You are probably reading this article because your interview is tomorrow or sometime soon.
“Tell me about yourself”-These are the very first words you hear in any interview, be it a digital or an in-person interview. So it is a good practice to be prepared for this question well in advance. Interviewers ask this question to start the conversation. This is your chance to tell them who you are and how your skills and qualifications align with the job description. “Tell me about yourself” is the question asked in all the rounds of the interview process. The interviewer may ask this question in a few other ways like “Walk me through your resume “, “Tell me something about yourself that is not on your resume”, or “How would you describe yourself?”. Whatever version of the question is asked, you are expected to answer this question in a brief and impactful manner.
This article gives you an idea of how to answer this question effectively. You must not make your answer too long or too short. The points you mention in your answer to this question are the cues for the interviewer to question you further based on the skills you specify. “Tell me about yourself” might seem like a simple question because you know everything about yourself, and answering it shouldn’t be a problem. But choosing what to say out of the many accomplishments you have made in your life is a hard task and requires some thinking. This article helps you in doing exactly that.
Do not get nervous. You should take approximately two minutes or less to answer this question.
Things to do before forming your answer to the interview questions
Here are a few things that will help you structure your answer.
1. Go through the job description thoroughly.
You are expected to go through the job description before attending any interview. This helps you identify what the company is looking for in an ideal candidate. Through this, you can understand the company’s requirements.
2. Identify your skills that align with the company’s requirement
You may possess numerous skills, but identify those which can help you get the job. You can tell how you adapt to the current trends and mention the new skills you have learned that are trending in the market currently. If you feel like a particular skill is not your strong suit, tell honestly that you are yet to master it.
3. Why did you choose the company?
Take your time researching the company. Learn about what they are currently working on. Try to align your company’s interests with your professional goals. Your answer must express your interest in joining the company. Think about what made you choose this company. Is it because you like the products the company is launching or the progress it has made in recent years? Learning about the company will help you answer the next question after “Tell me about yourself”,, i.e. Why did you choose this company?”
4. You should be able to say what it is about the role that inspired you to apply.
If you say you applied for the role because of the money it pays, this will get you in trouble. If you are a fresher, never get into the details of salary compensation. You should talk about how excited you are to start your career with the company and build your expertise in the field.
You should focus more on highlighting how determined you are to apply your skills and learn about new things and skills.
5. Think about your positive traits that will help you fulfil all the requirements of the role
After the “Tell me about yourself” question, the follow-up question may be “How would your friends describe you?” then, you should be ready to answer about your personality traits. Do your friends describe you as a confident and friendly person?. Support it with a small story.
6. What do you bring to the table that makes you different from the thousand other candidates that applied for the role?
You should ask yourself this every time you attend an interview. The basic structure of your answer is always the same. But depending on the role you are applying for, you should polish your answer based on the job requirements. Try to think of the unique qualities that you possess and be sure to mention them. Interviewers sometimes connect with you on those special interests you have, and these traits impress the interviewer. If you and the interviewer share parallel ideas, that is a plus for you as the conversation will become more casual, and you can easily answer those questions with confidence.
Why do interviewers begin with “Tell me about yourself?”
They ask you to get to know you better and to ease the conversation. But these are not the only reasons. When the interviewers ask, “Tell me about yourself”, what they actually want to know is – How can the company profit from your skills?
The hiring manager would like to know how good your soft skills and technical skills are. They quickly assess your confidence, your honesty, and your flow of speech. If you fumble for words in your very first answer about yourself, the hiring manager is forced to conclude that you are not confident enough. When you stutter while talking a few words about your skills and educational qualifications, how can you expect the interviewer to think that you are a good fit for the role?
It is said that the interviewers make their decision in the first three minutes of the conversation. So this ice-breaking introductory question, “Tell me about yourself,” or any other version of this question, is more crucial than you probably think.
They focus on every point you make. Further questions will definitely be based on the skills you specify in your answer. After having interviewed many people, they sure can know if you are making up things or you really do have a genuine interest.
Your answer to this question decides whether the interviewer will listen to you with interest for the rest of the interview or will just continue the interview out of his kindness and decency.
Must mention things and how to craft your answer
1. Your skills
2. Your previous role
3. Your accomplishments
4. The kind of person you are
Let me talk about this from the perspective of a fresher and an experienced candidate.
- If you are a fresher, start by giving your name, the name of the university or college you graduated from, your specialization, and your CGPA.
From this point on, you should be careful about what you say. If you say something irrelevant, you lose the chance to land your dream job. After briefing about your educational background,
- Talk about the skills you have learned over the period of your college.
