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Tell me about yourself

 

Disciplines > Job-finding > Interview questions > Tell me about yourself

The question | What they are looking for | How to answer | See also

 

The question

Tell me about yourself.

Tell me about your life in the past five years.

What they are looking for

This is a classic opening question and may just be asked as an 'easy' opener to get you relaxed.

They are not looking for a long life history. The way you answer will tell them something about how you take a big subject and condense it down into something concise and relevant.

They may want to get a bigger picture of you as a person to determine your values, preferences and general lifestyle.

They may just want to hear about your work life and how you have progressed through your career.

They may be testing honesty, checking what you say against what you have put in your résumé/CV.

How to answer

Generally keep your answer focused on things that are relevant to the target job. Show how your past has led you to this point and made you the ideal candidate. Tell them a coherent story with a conclusion that leads to now.

You can ask whether they just want work-related items or want something of your broader life. You can also ask how far back they want you to go. Whatever they say, always keep in mind what they are really seeking.

You can use this to show how you are a well-rounded personality with good values. Beware of being so focused on job attributes that you show yourself up as a narrow-minded kook.

If you give something of your childhood, show how it was formative and build ideal skills and values for this job.

Always be consistent with your résumé/CV, of course.

See also

Identity

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