Tell me about yourself
This is the literally the first thing that any interviewer asks you. Even though it is not a question, but rather a request, it does not make it stop being one of the hardest questions to answer. The question itself sounds simple enough, but it is one of the hardest questions to answer, and the worst thing it, it will literally be part of each and every interview you give in your life. What makes it worse is that despite being the first thing they ask you, by the time you have finished this response, the interviewer has already made up their mind about whether or not they will hire you. The rest of the interview is just a formality.
So, how do you answer this loaded question? Most people start by providing their background, or talk about their family, or their education. Believe it or not, that is the wrong way. Most of this can already be seen on your resume or CV, and to be honest most of them don’t care about your family. What the interviewer wants to know is about you, who are you as a person.
What makes this question difficult to answer is that you don’t know what the interviewer wants to hear. If they have read your resume and CV, then you are just repeating yourself. If they haven’t, then you might be providing them with only half the information.
Our advice is to start with the most interesting thing about you. If you are at a great job in your career, open with that. If you grew up somewhere interesting, start there. If you have something unusual about you, your family or your careers, work that in there. Because, believe us that is what is going to make you stand out in your interview. Within the first 2 minutes, the interviewer will either like you as a person or as a candidate, hopefully both. But after those 2 minutes, the interviewer is bored, and the rest of the interview is just noise, which means that your window to make an impression has just closed.
Technically, there is no right way to answer the question, which means that there is no wrong way either. The trick to beating this question is it to utilize it to stand apart from the crowd, and from all the other candidates, and to do it with confidence. It should be a summary of what makes you, you, while also working as a sales pitch for why you would make a good addition to the company. A good idea would be to practice this question a few times in front of the mirror before the interview, so that it doesn’t catch you off guard.
So the next time they ask you this question, have a simple, short answer ready and practiced. Ideally, this answer should help you stand apart, highlight your accomplishments, tell the interview why they should hire you, all the while not being too long or rant-y. Seems a lot to handle, but don’t worry you got this.
An example of how this question can be answered:
I am a software engineer with 7 years of experience in the industry. After completing my degree from XYZ institute, I started working at XYZ company. I was then recruited by XYZ company where I help developed XYZ program, one that has been quite a success if I may say so myself. After six successful years with the company where I was awarded the Exemplary Service Award, and helped expand the department, I am now looking for a more challenging position, one that will help me grow in new directions, which is why I am excited about this job position.
OR if you don’t have any experience and are a fresher
I have just completed my Bachelors in Software Engineering from XYZ institute, where I was awarded the XYZ Award for helping develop a program that won at the XYZ Competition. As I child, my grandfather gifted me with a computer, which generated a lifelong passion in me for developing new and cutting edge software, which is why I am very excited at the opportunity to work at this company.
The answer should be like a short sales pitch, giving them basic information about yourself while making them interesting in finding out more about you. Basically, it should be 3-4 sentences about why they should hire you.