- Then talk about how you applied those skills to develop any project. If you are an engineering graduate, highlight how those skills helped you develop your final year major project. Do not get into the details of your project; just give the title of the project and move on.
- Talk about why you are a good fit for the role. Do not bluntly say that you are a team player or a hardworking candidate. Add proof to it by saying you are a part of a club in your college where you organized events and made it a success.
- End your answer by talking a little about your hobbies, which tells the interviewer that you have some interests outside your academics.
If you are an experienced candidate,
- Start by giving your name.
- Speak about your current position and the roles and responsibilities associated with it. Highlight your achievements and how your work benefited the company.
- Talk about your previous experiences and how those experiences helped you become the person you are now. Highlight how your experiences helped you build your skills that are relevant to the role you applied for.
- Conclude your answer by talking about your career goals and how your goals align with the company’s interests.
In order to form an ideal answer, you should always think from the point of view of the company. For example, if you are very much interested in watching movies and you are applying for the role of graduate engineer. If you mention your interest in watching movies and such irrelevant interests that will in no way help in the company’s growth, be ready to bid goodbye to your dream role.
Whatever you say must make an impression on the interviewer. The interviewer must think that you are a prospective candidate for the role.
Your answer should hint at how passionate you are about the role and in joining the company.
Remember that your skills should make up about 80% of your answer. Then maybe 10-15% should be about your academics, and your personal history should only be about 5%.
Things that are off the table when you answer, “tell me something about yourself.”
- Making up things is not a good practice. If you say you love reading books, then be ready to be asked about your favourite book. Just because a few interests will make you look like a great candidate, do not say them if you do not have a genuine interest. This will be a major setback in the interview process.
- Do not make this about your personal history. The hiring manager is least concerned about it rather than focusing on your abilities and skills.
- Do not add in too many adjectives and superlatives. You can say you are a hard-working person but do not say you are the best in your field. This suggests that you are an arrogant person.
- While it is a good practice to write down your answer to this question, do not memorize the answer. When it is time to answer this question, your answer might come across as unnatural.
- Do not recite your resume. Highlight only the necessary skills. Pick a few skills which you feel are crucial and support them with your previous experiences.
- Do not talk rapidly like you want to get it over with. Since you have already prepared this answer, you tend to make points quickly. Talk at a proper pace and let the interviewer take in your words.
- Making your answer very long will bore the interviewer.
Tell me about yourself sample answer for freshers-
Tell me about yourself, best answer. The answers are also helpful for students
You should craft your answer yourself, but here are a few pointers and examples to get you started. If you are a fresher, the interviewer will see if you are willing to get trained.
If you are a fresher, applying for a role in a software company.
Sample answer 1
My name is Ankita Reddy. I am an engineering graduate specialized in Computer Science Engineering. I graduated from Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University and have an overall CGPA of 8.5.
I have a good understanding of C programming, Java, Data structures, and SQL that I have learned on Udemy. Along with these technical skills, I have good communication skills that I feel are necessary for this job role.
Our final year major project is based on a Raspberry pi microcontroller using which we made a Surveillance Robot. We were a group of four, and we made the project a success using our coding skills.
I was a part of a college club called ISTE, or the Indian Society for Technical Education that organizes technical and non-technical events for all the branches where I discovered that I have excellent leadership skills. I have learned how to work as a team.
I also have internship experience in this field and would like to utilize my skills for the growth of your company and improve my skills further.
I like reading books and have a passion for writing. My articles have been published on several occasions on the XYZ site.
Sample answer 2
Hi. I am Rahul. I have completed my Engineering from XYZ college, specializing in Electrical engineering recently. During my time in college, I got good grades.
I have always been interested in machines and have done several projects based on Arduino and IOT. I have assisted my juniors on several occasions to finish their projects.
I am a person with critical thinking skills and have the ability to turn a regular project into something innovative. My final year major project is based on speed control of an induction motor using Code composer studio and graphical user interface. Speed control could be done in many ways, but we chose to make the project innovative using an electrical switch modeled on the graphical user interface. I have good circuitry knowledge.
I always put quality on top of anything, and whatever projects I made were real-life projects. I also possess good communication skills and would like to improve my skills by working in your company.
I love photography and always have been that person who carries around the camera clicking beautiful pictures.
Tell me about yourself for experienced professionals
Sample answer 3
Hi. I am Pratap Singh. I have graduated from XYZ college with a degree in Electronics and Communication Engineering.
I am an experienced person who always tries to come up with innovative solutions and ideas for making the project successful. My problem-solving skills are a positive factor. I worked as a junior software engineer with XYZ company before I held my current position.
