How to Answer ‘Tell Us About Yourself’ Question in an Interview

Tell us about yourself.

If you’ve been the candidate in one or two structured interviews, this question may not sound strange to you. What may remain a problem is what the correct answer should be. It was a big problem for me during several interviews. In fact, it became an embarrassing point for me at one – I was lucky it wasn’t a panel.

The interviewer asked me to tell him about myself. I burst into a forced smile and I started telling him ‘stuff about myself’.

“My name is Taiwo Adeyemi. I graduated from the University of Lagos…”

I didn’t get to complete the sentence. He cut straight into me. “I know your name and your CV has told me where you graduated from. Tell me what is unique about you.”

From that point, I knew I wasn’t the one talking any more. My voice was making a belated effort not to shake. All I was able to say was incoherent at best. I failed. The guy knew it. He made an effort to put an end to my misery by jumping to other less ‘life threatening’ questions. But I had lost my composure.

I didn’t get the job.

But I got the lesson. I read about it. I asked questions about it. I listened to tales of experience about it. Incidentally, it’s the simplest interview question. But it carries heavier weights than other supposed tough interview questions.

Please tell us about yourself.

To answer this question, this is what you should think: how can I tell this guy what my personality is, what I’m good at, what my hobby is, and why any company should give all it takes to hire me? All this you’re to roll into 1 or 2 minutes. Let’s itemise them like this…

 What’s my hobby – presented in an interesting way?
 What’s the valuable thing about my personality?
 How do my personality and experience key into the post that I’m being interviewed for?

Isn’t it making some sense to you?

One of my mentors in HR once put it this way: to successfully tell an interviewer about yourself, come up with a mental personal suitability statement and present it in 2 minutes.

An Example

A fellow writer once mandated me to stage a mock interview for him. Instincts prodded me and the first question I asked was…(you know it already).

Please tell me about yourself.

“I’m a writer. A very good writer, going by my readers’ testimonials. Professionally, I’m an accountant, an inventory management expert and an office administrator rolled into one package. A natural plus for me is that I’m a sanguine choleric guy. So, I make friends easily while I get things done on schedule. ”

That was crisp, wasn’t it?

If you can say something about yourself in that direction, you’ll whet the appetite of the interviewer to know you more. Then, you can add some icing on the cake by providing specific examples of why you’re suitable for the post.

It sounds cheap. It really is.

Ok.

Tell us about yourself.

Talk to you soon.

You’ve got some comments, please drop them in the comment box here. Ok, you’ve got some questions for me? I’ll be glad to rob minds with you. Please direct your questions and enquiries to taiwo@healedbyinspiration.com or to taiwo.write2build@gmail.

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About Taiwo Adeyemi

Taiwo Adeyemi a passionate and inspirational freelance writer. A motivational speaker and a blogger. He holds a bachelor degree in Business Administration with experiences in finance, teaching, public speaking, writing and music. His passion for inspirational writing and speaking has seen him publish a book Ideas: From Nest to Transformation. He is putting finishing touches to a second one. Contact him. 09097348380 taiwo.write2build@gmail.com

2 Comments

  1. Zee says:

    That was helpful. Thank you very much.

  2. Joseph says:

    that was motivating, am really encouraged. nothing is to be feared but rather to be understood.

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