How to Tackle the (Dreaded) “Tell Me about Yourself” Question

You’ve landed your first job interview with an employer you’re really excited about, and right now, you’re following them into their office to begin the interview. You feel confident and ready. You’re wearing a brand new suit, you’ve got a killer resume, and you’ve done extensive research on the company.  Your handshake is on point. If they ask about how you’ve shown leadership in the past, you’ve practiced your response. An example of a conflict you’ve had with a coworker and how you resolved it? Your answer is polished and prepped. You’ve got this.

The two of you sit down. The potential employer clears their throat. You’re ready for anything they’re about to throw at you. They say, “So, let’s start with you telling me a little bit about yourself.”


You’re racking your brain for something, ANYTHING to say. You stutter out your name, and where you’re from, and then….

nervous cartoons & comics

Your inner monologue is screaming: what else do I say? Where do I begin? Do I tell them how many siblings I have? Or about my hobbies? My penchant for eating a whole can of Pringles while marathon-ing Netflix shows in bed?

Being prepared for the beginning getting-to-know-you questions in an interview is an absolute must, although we often overlook it. So here are a few tips on how to prepare:

  • Address your strengths – what do you want the employer to know about you?
  • Think about the research you’ve done on the company and this position – what have you done or what skills do you have that will make you an excellent candidate for THIS job?
  • Reference the “why” – why should this employer hire you over the other five people they have interviewed that week?
  • Consider the Present-Past-Future formula, which is a great way to design your response. First, mention what you are presently doing and what skills you possess (that will be needed in this position), then, talk a little bit about what you’ve done in the past  that would contribute to the company, and what you’re planning to do or hope to achieve in the future,  For more info about this formula and for some examples, check this article out:
    Present-Past-Future Formula

Last words of advice: PRACTICE. Go ahead and type up an introduction for yourself, and rehearse it in your head before your interview. Don’t memorize it (you obviously don’t want to sound like a robot) but having a general framework in your head will ensure that your confidence remains unshaken, and that you start your interview off with a bang.

If you’d like to see some more examples, here’s a video that shows interviewees giving a “bad” answer and then a “good” answer:
“Tell Me about Yourself: Good Answers vs. Bad Answers”

If you want to get some feedback on your introduction as well as practice it on a real live person, please make an appointment for a mock interview with us at the Career Center. We will be happy to help!

One thought on “How to Tackle the (Dreaded) “Tell Me about Yourself” Question

  1. Pingback: Three Common Career Fair Mistakes (And How to Avoid Them!) | Georgia College Career Center

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