How to respond to the question “Tell me about yourself”?

Tell me about yourself. Four words that can fill candidates with dread or joy, depending on how prepared they are.

This question is tricky – since it seems too trivial, sort of a small talk before the real thing. As a result, many candidates simply start narrating details from their resume or give back the control by asking “what would you like to hear about?”

This is why you should take this question seriously:

  • Since this will likely be the first question – your reply will form your first impression.
  • Your answer can set the context of the interview. For example, you can mention the topics you are really passionate about to draw more questions in that area.
  • You can proactively pre-empt any negative biases upfront. For example, if you have switched too many jobs, you can tell a bigger story which explains why these job switches were necessary.

You could  choose to talk about your work or professional interests or may be explain what drives you. But since this question is coming up in a real interview, I’d suggest something linking it to the position you’re interviewing for. After all, your aim really is to convince the interviewer that your a great candidate for the position.

So would you tell me something about yourself? 🙂