Tell Me about Yourself Interview - Part 1

Try to look at the mirror and practice answering "Tell Me about Yourself" . . . (Photo courtesy of Rita Javelona)
Try to look at the mirror and practice answering "Tell Me about Yourself" . . . (Photo courtesy of Rita Javelona)

Can you tell me something about yourself? This is often the most common interview question that any applicant may encounter. It is also somewhat similar when you will be asked to describe yourself. However, we often find ourselves grasping for answers once we were asked by our interviewers. Some doesn’t know how to answer it. While others thought that they might be bragging if they are going to say something about themselves. The worst view is to perceive this as an introductory remark just to fill-in the gaps in an interview.

In my previous article on “Misconceptions about Job Interview”, we mentioned that the “Tell me about yourself maybe an open-ended statement but the content that you share with your prospective employer have a great impact in their decision to hire an applicant. So how can we answer this question without being perceived as boastful, overconfident or nonsense by our prospective employers?

There four different perspective that you can do to answer an interview question. These perspectives are from the point of view of the Human Resource, Department Head, Financial Controller, and the Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Remember that you only have a minute to sell yourself. Your interviewer doesn’t have the time to listen to your long story. Here are just few examples on how to respond when being asked to “tell me about yourself.”

HUMAN RESOURCE PERSPECTIVE

Human Resources are more concerned on the people skills and leadership ability of an applicant. They also want to get a general view of the technical skills. They are usually the first level of interview that a candidate should pass. They do the preliminary evaluation of the resume and initial screening to come up with the best possible candidate for the position. When answering the question, you should focus more on teamwork, communication and cooperation. Here’s a sample response. . .

“My career has been highlighted with my ability to work well with a lot of people in the different levels of our organization. I have worked closely with various departments to come up with possible actions to enhance operational systems and procedures to improve customer service. I also tried to reach out to involve others in the decision-making process. This has enabled me to become successful in my chosen field.”

DEPARTMENT HEAD’s PERSPECTIVE

Any Department Heads are more focused on the technical skills of the applicant. In larger companies, you might also be interviewed by the Area Manager or Division Manager. They want to know what you can do for the team. They usually interview the shortlisted candidates that were endorsed by the Human Resources. When answering the question, you should tell him more of your professional expertise and specialization. Here’s a sample response. . .

“Throughout my career, I have focused myself on improving customer service in order to drive more sales to the company. I am the type of a person who loves to help others and also does multi-tasking. However, my expertise is on software and web programming. I have designed a program that made it easier for our customers to check their request status through online. With this, it has increased the sales of our company by approximately 10% last year. I look forward to use this skill to help you and the team in any possible way.”

FINANCIAL CONTROLLER’s PERSPECTIVE

Financial Controllers are more concerned on the company’s finances. They are more likely be interested on the expenditures, expenses or the IN’s and OUT’s of the funds. When answering the question, you should deal more on the cost cutting measures and the efficient way of spending money in the organization. Here’s a sample response. . .

“I have been successful in my career by making sensible decisions based on careful analysis on factors that affects the company. I am the type of a person who is very meticulous on details. My department came up with measures to cut on costs to help our organization especially in this economic recession. I believe on spending wisely for a good cause.”

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER’s PERSPECTIVE

Usually the Chief Executive Officer interviews applicant applying for a higher position. In some companies, they have a President or a General Manager. They are more concerned on your accomplishments and possible things that you can do for the company at a macro-level. When answering the question, you should focused more on organizational development, business opportunities and profitability. Here’s a sample response. . .

“I have been successful in my career because of the support of the whole organization. I have implemented actions that enhanced teamwork and cooperation of all the departments. I have sought out opportunities to increase the sales, control expenditures and expenses to maximize profitability. I made changes in the procedures and established a standard that caters to excellent performance. I would love to work to help maximize market opportunities in order to achieve the company’s vision and mission.

Here is a video courtesy of Denham Resources that will show you an example of a good and bad example of answering an interview.

Tell Me about Yourself - Bad Example

Tell Me about Yourself - Good Example

By understanding the different perspectives of the position that you are applying, you will be able to give the best possible response that your prospective employers are looking for in a candidate. However, you should first evaluate yourself and know your strengths and weaknesses, your skills and accomplishments before you go to any interview.

