You would have probably heard of this job interview question “Tell me more about yourself”. While this question may appear broad, personal and unassuming, interviewees should be aware of the importance of providing a powerful, well-thought-out answer. If answered well, this opening question can set the tone for the interview and put you in a strong position to ace the interview and be offered the job role.
Why do employees ask the question: ‘tell me more about yourself’?
This question allows the interviewer to establish connection with their interviewee. There’s an added benefit to such rapport-building questions. Asking less structured questions at the outset of an interview helps interviewers build rapport which, in turn, helps make quicker decisions about candidates, a study conducted by the British Psychological Society found. How you answer this question can quickly help the interviewer have a quick overview on your communication skills and aptitude fit for the role.
An opening question like this lets both interviewer and interviewee transition to the rest of the interview. It also sets the direction and tone, determines the next question and also the overall flow of the interview. There are several variations to the ‘tell me more about yourself’ question. For example, ‘walk me through your background,’ or, ‘tell me about your journey.’ But they all have the same objectives: to find out more about you and to ultimately allow the interviewer to decide if you’re the best candidate for the role. By answering professionally, being concise, and sharp – you seize the opportunity this starting question presents, which is to make a great initial first impression.
Do’s and Don’ts of answering the, ‘tell me more about yourself,’ question
Do’s of answering the question
1. Structure your answer systematically
One of the ways to organise your thoughts is to start off by talking about your current role, your responsibilities and an achievement you’re most proud of. Then, move on to talk about your past jobs and your experience. Take note to highlight relevant experiences that helped you develop skills that match the role you’re interviewing for. To end off, describe your plans for the future, your aspirations and how this role fits in. This is a chance to demonstrate your ambition and your ability to strategically plan ahead.
For fresh graduates, start by explaining why you have chosen this field and career path. Go on to describe the skills you have developed, such as leadership or project management, as well as the academic experience you have gained. Conclude with why you are applying for the role and how your academic qualifications match the job description.
2. Highlight some of your strengths
Take this opportunity to also talk about the value you bring to the company, but don’t just stop there. When preparing for your interview, do extensive research on the company’s mission, values and objectives. Tailor your responses such that you articulate how your skills, experience and knowledge match this company’s culture and that particular job role. Show what you can bring to the table and how you can contribute.
3. Keep it professional
It’s best to keep your answer strictly professional and to stay within the confines of your experiences. Being professional doesn’t mean that you can’t be memorable though. For example, describing why you chose to explore this field lends a personal touch to your interview and makes it more likely that your interviewer will remember you.
Dont’s of answering the question
It can be easy to go off tangent and answer this question by talking about your personal hobbies and interests, your likes and dislikes, your personal life or your family and friends. We’ve compiled some common pitfalls to this question so you can steer clear of them:
- Haphazardly answering the question
- Being too lengthy
- Being irrelevant and getting off track
Sample answer to ‘tell me more about yourself’
“I graduated from PSB Academy last year with a marketing degree. I did a 3-month internship at an international e-commerce company and worked within the marketing department. My knowledge of digital marketing concepts, such as building brand awareness, creating content and tracking metrics were highly relevant to the role.
In my time there, I worked on a marketing campaign to increase traffic to our new website. I created fresh, organic content and ran several digital ad campaigns. These efforts culminated in a doubling of traffic volume to our website. I hope to continue working in this field and believe the junior marketing executive position here aligns with my future goals.”
Ace your interview with PSB Academy
Whether you’re preparing for an interview for an internship or for a full-time position in Singapore, being able to anticipate common questions asked in an interview can boost your confidence and put you in a strong position to do well in an interview.
To help students prepare for the future, PSB Academy has an office of professionals and career coaches who are dedicated to providing our students with career advisory services and job networking and matching assistance.