8 Example Answers to the ‘Tell Me About Yourself’ Job Interview Question
‘Tell me about yourself’ is one of the most common job interview questions. It’s also one of the trickiest interview questions for many candidates. What is the interviewer really trying to find out?
The truth is the question isn’t that complicated. But it is one of the most important job interview questions as your answer can establish the tone for the rest of the interview.
The best way of answering this question is to use your answer to show interviewers why you’re the perfect candidate for the job. You can do this by framing your answer in a way that highlights your experiences, achievements and key skills.
Why Interviewers Ask ‘Tell Me About Yourself’
When asking this question, interviewers are looking for some insight into your professional life, not your personal life. So focus your answer on your career and use your answer to demonstrate your value as a professional.
How to Answer ‘Tell Me About Yourself’
One of the best ways to do this is to tell a short, concise story of your career that focuses on your career’s highlights. Then link this into how you’re an ideal candidate for the job.
Tailor Your Answer
When answering ‘tell me about yourself’, make sure your answer is tailored to the company you’re interviewing with. Show how you are aligned with the company’s values and culture. Show what skills you possess that make you an ideal candidate for the job.
Keep it Short
Show Your Value
If you can use your answer to ‘tell me about yourself’ to convey your value, you’ll make a positive impression on interviewers. Do this by showing how you have achieved success in the past.
8 Example Answers to ‘Tell Me About Yourself’
Example Answer 1
‘I have been employed in customer service for over 11 years. Having started my career as a customer service advisor in 2010, I have since progressed to customer service manager positions.
Currently employed as customer service manager at Example Company, I am responsible for the delivery of high-quality customer service. I provide leadership to a team of eight customer service agents and ensure teams have the capabilities to exceed daily and monthly targets. During my time in this role, I have increased customer satisfaction rates by 43% and increased response times to customer queries by 61%.
Example Answer 2
‘I’m a sales manager with over 12 years’ experience in the SaaS sphere. During my time in SaaS sales, I have used a consultative sales strategy, driving sales of software products by solving problems for customers and implementing the beneficial solutions.
In my current role, I have exceeded annual sales targets by more than 43% on three occasions and monthly sales targets by 88% on seven occasions. I have built profitable, genuine relationships with clients, and I generate high levels of repeat business.
Example Answer 3
‘I am a software developer, with over nine years’ experience. My career has seen me spearhead multiple complex software development initiatives that have added genuine value to companies.
Most recently, I developed a booking system for a major holiday company. This solution enabled the efficient management of customer’s holiday bookings. It saved thousands of people hours and over four-hundred thousand dollars per year in wages.
Since I was a teenager, I have been passionate about developing software. Back then, I used to develop my own video games for my friends. Some of these games were even sold in major video game stores across the United States. After leaving school, I obtained a bachelor’s degree in software engineering, and I haven’t looked back since.’
Example Answer 4
Going forward, I intend to continue to help students improve and exceed their predicted grades. I believe that, considering my track record of improving student performance, I am the ideal candidate to excel in this job.’
Example Answer 5
Currently, I am responsible for providing admin support to the CEO of Example Company. This involves answering phones, responding to all forms of correspondence and managing the CEO’s diary. While employed in this role, I rewrote office policies and restructured processes. This generated annual cost-savings of over sixty-thousand dollars and saved thirty people hours per week.
In the future, I intend to continue to enable executives to make more effective use of their time. As the job advert states that you’re looking for an efficient executive assistant with a track record of high performance, I feel that I am the ideal candidate for this job.’
Example Answer 6
‘I have been employed as a plumber for over 12 years. Having started my career as an apprentice plumber in 2009, I have since gone on to work on major projects. These include projects to implement plumbing services in rail stations across London.
How to Answer Tell Me About Yourself
Alright, now that you know why this question is asked, it’s time to dive into how to answer “tell me about yourself.” Here’s a quick step-by-step process you can use to craft an outstanding response.
Use the Tailoring Method
First things first, you want to use the Tailoring Method to build your answer. That ensures your response is as relevant to the hiring manager as possible, allowing you to speak to their needs and preferences while you share details about your professional history.
Generally, you can find out a lot about what the hiring manager wants to know with a bit of research. Review the job description to find out more about the skills and traits their after, as well as the duties you might encounter. Then, review information about the company, including its mission, values, and products or services. That way, you can talk about points that will pique the hiring manager’s interest right at the beginning of the meeting.
Use a Chronological Approach
Overall, this is an interview question where your answer should feel like a story. Using a chronological, narrative-style approach lets you show the hiring manager how you’ve grown in your career, highlighting the occasional relevant achievement along the way. It keeps your answer compelling, all while making the details easier to follow.
Avoid These Mistakes
1) Regurgitating Your Cover Letter and Resume
The “Tell us about yourself” question isn’t an invitation for you to simply list off the same accomplishments you put on your resume. Yes, it’s important for you to highlight moments in your past when you were successful, but the real power lies in bringing more to the table, providing the hiring manager with relevant details that didn’t fit on your application.
2) Telling Your Life Story
3) “Well, What Do You Want to Know?”
4) The 10-Minute Monologue
For most interview questions, responses between 30 seconds to four minutes are ideal. With this one, something in the 60 to 90-second range is likely best. There are going to be a lot more questions coming down the pipe that will allow you to elaborate on your various experiences, skills, and accomplishments. Don’t feel like you have to answer all of them at once.