Job seekers must also take note that some interviewers will no longer ask you this same phrase of “tell me about yourself”, but rather they will ask you at the end of the interview this question, “Is there anything you would like to share about yourself that we haven’t discussed?” The tendency of an applicant is to say “nothing more.” Actually, such question is your chance to tell more about yourself, which now becomes your closing statement instead of an opening statement. Take every question as an opportunity to sell yourself as a potential and excellent candidate for the position.

Good luck to all!


You might also want to check out related job articles on:

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Comments 32 comments

prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 6 years ago from US

a very informative hub and I can see your point when you answer the question tell me something about yourself, Thanks, Maita


TINA V profile image

TINA V 6 years ago Author

Hi Maita, I hope that this article would help applicants in answering this interview question. Thank you for your comment.


Lita C. Malicdem profile image

Lita C. Malicdem 6 years ago from Philippines

This is a good way to start when faced with an interview questions problem. The various perspectives will prepare a candidate ahead for an interview. She could make her own monologue of what she expects to be asked, before bringing herself face-to-face with her interviewer.

With the internet working its way for online submission of profiles, the interview will be much easier for both.


PeytonFarquhar profile image

PeytonFarquhar 6 years ago from So Cal

You should write a hub about the bullsh*t interview questions - the kind that ask what kind of animal/vegetable/mineral you'd be.


TINA V profile image

TINA V 6 years ago Author

Hi Lita, I agree with you. The four perspectives that I presented will prepare the candidates for their interview. These perspectives are not only applicable to the statement "Tell Me about Yourself" but rather they can use it as a method in answering other questions. There is no right or wrong answers. However, there is always what we call the appropriate answer for every question. The monologue that the applicant will prepare makes him/ her more confident during the interview. It is indeed a part of the preparation to get good results.

Thank you for your comment. This is an additional information for our readers.

Have a great week!


TINA V profile image

TINA V 6 years ago Author

Hi PeytonFarquhar,

It seems that you had a bad experience with job interviews. There a lot of instances that applicants get frustrated if they believe that they are qualified for a certain position but ends up not being hired. It is just normal to feel that slight depression after so much expectation and hardwork.

I have previously written articles on "How to Handle a Job Interview" and "Job Rejection: Reasons from an HR Point of View." I hope you can check it for additional guidelines.

Thank you for your comment. Have a great week!


Cedric 6 years ago

I needed to read this 20 years ago fresh out of college. :)


TINA V profile image

TINA V 6 years ago Author

Hi Cedric, I hope I was able to write an article about this 20 years ago. hahaha...! If this interview question was asked before, it is still true and applicable until now. This is the opportunity of an applicant to sell themselves. Just share this to your younger family members and friends.

Have a great weekend!


tim-tim profile image

tim-tim 6 years ago from Normal, Illinois

I have to say the most difficult part of getting the job is the interview. If it is up to me to decide what to ask, I make it different and fun. Thanks for sharing.


TINA V profile image

TINA V 6 years ago Author

Hi tim-tim,

I agree with your comment. The most difficult part of getting hired is the interview. A resume can be done with the help of a family or friend. But the interview should be done solely by the applicant.

Each interviewer really have their own style of interviewing. It's good to know that you make it different and fun. Such atmosphere creates rapport with the applicants.

Thank you for your comment.


askjanbrass profile image

askjanbrass 6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

Yes, yes. Tell me about yourself can be one of the most difficult interview questions for an interviewee to respond to. Thanks for sharing these tips.


TINA V profile image

TINA V 6 years ago Author

Hi askjanbrass,

I agree with your comment. Many applicants really find it difficult to answer this question. Some are conscious and shy that they might be bragging about themselves. Others are overconfident that they exaggerate their answers.

Thank you for checking out this hub. Have a great day!


