase your personal discipline and achievements (i.e. learning a new skill, enrolling in new courses). It is a good way of discussing your personal details while maintaining professionalism.
An Example Response:
This example will be a way to clear everything in a much better way for you, although, creating your own answer is the best way of portraying yourself.
“I am a self-starter with strong interpersonal skills. I am an efficient worker, both with the team and as an individual. I look to deal with challenges and think out of the box to creatively solve problems. Other than the details provided in my resume, I believe in character, values, vision, and action. I learn from my mistakes and try not to repeat them for I strongly feel that this virtue will take me ahead in my life and career.”
Now with these tips and ideas, it will be easy for you to answer this question “Tell me something about yourself” but there are certain things you need to avoid, else you will come out unclear and confused which may undermine your chance at the position.
Avoid things like mentioning personal information, claiming your strengths without supportive examples, summarising your resume, and do not rush into salary and benefit points.