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Why “Tell me about yourself” questions is still asked and How to Answer it?

How do you answer, “Tell me about yourself?” It is one of the most commonly asked interview questions that can confuse candidates.

Most of the time, this is the first question that the interviewer asks.

The question can be perplexing and can leave you wondering what to speak and what precisely the interviewer wants to know.

 So, candidates like you do not know whether to begin their answer by discussing their soft skills, background or qualifications.

Before learning how to answer the “tell me about yourself” question, let us see why it is asked.

Why do Interviewers Ask “Tell me about yourself” question? 

Always be careful while answering this question, as your answer will set the tone for the rest of the interview.

Interviewers generally ask this question at the beginning of the interview to gauge two things: “how confident you are and whether your qualification and work experience is pertinent to the jobs for which you are interviewed. 

Apart from that, when hiring managers ask this question, they want to begin with just small talk and then transition into a bigger picture.

In some instances, interviewees begin to feel nervous, and by asking this question, interviewers try to comfort the candidates so they can perform their best for the rest of the interview.

The question is a great beginning point that also decides the interview’s future course.

Whatever you reply to this question becomes the following question for the interviewer, so it is good to craft a great response beforehand. 

The main aim of the interviewers and hiring managers is to get an idea about what exactly you are.

It is an excellent opportunity to demonstrate your skills, communicate clearly, present yourself in a professional manner and show that you are just the right candidate.

You can perform well if you know how to perfectly answer “tell me about yourself” in an interview. 

Get to Know Your Audience

It is essential to know whom you are talking to.

You should know who your interviewer is.

Is it your H.R., business manager, technical team leader or C.E.O. This is so because everybody expects a different answer?

For instance, if you are talking to your H.R. and applying for a web developer, you should not talk about coding and assembly. H.R. managers have little knowledge about coding. They expect a generic answer like your career, what is your salary expectations, why did you leave the previous company etc. 

How Interviewers Can I Ask This Question Differently? 

Most of the time, you will hear the exact words: “tell me about yourself”, but there can also be different variations.

Recruiters can put their versions like this: 

Could you walk me through your resume quickly?

I would love to hear about you first

Tell me about your professional journey. 

Here’s a secret formula!

If you know certain basic things, you can answer this question well. Here’s how to frame your response:

It would help if you talked about your present, past and future.

You need to talk briefly about your current role, its scope and recent achievements.

When you reply to the “tell me about yourself question”, you need to confine your answer to your experience and relevant qualifications.

When you talk about your past, you can tell the interviewer how you reached that position, how your soft skills helped the company, etc. 

When you need to talk about the future, you can tell what you are looking for or what you want to do next and how your aspirations can be fruitful.

Stick to the Relevancy and Focus

You must stick to all experiences, skills and qualifications pertinent to the job you are being interviewed for.

If you are wondering how to answer, tell me about yourself question. 

You should prepare the answer beforehand. You should enlist at least 3-5 strengths/soft skills/qualifications/work experience that is directly relevant to the job profile.

Once you have done this, you need to frame your answer to form an impression of your suitability for the job position. 

Prepare Beforehand and Scribble Down a Few Responses

It is good to have a written script that conveys all the information. You can start replying about your past experiences that have given you sure-shot results and proven success.

Talk about what makes you exceptional and endorse your statement with an example.

You should always end your reply to help the interviewer feel that you can bring a positive change to their company and are suitable for the job. 

Take Care to be Professional and Precise

Recruiters ask this question to judge your suitability for the vacancy and do not say anything that goes out of track.

Your reply should not exceed 2 minutes.

It is good to give a tailor-made answer that looks professional as hiring managers are not interested in things like where you did your high school, your family members, your pet or your favourite car, etc. Make sure that you talk about the points that make you distinct from others and prove your suitability.

Do not talk at length, and have a look at the body language of your recruiter.

If he is getting distracted, this may signal that it is time for you to wrap up. 

Practice is the Key

Practising your script repeatedly until you become confident with it can help you give a great reply.

Though you can tailor-make your answer beforehand to impress the recruiters but in no case should you memorize it.

If you do so, you will sound like a robot. The more relevant you can talk about yourself, the better your chances of getting recruited. 

Keep in Mind W.A.P. (Work, Academic and Personal)

You must remember that every good answer to “tell me about yourself” should comprise: W.A.P. (Work is a primary thing to consider and makes 80% of your answer. )

You need to talk about your previous work experience and your accomplishments. 10-15% of your reply should be about your academic background, where you need to talk about your academic achievements. 

Finally, the remaining 10% should be about your personality, where you can talk about your strengths and skills.

This is an ideal way to answer.

However, you can talk more about your academic achievements and relevant soft skills if you are a fresh graduate. 

Bottom Line

So, please do not get confused about how to answer tell me about yourself question.

Just frame your answer in a way that makes sense and shows suitability.

You need to mention your top accomplishments and work experiences that can prove relevant to the position you have applied for.

Practice it well beforehand and be precise.

Take only two minutes to answer this question. Do not talk elaborately, and avoid being personal. 

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