H.C Porter profile image

H.C Porter 6 years ago from Lone Star State

Great Hub-lots of great information to help job seekers beat out the competition. Rate Up!

hc


TINA V profile image

TINA V 6 years ago Author

Hi ezhuthukari & H.C. Porter,

It seems like a simple question but actually many applicants find it hard to answer it. I hope this article will help those job seekers find a good work. Thank you for your comments.


aefrancisco profile image

aefrancisco 6 years ago from somewhere down the road

This is a great read - i just had my interview with my prospective employer - and that's the first question askd . . .

it pays to be prepared - - -

thanks for sharing :)


TINA V profile image

TINA V 6 years ago Author

Hi aefrancisco, it's good to hear about your interview. I hope that other readers would feel the same way, too. I wish you the best in your job search.

Have a great weekend!


charanjeet kaur profile image

charanjeet kaur 6 years ago from Delhi

Love your writing style and it is to the point and well explained. loved the flow and the content is so true hands down. Lol you should have seen the answer I had in mind, after reading your hub all I could think of was damn big mistake. lol. I need to bookmark your hubs for further reference.


TINA V profile image

TINA V 6 years ago Author

Hi charanjeet kaur, I really appreciate your comment. I may not know what you have in mind. But I am glad that you have bookmarked this hub for future reference. I hope this article helped you, too.

Thank you for reading this hub. Have a great week!


Springboard profile image

Springboard 6 years ago from Wisconsin

One of the favorite question responses in an interview I had once was when I interviewed with the production manager for a mid-level management position. "Where do you see yourself in five years?" was the question. My answer was simply, "In your chair."

I got the job. :)


TINA V profile image

TINA V 6 years ago Author

Hi Springboard, it was nice of you to share your interview experience. Another way of answering the question "Where do you see yourself in five years?" is to say it as "I see myself in your place or to be in your position."

Congratulations for getting the job! I hope others will also be inspired to do their best in the interview. Have a great week!


Springboard profile image

Springboard 6 years ago from Wisconsin

That may have worked too. But I much prefer the very direct approach. I'm a bit of an aggressor. ;) And political correctness? Well, you know where I stand on that.


TINA V profile image

TINA V 6 years ago Author

There is nothing wrong with the direct approach or being aggressive as long as the person can handle it. I'm sure you did great because you got the job.

However, there are still applicants who are on the conservative or shy type. So I just thought these are just alternative answers for them.

Thank you for your insights. Have a great week!


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida

Hi, Tina V. Enjoyed reading your example of answering the dreaded "Tell me About Yourself" question using the perspective of potential interviewers at four different levels in an organization.

Very realistic hub.


TINA V profile image

TINA V 6 years ago Author

Hi drbj, I'm glad you enjoyed reading it. Thank you for your comment. Have a great week!


GmaGoldie profile image

GmaGoldie 6 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

Tina V,

I am preparing for an interview - wow! This is fantastic! I especially appreciate the pointers on screen - what is right - how to capture it concisely - start with the most recent! You will make me shine! 5 stars!


TINA V profile image

TINA V 6 years ago Author

Hi GmaGoldie, thank you for checking out this hub. I am sure you will shine in your interview. Good luck!


Jillian Barclay profile image

Jillian Barclay 5 years ago from California, USA

Dear Tina,

It must be serendipity! So glad that you introduced yourself to me! I have an interview scheduled for next week and I will be reading your other articles as well! We can always benefit from the experience and knowledge of others. Great info you have provided in just this one! Thank you!


TINA V profile image

TINA V 5 years ago Author

Hi Jillian,

That’s great news! I hope my hubs would help you prepare for your interview. I agree with you that we can really benefit and help each other as members of Hubpages by sharing our ideas. Good luck with your job interview! Have a great weekend!


Dr.Ope profile image

Dr.Ope 5 years ago from Kingston, Jamaica

Thank you for this information. I have made the mistake before when I was asked to tell about myself. I would tell from birth to present. I will be reading your other hubs.


TINA V profile image

TINA V 5 years ago Author

Hi Dr. Ope,

Actually, this is a common mistake of applicants. I'm glad that this article can help you in your next or future interviews. Good luck!

I apologize for my late reply. Thank you for checking out this hub. Enjoy your week!


lig 3 years ago

can you teach how to sell myself i was applying as technical support rep. i have knowledge in computer from basic to advance


Catherine 3 years ago

Hi. I find this article by accident.It is a very great article.

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