Just remember, this is just one question the hiring manager could ask you in your interview! That’s why we created an amazing free cheat sheet that will give you word-for-word answers for some of the toughest interview questions you are going to face in your upcoming interview.
Example answers to “tell me about yourself”
As we’ve covered, how you answer the interview question “tell me about yourself” will depend on your motivation for applying for the role and what the interviewer is looking for. What matters is that you’ve spent some time researching both and can clearly articulate that you’re a good fit in your answer.
“Of course! I’m based in Melbourne and currently a Customer Success Manager at Zeller, where I lead a team of 6 helping to onboard new small businesses onto the platform. It’s been a great role so far and I love helping customers, especially when they’re just starting out. Giving them the tools to grow their business is a great feeling because it’s hard enough to get started.
I started in early 2020 and have helped lead our CX team from 3 to 20 people and our NPS score is the highest in the industry which I’m super proud of! Outside of work, I’m super into cycling, I donate some time each week to a women’s shelter, and I write a small blog on customer experience and UX that is starting to get some traction.
Prior to Zeller, I worked at Airtable and Deel in similar B2B customer support roles. These were both great jobs — they were fast-paced and I learned how larger growth companies scale their customer success functions efficiently. I also learned how to be a wizard at Salesforce, Looker, and SQL.
While I really enjoy the work that I do at Zeller, I’m finding that my career has stagnated a bit now that the team is running smoothly. I’ve been following Square’s amazing growth for years and have always looked at your CX team for best practices — it’s truly amazing what your team has done to level the playing field for small businesses. I’d love the opportunity to help Square scale efficiently here in Australia to support more customers and the chance to onboard larger, enterprise-scale customers.”
Why it works: This isn’t a general answer. It shows the interviewer that you’ve read the job description, researched the company, are passionate about helping customers and understand how you could contribute to the company’s mission (in this case, helping businesses worldwide). It also shows that you understand Square’s tech stack and how your skills and prior experience could help.
“I’ve been a frontend developer for about 6 years now and have worked mainly in agencies. I’m currently contracting for an agency called rtCamp and a little bit of freelance work. It’s been great and pretty flexible — I’m mainly working on a bunch of different eCommerce projects, mostly built with WordPress. They’re a remote team so I can go from my office to the surf which is pretty great! We moved from the city to the coast in 2020 to start a family.
The past few years, I’ve been investing more and more of my time into the no-code space and teaching myself to be better at UI design. It’s incredible how far frontend web builders have come and I’ve started convincing a few clients at rtCamp to go with Webflow for projects. Long story short, I’m sold.
Why it works: You’ve clearly researched the company, in fact, you’ve done one better by being an active user of the company’s product and recommend Webflow to your own clients. You’ve also outlined to the interviewer how your previous experience and technical skills could apply to the role. Even better, you’re clearly passionate about the company’s values (something hiring managers always look for) and highlight how your personal values align perfectly with Webflow’s mission to empower everyone to create for the web.
“I’ve been passionate about web design since I was in high school. I remember using Photoshop on my school computers for the first time and was hooked. Since then, I’ve always wanted to pursue web design as my career and studied UX and Digital Media Design at Sisyphus College.
Tips for answering “tell me about yourself”
As we’ve covered, your answer to this interview question will vary depending on the company, role, and your experience. Don’t be afraid to get creative with your response and deviate from the sample answers above if it helps tell a story! Interviewers love outside-the-box answers from job candidates, so the more colorful you can make it the better. Here are some extra tips you need to know to make the best impression:
- Don’t recite your resume or take too long (2 mins or less): Remember that the interviewer already has your resume and isn’t looking for every detail of your career path or life story. Part of this question is assessing how well you communicate. Try to be as succinct as possible — it’s easy to ramble for 10 minutes with such an open-ended question and this can get boring. There’s no right answer for how long your response should be, but the above examples are a good benchmark. Just make sure you’re reading the room and try to wrap up faster if the interviewer is looking distracted or bored.
- Remember this is your first impression: More often than not, “tell me about yourself” is the opening interview question you’ll be asked. Most hiring decisions and first impressions are made up within the first minute, so make sure you’re prepared to put your best foot forward. This includes non-verbal body language such as eye contact, posture, and handshake (if face-to-face). For video conferencing interviews, check out our post on Zoom interview tips.
- Don’t be afraid to share hobbies or projects: In general, as long as your projects, passions, and hobbies don’t interfere with your job, employers are happy for you to pursue them. Having interests outside of work is a great signal to hiring managers, especially if they’re related to the job because they show that you’re motivated and a self-starter. Always drop them in — they could be the differentiating factor between you and another job applicant.
- You don’t need to share personal information unnecessarily: There’s no need to discuss private or personal matters in your answer unless you think they’re relevant. This includes details about your family members or children. It’s also a good idea to avoid potentially contentious subjects such as religion or political affiliations. While they may be important to you, they’re usually not relevant to the job and the interviewer may even be biased one way or the other.
- Keep it positive and professional: As with all job interviews, always try to conduct yourself in a positive and professional manner. While it can be tempting to speak poorly of a previous job or manager, try to focus on the positives and what you learned from your past experiences. Badmouthing or blaming past employers is a massive red flag for potential employers.