How to Answer Tell Me About Yourself - The Correct Method

How to Answer Tell Me About Yourself - The Correct Method

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Jaya
Jaya Sharma
Assistant Manager - Content
Updated on Feb 28, 2024 17:05 IST

If you are seeking guidance on how to answer, tell me about your question for the interview process, then you have come to the right place. We will be providing sample answers to this open-ended question through this article.

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One of the most common interview questions is ‘tell me about yourself’. This is such a straightforward question yet it is quite difficult to answer. Through this article, we will learn different ways to understand how to answer tell me about yourself question and how not to.

Table of Contents

Ways in Which Companies Ask ‘Tell me about yourself' Question

This is a question that almost every job seeker has been asked at least once in their career. It is a part of self introduction for interview yet most of us find it quite difficult and get confused about how to answer tell me about yourself question. During the interview preparation process, one must learn the correct way to answer this question. However, the bigger question is… why do companies ask this question?  

While researching the company’s interview processes, we have been able to identify the following points as the main reasons to ask this question:

  1. Make you comfortable: The interview process can make anyone nervous and interviewers are aware of this. To ease the tension from the atmosphere, most interviewers start off the process of the interview with this question. 
  2. Assess your soft skills: Through this question, interviewers assess your soft skills. They assess how well-spoken you are and whether you have appropriate body language.   
  3. Verify your background: Through this question, interviewers want to know about your previous experience to ensure that it is relevant to the job profile. 
  4. Fit for company culture: Interviewers also ensure that you are fit for the company culture based on how you describe yourself. Suppose someone’s hobby does not include anything related to learning, then it will be seen as a downside. This is especially important in the current scenario since everyone wants employees who are eager to learn. 

How To Answer Tell Me About Yourself Question: Sample Answer for Freshers and Graduates

My name is Avika and I have recently graduated from Delhi Technical University with BTech in Computer Science. I have a good grasp of the concepts of data structures and Java language. I have also been a state-level badminton player and represented my college at several competitions.  

How To Answer Tell Me About Yourself Question: Sample Answer for Experienced Professionals

My name is Avika and I have done my graduation in B.Tech in Computer Science from Delhi University. I have been working as a Software Developer for the past 7 years. Currently, I am handling a team of software developers. I have worked on 4 projects in my career. It involved building a health and fitness apps, SaaS products like CRM and ERP systems. In my current company, I have recently finished a project on game development. I have a working knowledge of programming languages including HTML, JavaScript, Python and Godot. I also hold expertise in using Azure IoT suite, Google Cloud IoT, Docker and Webpack.

How to answer ‘Tell Me About Yourself’ Question: Tips 

In the previous section, we have understood why companies want to know the answer to ‘tell me about yourself’ question. Now, let us take a look at how not to answer ‘tell me about yourself’ question. Do remember the way you have structured your answer will either leave a positive or a negative impact on the interviewer for the rest of the interview.

1. Keep a Career-Centric Approach

Suppose, your answer includes all the positive aspects of your life. You have not included any weaknesses and you have mentioned trivial yet irrelevant details. This will reflect that you are arrogant and self-centric. Overall the interviewer will consider you not to be a team player. 

How not to answer?

‘Well, I firmly believe that I am one of the most suitable candidates for this position.I graduated with maximum marks in my class. My work experience includes some of the most prestigious companies in the industry. I have been awarded as the ‘star of the month’ several times in my last company.’

Notice how the entire answer boasts of self-praises. None of the sentences reflect any weak points. The job seeker has also mentioned the word ‘prestigious’ which may leave a bad impression since it seems like a comparative word. It will also showcase that you categorise companies as prestigious and non-prestigious. This will mark a negative impression. 

Tip: Talk about yourself in context to your work experience. Mention your career growth graph, your strengths and positive weaknesses (being workaholic, for example). Mention challenges that you faced in previous projects. Talk about hobbies that show your interest in learning and growing. You can also include certain personal yet mentionable hobbies. 

How to answer ‘tell me about yourself’ question with a career-centric approach?

‘After graduating with an undergraduate degree in Graphic Design, I started my career as an assistant Graphic Designer at XYZ Company. Currently, I am employed as a Senior Graphic Designer at ABC, where I am leading a team of graphic designers.

As for my strengths, I am a detail-oriented professional with a strong sense of aesthetics, which is crucial in my field. I have been able to effectively communicate the client requirements and feedback to my team. This has helped us in working strongly as a team.

In terms of weaknesses, I can sometimes try achieving perfection, which takes up more time than required on certain tasks. However, I’ve been working on this by automating processes and improving my time management skills. In my spare time, I learn more tools that can improve the graphics.  Apart from my work, I have a keen interest in photography and travelling.’  

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2. Mention Relevant Details 

Whenever this question is asked in any interview, do remember that the answer to this question should be in alignment with the job description. If you deflect from actual details and include irrelevant information, it will reflect that you lack attention and focus. It will also indicate that you are unable to understand the problem since your answer has unnecessary details. 

How not to answer?

‘I have completed my MBA back in 2018. In my past five years of experience in the industry, I have worked as an associate and senior associate. Currently I am working as a marketing professional for a media agency. I have an interest in learning and upgrading with new technologies.’

Notice how none of the statements have a mention of work experience as a business analyst. It seems vague and without any factual information. This will only reflect your naivety and inexperience. 

