How to CRUSH the “Tell Me About Yourself” Interview Question

Inside: 4 tips to help you answer “Tell me about yourself” in an interview and knock it out of the park. The advice I give to all of my career coaching clients!

Tell me about yourself!

No, seriously. Tell me ALL about yourself. I’m super curious and nosy and want to know your hopes, dreams, and family history.

But your interviewer might want to know something a little more specific about how you could be a good fit for the role you are applying for, which is fair.

So how do you not only answer but CRUSH the “tell me about yourself” interview question?

It can take a little practice, but some of our good friends from Frozen are going to help you remember the key principles. Because that’s way more fun than bullet points.

Follow these four interview tips from Anna, Elsa, Olaf, Kristoff, and an experienced career coach and you’ll be golden.

4 Interview Tips to Help You Answer “Tell Me About Yourself”

Interview Tip #1: Make them remember you

Interviewer: Welcome to Arendelle Day Care Center, Olaf. We’re excited to talk to you about the available Preschool Teacher position. So, tell me about yourself.

Olaf: Hi, I’m Olaf and I like warm hugs!

First of all, it’s important that you understand why are you going to get asked “tell me about yourself” or something very similar in an interview.

The interviewer has seen your cover letter and resume, but to be honest, they have not memorized it. Some people may have just done a quick skim five minutes before you walked in the door.

With that in mind, your job is to bring the important points (think your top three skills/experiences/traits) off the paper and into their lives memorably and efficiently. So get right to it!

The interviewer wants to walk out of the room feeling like they understand what your deal is and if you could do the job well. There will be other questions for sure, but like Olaf cutting right to the chase saying he is super sweet and energetic, this one question allows you to start removing any doubt about your fit in the first couple of minutes.

Sample Interview Answer:

“I have spent my career focused on helping others and find a tremendous amount of personal and professional satisfaction from ensuring customers have a positive experience. I started this work at XYZ company…”

Interview Tip #2: “Tell me about yourself” isn’t really about you.

Interviewer: Thanks for coming in to interview for the Official Arendelle Ice Master and Deliverer job, Kristoff. Tell me about yourself.

Kristoff: This is not about me!

Kristoff gets it. Just like when you wrote your cover letter, “Tell me about yourself” is about you, but it also kind of isn’t.

Interviewers probably aren’t as nosy as me, they are focused on themselves. They very specifically want to know how you can help them. What are you going to bring to the company to make their lives easier?

If you’re in the interview seat then you’ve done a great job with your cover letter and resume, and you’ve already done the work of making it clear to the employer that they needed to meet you. You didn’t just list out your responsibilities, you showcased your skills and results, and connected the dots between your experience and what the role requires.

Keep it going when you answer this interview question and maintain a focus on the three key skills you have that they want right away. You can even work multiple skills (like communication and teamwork) into one sentence like below.

Sample Interview Answer:

“In my previous role at XYZ company, I spent four years in the marketing department where I honed my written communication skills as a key member of the creative team.”

Interview Tip #3: Part of your story is why you want a change

Interviewer: Elsa, pleasure meeting you. We look forward to discussing the Ice Architect Manager role with you. But before we dive in, tell me about yourself.

Elsa: The wind is howling like this swirling storm inside. Couldn’t keep it in, heaven knows I’ve tried.

A key part of answering the “tell me about yourself” question well is to help the interviewer out by answering their next question. Oftentimes that next question is “So, why are you looking to make a change?”

Part of that answer might be “I really need to get out of my current job. It’s the pits.”

But hold up. You don’t need to get into all those details, or get all dramatic like Elsa. In fact, you really shouldn’t.

The interviewer doesn’t need to know about that boss you didn’t like or your financial situation. There are reasons you want to make this move though, so let the interviewer in a bit so you both can focus on what you are excited about doing next.

Sample Interview Answer:

“As I take the next step in my career, I am eager to take what I have learned leading projects into a management role. I have found I thrive when helping others achieve their maximum potential and believe I will be able to contribute to your team.”

Interview Tip #4: Don’t be a robot

Interviewer: So, Anna, we here at Sandwiches and Co. are excited to get to know you! Tell me about yourself.

Anna: This is awkward. Not that you’re awkward, but just because we’re…I’m awkward. You’re gorgeous. Wait, what?” 

Since you are going to get the “tell me about yourself” interview question, it’s important that you practice your answer. As a hiring manager, I have always been put off when someone I am interviewing seems surprised by this question.

So make sure you have your three key skills in mind, know how you will tie them back to your resume, and remember to talk about why you are making a change. But don’t be TOO rehearsed.

The interview isn’t your time to monologue and your interviewer is going to notice if it sounds like you are reading from a script. Your language will be too forced and you won’t come off as a natural, normal, human being the interviewer would want to work with.

The Anna answer is clearly a little over the top for this, but the point is to be yourself and don’t get too caught up on every single word being perfect.

Sample Interview Answer:

Nope! Not giving you a script for this one. That would go entirely against the point.

Instead, if you are prepping for an interview right now take this time to write down your big three key skills relevant to your experience and the job. Then take a deep breath, and be yourself!

Go Crush that Interview!

Need some more help with your interview prep? I’ve got you covered!

And if all this job talk has made you think “Gosh, I don’t even know what I WANT to do next in my career?” I can help with that.

Let’s figure out your next steps in the free How to Land a Fulfilling Job You Love Without Giving Up the Flexibility You Need training.

How to Land a Fulfilling Job You Love Without Giving Up the Flexibility You Need
Hosted by  Becca Carnahan

Read More Interview and Job Search Tips:

Free Webinar: Land a Fulfilling Job You Love

SOAR Me Out to the Ballgame: Useful Interview Tips from a Ridiculous Story

How to Write a Winning Resume: Take Your Resume from “Meh” to “We Need to Meet Her!”

How to answer tell me about yourself in an interview. Sample interview answers with help from a career coach and the characters from Frozen.

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  1. This is such a great post! I have a job interview for a civil engineering position, and I am so nervous! As a woman in a male-dominated field, interviews are always a little scary, but these tips helped me feel more prepared. Thank you for sharing!

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