How To Answer The Dreaded "Tell Us About Yourself" Question

Why this question?

job-1845954_640That is a great question, not tell us about yourself, but why do recruiters insist on asking this question? It’s old, outdated and super cliche, but it still hangs around. And the reason it hangs around is, because it’s an easy question to ask.

Most recruiters don’t have much time. They are busy screening candidates and turning people down for jobs. They don’t have time to look through the beautiful resume you sent and develop a real, quality question, so they go with what is easy.

Some will say it’s because they are trying to hear what you have to say about yourself, and in some cases this may be true, but most recruiters don’t know what a big loss of time this question is. Because it is so easy to answer in a way that makes you a perfect candidate for the company, it is a fabulous question for you, that recruiters seem to love.

So it lives on.

This questions floors so many people. There is no reason to be afraid of this silly little question because right now we are going to lay out a great answer, just for you!  If you are dealing with a job loss over 50, asking for a promotion, writing a resume with no experience or looking for a job online, this question will probably come up. As long as you can speak three sentences, you can nail this question.

Here is how.

Know the company

Let’s face it, most companies want to know that you know about them. So knowing the mission statement, core values and ideal customer will only help you here. If they have a founder who is bigger than life, (or even if they just think they are) know about them. Be ready to take the parts of the company that you like and weave it into the best parts about you.

You will use this knowledge about the company at the very end of your answer. So for now, file away a few stories, core values and pieces of the mission statement that you like. Don’t worry, we will come back to it in just a minute.

Know yourself

So, what do you know about yourself? Usually this is what stumps most people. They don’t want to say they are a fan of vampire movies because #1 that is completely irrelevant and #2 those went out of style a long, long time ago.

So filling that gap with important, relevant and current information about you is vital! A great way to start is with a personality profile like Meyers-Briggs or DiSC. These profiles will give you amazing insights into yourself and a great launching off point to answer the question. For example, if you take a DiSC profile and the,”tell us about yourself” question comes up, you can shoot right back with,

“I am a high S on the DiSC profile which means I am very steady and do well with systems and routines.”

This is a great example of a first sentence for that question.

Highlight the things you want them to know about yougood-1123013_640

With each personality type come strengths and weaknesses. There is no need to ramble on about your weaknesses. Just make sure they are aware of the quality and value you are bringing to the organization. So if you were to use the first sentence from above, the next sentence could be something like,

“That is why I had such a good reputation at my last job, because I was always on time and didn’t miss much work.”

Remember, you have a ton of good points, show them off.

This is also great information to include in your resume. Make sure the design and language in the resume fits the company values and include a great cover letter.


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Dont lie

Whatever you do, tell the truth. 

Don’t say you were the director of distribution to describe your paper route. It isn’t cute or funny, it’s lying. Don’t lie about your experience because most companies don’t want experience.

They want good people who have character. 

Show them that you are a good person and be honest. Explain the best parts about the reality of you. Recruiters and hiring managers aren’t dumb. In fact, most of them are probably very smart. Instead of spinning your paper route experience, explain that when you had a paper route you were dependable, you worked the early hours and daily routine without exception and that every paper was easily accessible for the homeowner.

By the way, why did you have  a paper route?vintage-1170656_640

You do know this isn’t 1968 don’t you?

Finish with a tie to the company

Remember how you learned about the company in the beginning? Well now it’s time to tie that information to your qualities. So if they have a core value or a portion of the mission statement that resonates with your personality, explain it in the final sentence. You could say something like,

“So your fifth core value, disciplined behavior, is something I value in my life on a daily basis.”

This short, this three sentence answer will set a great tone for the rest of the interview, link you to a core value within the company and give the recruiter a reason to remember you, because your competition did not answer that question as nicely as you just did!


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Want a resume and cover letter template that will "help" the hiring manager choose you?

We  put all the psychology of fonts, colors and designs into this matching resume kit, and you can have it for free!


We take your privacy very seriously