Tip: While answering this question, you should mention business analyst roles and responsibilities. Mention the required skills that you have gained over years and what are your achievements. Also mention the challenges that you faced while working as a business analyst. In case, you are switching your domain, then mention what made you interested in choosing this profile and what steps have you taken to take the switch. 

How to answer ‘tell me about yourself’ question for a business analyst job profile?

‘I have a degree in Business Administration as well as in Information Systems. Over the past eight years, I’ve worked as a Business Analyst in both the finance and technology sectors.

During my career, I have worked closely with the IT department to streamline processes and improve efficiency. During my employment with ABC Company, I was responsible for identifying business requirements and finding solutions. 

In terms of project management at the same company, I have been able to reduce operational costs by 20% in one of its biggest projects within one year. Over the period of the last eight years, I have developed strong skills in data analysis, project management, and stakeholder communication.’ 

3. Logically Explain Career Gaps

While taking a break in the midst of your career is not a bad thing; it is important to have a strong reason for taking this break. In case this break has no explanation, it will only leave a bad impression on the interviewers. 

How not to answer?

I started my career at XYZ Company as a Junior Developer, where I was able to learn a lot about the industry. After a few years, I switched jobs and took on a managerial role.

During my time at the company, my team and I were working on a big project. However, during the project, I realised that the work pressure was taking a toll on my mental health due to which I decided to take a career break.’ 

Notice how this answer only reflected that the job aspirant is irresponsible enough to leave the job without finishing projects. It also shows that you are not ready to take up challenging tasks in your career and you may even leave this company hanging in between.

Tip: You can mention how you took some time off to seek professional therapy. During this period, you upgraded your skills and stayed in tune with industry trends. This will not only show how you care about your personal growth but also you ensure your professional growth even in tough times. 

How to answer tell me about yourself question to explain the career gap?

‘I started my career at XYZ Company as a Junior Developer, where I was able to learn a lot about the industry. After a few years, I switched jobs and took on a managerial role.

During my time at the company, my team and I were successfully able to finish several large projects. However, after some time, I realised that I needed to take a step back to focus on personal growth and family matters, which led to a gap in my career.

During this time, I did not completely leave my field as I took up courses to upgrade myself to the latest developments in software engineering. Alongside, I started working as a freelance developer to ensure that my skills remain honed.’ 

4. Do Not Backbite

It is highly possible that your previous company had a toxic work culture, colleagues or both. This can be one of the major reasons for job change. In fact, one of the researches done by Robert Walters UK indicates that 73% of professionals quit their jobs due to a disliking towards work culture. 

While this is a valid reason, it is not advisable to mention this to the interviewer. Try to keep a positive approach and avoid mentioning toxic work culture and colleagues. Let us take an example. 

How not to answer?

‘I have worked as a content writer for ABC corporation for the past two years. I was promoted to the profile of senior content writer. My strengths include pressure handling as I have accomplished several tasks that were not part of my KPIs and was still expected to perform them. To upgrade my skills in content writing, I have gained certifications in Google Adwords and SEO.’ 

Notice how the job aspirant has mentioned that he/she was supposed to perform several tasks that were not a part of the KPI. This indicates that the manager was burdening them with work. While it is a sad reality, it should be avoided. 

Tip: The answer should be modified to showcase that you have accomplished more than you were expected to. Give it a positive approach so that your eagerness to learn is reflected.

How to answer ‘tell me about yourself’ question without blaming past employers?

‘I have worked as a content writer for ABC corporation for the past two years. I was promoted to the profile of senior content writer. My strengths include pressure handling as I have accomplished several tasks outside the scope of content writer job description. The additional work has helped in gaining experience which has been of use in other areas of work. Additionally, to upgrade my skills, I have gained certifications in Google Adwords and SEO.’

Dos and Don’ts: To Answer ‘Tell Me About Yourself’ Question 

Dos Don’ts
Keep your answer concise and relevant to the job you’re applying for. Rambling or providing unnecessary personal details.
Mention any relevant achievements or accomplishments. Speaking negatively about past employers or colleagues.
Mention technical skills that are relevant to the position in your answer. Not mentioning the long-term view to stay with the company in your answer.
End your answer by relating back to the role you’re applying for. Framing any gaps in your employment positively.
Be honest and authentic in your response. Exaggerating or lying about your skills or experiences.

Conclusion: Stay Authentic

It is important to be as authentic as possible. Avoid including any false or forged information in your resume. Do remember that most companies perform a background check which will ultimately let them verify facts. While false information can be an immediate cause of rejection, in worst-case scenarios, it can even get you blacklisted. This will have a serious adverse impact on your career. 

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FAQs

What should I include while telling about myself?

Your answer should include an overview of your professional background, key skills and experiences, and why you are interested in the role.

How long should my answer be?

There is no defined limit. Your answer should be inclusive of your career growth graph, projects and challenges faced while working on them. You should also mention acquired certifications and skillsets.

Should I mention personal details in my answer?

Generally, it is best to focus on professional details. However, if you have a personal interest or experience that is relevant to the role, it can be beneficial to include it.

What if I am a recent graduate with little professional experience?

If you are a recent graduate, mention about your education, internships and relevant skills you have gained from these experiences. You can also mention any relevant extracurricular activities.

About the Author
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Jaya Sharma
Assistant Manager - Content

Jaya is a writer with an experience of over 5 years in content creation and marketing. Her writing style is versatile since she likes to write as per the requirement of the domain. She has worked on Technology, Fina... Read Full Bio