General Interview Questions and Answers often begin with:

"Tell me about yourself"

This is one of the most common interview questions and answers can be tough to formulate.

Where to start, where to end, what to focus on! It is important that your interview answer provides the relevant information the interviewer is looking for.   

This is often the first question the interviewer asks and how the candidate answers can set the tone for the whole job interview.

General Interview Questions and Answers - how to answer "Tell me about yourself"

Prepare well for this question and you can use it as a great opportunity to sell yourself!

1. Make it relevant

  • In your answer highlight how your skills, knowledge and experience fit the job and the company profile.
  • Where you were born and grew up, or what pets you have is not likely to show the interviewer why you are a good candidate for the job opportunity.
  • Make your interview answer about yourself relevant to the position.
  • The interviewer wants to find out how well you will fit in with the rest of the team, the department and the company.
  • The interviewer is also trying to find out what motivates you and whether it is consistent with what the job and the company can offer.
  • Refer to the job interview information you have gathered doing your background research. Review the job requirements and focus on how you specifically meet these needs.

For example, if the job requires you to work as part of a team, tell the interviewer about the projects you have undertaken as a team-member.

Most jobs require an element of team work, so this is a good aspect to focus on when thinking about answers to this interview question. Use this sample answer to guide you:

Sample interview answer

"I really enjoy working as part of a team. In my previous two positions I worked on a number of team projects. One big project I was involved with at ABC company was writing a new safety policy.

It was an in-depth and complex project so I put together a safety review committee. We worked together for a month to identify the safety needs of the various departments and what procedures would meet those needs before drawing up the new policy.

Our policy has been well accepted and safety problems have decreased in all areas"

By pointing out to the interviewer the specific benefits of hiring you for this job, rather than giving a rambling autobiography, you will be positively remembered and set yourself apart from the other candidates.

2. Don't just repeat what's on your resume

The interviewer has probably already read your resume, so avoid just repeating that information during the basic interview questions and answers to Tell me about yourself.

For example, when talking about your sales experience, rather than telling the interviewer "I spent three years in sales at XYZ Company", draw attention to your success during that time."When working at XYZ I focused on growing the customer base in the Northeast and increased sales by 30% over a three year period"

It is impressive to quantify your success wherever possible. Find some smart sample answers to Tell Me About Yourself here.

3. Use your company research information

Use your research on the company to emphasize how you fit in.

For example, if your information reveals that the company has a strong responsibility to the community, you can point out why you value that. Discuss any volunteer work you have done, underline why it is one of the things that attracts you to the company.

"I know that this company sponsors some of the local youth soccer teams. This is a particular interest of mine, last year I got involved in coaching. It is important to me that the company holds the same values"

"Tell me about yourself" answers - top tips

  • If you do not have enough information about the position to prepare adequately for this question beforehand, ask the interviewer "What areas would you like me to focus on?" and go from there.
  • Get help with identifying your relevant areas of strength and weakness by viewing this job-related list of strengths and weaknesses
  • Interviewers like to ask a variation of this question that can be a bit more tricky - "Tell me something about yourself that is not on your resume." These example answers for interviews will help you deal successfully with this interview question.

Links to General Interview Questions and Answers

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Why should we hire you?

What are your future goals?

Reason for leaving your current job?

Tell me about yourself example answers

Find a number of sample interview answers to this general interview question below.

More example answers to the interview question "Tell me about yourself".

Job interview question and answer guides for over 35 different jobs

Refer to these job interview guides to know which interview questions to expect for different positions from accounting to sales. Use the recommended guidelines to prepare for your job interview questions and answers.

"Tell me about yourself" is one of the most tricky interview questions to get right. Find out how to answer difficult interview questions.

Which interview question and answer are you looking for help with? Use the search box below to find the questions and answers you want to prepare for your interview.

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