Tell me something about yourself

QuestionWhat is the first question that you get to hear from an interviewer?

“Tell me something about yourself”.

Most of the interviewers start with this question and most of the interviewees take it the wrong way and respond to it. A poor first impression!!

Why is this question the favorite of these interviewers? What is the response that they expect from an interviewee? When everything is clearly and legibly written in the CV that is in front of an interviewer, why does he ask this question?

These could be many more such questions in your mind but the answer to all this is simple. Because he wants to know the reason he should hire you.

This one sentence has quite a bit of it in it. Let me elaborate on the question and the motive behind asking such a question. A CV is a good enough picture of a candidate but is an incomplete picture. It is not uncommon for us to summarize everything that we did in a paragraph or, two to fit into our Curriculum Vitae and squeeze the rest of the things into the next couple of paragraphs. While we do this ( and this is required because a CV cannot be a novel) we tend to ignore small and important things that we did in our previous roles, just because we feel that it is too unimportant for our CV.

So when I as an interviewer intends to interview a candidate, my objective is to find the 1-2-3 points that can justify the reason for hiring the candidate for the particular role. But these things will obviously not be there in the CV which is almost similar for all the candidates who have applied for the position. This is where my favoritism for the question “tell me something about yourself” comes into the picture.

When I ask this question, me expectation from the candidate is a response that explains a few special skill sets that he possesses or, some unique experience of his, that he has not mentioned in the CV, and which makes him feel that he is the right fit for the position.

So how will you go about responding to this question?

  • Before every interview, ensure that you note down about 5-7 points on things that you did in your previous roles, which were of value and which are not there in your CV.
  • These points should be relevant to the position that you are applying for.
  • Practice speaking these out aloud and in a synchronous way.
  • Form a good meaningful paragraph with these points.

So, the next time when you are asked this question, “tell me something about yourself”, understand that what the interviewer wants to hear from you is, why you think you are the right fit for this position and what are the skills that you possess because of which you think, you would be the best candidate for the position.

18 thoughts on “Tell me something about yourself

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  6. That question really sucks. You should answer from an experienced point of view. For instance I work for a virtual employees firm and had to convince the HR manager that I can sell through the phone.

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  8. I think that this is great advice. The tricky part is trying to figure out the balance of how to address these questions in an interview without coming across as being too scripted. But, proper preparation does prevent failure.

  9. This is definitely intriguing advice, seeing I have never found this question to be valid for an interview.

    Much like, “Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years?”

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