Tell Me About Yourself - Sample Answers, How to Answer [2020]

tell me about yourself

When the hiring manager asks you, tell me about yourself, it’s an ice breaker question and opportunity for you to provide your elevator pitch on who you are and why you’re uniquely qualified for the role. Having a framework for answering this question and practicing your pitch will be one of the most impactful steps in your job search.

This interview question doesn’t come in the form of a question, but rather a statement. It’s normally presented to you by the interviewer relatively early in the interview. Your interviewer may say a few informal words to get you more comfortable with the job interview. Then jump into the formal interview with this first question and begin the interview process.

When you answer this question to the interviewer as a job candidate, it’s imperative that you comprehend that your response needs to be a sales pitch or elevator pitch. A 60-second to 90-second response that captures your experience, skills, and sets a good first impression upon you as a job seeker.

Here’s what should not go inside of an answer or or pitch of this nature:

When thinking about constructing your pitch, consider some of the following:

As an interviewee, before you think about constructing your pitch, you should consider the company. Go to the company’s website, their about page, look over recent press releases, and be sure you have a complete comprehension of the company's moral compass. Have a firm understanding of what their code of ethics is and what they might value in the workplace. Then, get a firm understanding of their products, services, and offerings. If company information isn’t available publicly, your recruiter might be able to help you gather this information in advance of your interview.

Once you have an idea of what defines the company, you can start constructing a good answer. Your answer should define you. Make you stand out as a candidate. Is there something significant that happened in your life that brought you to where you are today? An experience as a child or experience in your professional life would be applicable. As long as it connects with values that define you and are equally shared or valued by the employer.

The job and job description can be insightful resources to start constructing your answer. While a job description can be useful, it should be considered secondarily to the employers values. For example, if the employer values collaboration but the job requires quantitative research, in your interview answer, you should describe why you value collaboration in the context of accomplishing great work.

Your interview preparation should include this level of research before you attend the interview and your pitch should be practiced at least 5 to 10 times before you attend. The intention behind this common interview question for the hiring manager is to learn more about you but qualify you as a good fit for the job. When the interviewer says, tell me about yourself, they really want to know why they should be considering you for the job. And why they should consider you over other candidates or applicants. This is what can make this a tough interview question to answer. Many job seekers may consult a career expert or career coaching services to determine how to position themselves.

In order to avoid having to seek interview advice from an interview coach or career coach, consider the following:

Best Example Answer to “Tell Me About Yourself”

I applied to XYZ Company because this is a great opportunity. The company seems to define itself by the advancement of biomedicine. And trying to reduce the impact of mental disorders. As a young child, I almost drowned in a pool. This gave me a unique perspective on life. To value it. As I understand the needs of the job, I feel it’s relevant to share that I’ve been able to increase testing of specimens and samples by more than 45% at my last employer. And increase overall discovery of chemical responses by more than 78%. It seems that’s a relevant pillar for success in this position. Lastly, there are some parts of the role that could help me with my overall career advancement opportunities.

Experienced candidates may want to use more of their time to describe their career path and have more metrics or accomplishments that align with the job. In the sample answer provided above, the candidate would be a mid-level manager or employee who is at least 5-8 years into their career.

author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is an experienced executive who has spent a number of years in Silicon Valley hiring and coaching some of the world’s most valuable technology teams. Patrick has been a source for Human Resources and career related insights for Forbes, Glassdoor, Entrepreneur, Recruiter.com, SparkHire, and many more.

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