How to answer the ‘tell me about yourself’ interview question

It’s probably one of the first things you’ll be asked, but the ‘tell me about yourself’ interview question isn’t just the employer exchanging pleasantries and trying to get to know you.

This particular interview question can tell the interviewer an awful lot about the person sitting across the desk from them, and like all interview questions, you’ll want to make sure that your response counts whilst your in the spotlight.

So, what exactly is the employer trying to find out by asking you to tell them more about yourself?
Although they’re not looking for your entire life story, you need to remember that up until this point the only information the employer has about you is your contact details and whatever you’ve included on your CV.

Legally, you don’t have to discuss your martial or family status due in order to safeguard yourself against discrimination, but on the other side of the coin you’ll probably want to give them a feel of who you are as a person.

My advice would be to use a simple formula that I call ‘past, present and personal’ that’s a good mix of professional and personal information that gives them a solid overview of why you’re here and a little bit of insight into your motivations.

To begin, talk about your last relevant role and any achievements you had whilst holding the position. Start to move into the present phase by detailing why you left this job, was it to gain more experience? For better career development opportunities?

Next, discuss your current role and again detail any achievements or skills you’ve recently acquired that could be transferable to the vacancy you’re being interviewed for. Tell them why their role is of interest to you – this could perhaps be that your looking to move up the career ladder or gain new skills.

Finally, (and to avoid sounding like a robot whose sole reason in life is to work), you could mention something that you enjoy doing outside of the office. Mention any hobbies or voluntary work you might do so the employer can start to build up a picture of the driving forces and individual motivations that guide you.

For more help and advice on interview questions, speak to the team at Appointments today on 01782 338787 or email