Even during my college, I created a website for one of the college clubs where I constantly updated the app.
I have always been a quick learner, readily grasping things, and my skills to work as a part of a team have been positive traits.
I am excited at the thought of the opportunity to apply my technical skills and experiences in your company.
Tell me about yourself in English
Sample answer 4
My name is Priya Agarwal. I have graduated from XYZ college specializing in English literature.
I have always been a creative person who likes to experiment with new things. I started my career after completing a few courses about digital marketing in Udemy and interned at ABC company.
I have worked as a digital marketer for over 5 years now and gained hands-on experience in this field. When I started my career as a digital marketer, my responsibilities included social media marketing, where I created advertisements to attain the audience’s attention. Also, I was responsible for keeping track of new trends by researching various things and coming up with new strategies to increase the productivity of the company.
I got the most job satisfaction from creating new content every day. I have worked in a startup. Now, I look forward to working in a reputed company like yours and utilize the ins and outs I have learned from my previous experiences.
The first thing you would want to do before attending an interview is to have a nice seven-hour sleep. Eat something before attending your interview. Look confident and get rid of all the negative thoughts. You cannot control the outcome, so do not think about it. Go in with a positive attitude. It is common to get nervous around new people, but this is where practice helps you.
Can I let you in on a little secret? I want to let you know that it is okay if you are a little grammatically incorrect. You don’t have to mess up your entire interview because you realized you made a minor grammatical error. Do not lose your confidence. Nobody minds minor mistakes if you go ahead with confidence and honesty. Being completely honest in an interview might not be possible. You may be leaving your previous job due to issues with your manager or boss. But you do not have to be very straightforward about this. Be honest where it is necessary. Be honest when you talk about your skills and achievements. Make eye contact with the person interviewing you. Make the conversation engaging and keep it professional. Do not get offended if the interviewer asks something you do not wish to talk about. Answer it briefly and try diverting it to the main track. Mention that you are more than willing to take on additional responsibilities. The interviewer should sense that you are a person who can handle pressure and still meet deadlines under stressful conditions. If you are in a hurry, you might miss some important points. Be to the point in your answer and win your job.
Some common interview questions and tips on how to answer them.
1. Tell me about your weakness
Weakness is not your physical trait. Your weakness must be something that has hindered you at the start of your career and something that you have worked upon and have improved since then. Mention your issue and how you have overcome it over the years. Develop a mini-story where you successfully overcame it.
And talk about what you regularly do to conquer it. Talk about a fixable weakness. Do not make this answer too long. You can even mention that you are reading books on how to overcome it. This makes you look like a person who is driven to learn and change.
“I sometimes find it hard to meet deadlines and manage my time. To prevent this, I started prioritizing things, and I organize my calendar every day. This has proved to be very useful, and also I make sure to meditate a few minutes every day, which has helped me in reducing stress”.
2. Have you faced any problems when you worked as a part of the team and how did you help solve them?
This is something you have to answer carefully. Do not answer it as if you hold something against your colleague or a teammate. Talk briefly about the conflict and keep it professional. Do not go on about the mistakes of others.
“During our final year project, we divided the work equally among a group of four. One of our teammates did not finish the assigned work and told us she could not finish it due to health reasons and that she did not understand the work properly. I understood her situation and tried to help her by explaining the project. And we finished the work together, which is when I learned that communication is as equally important as the knowledge of the project. From that point on, we organized constant conference calls and zoom meets to keep track of our work”.
3. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? is a common one that pops up often
Do not answer this question like “I want to become the CEO of the company in 5 years” or something that is not practical. You can say something like this, “I believe that learning new things is more important than holding higher positions. As a fresher, I would like to master my skills in the web development domain. I am really excited about this role and would like to use my skills for the company’s development which ultimately leads to advancing my career goals.”
4. Why do you want this role in our company?
This is where your research about the company proves to be very helpful. Approach the answer carefully and do not give a vague and confusing answer. You can approach the answer this way,
“Your company is the dream company to many people in my domain. The reputation of your company attracted me in the first place. I have learned from a couple of my friends who are currently working here that the company always has the employee’s best interests. Also, I found out that the company assigns a wide range of projects in different domains to the employees. As a person interested in learning new skills and producing new ways to develop a project, I think that my skill set is well suited for the company’s requirements. And the work-life balance in the company that is mentioned in almost every review on Glassdoor attracted me to this role.”
5. What motivates you? is a very common question asked
The people hiring you ask this question to find out if your goals align with the company’s goals. You can say something like, “I have always enjoyed working in a team. The satisfaction I get from completing a task successfully with high standards is what motivates me the most. Also, when my ideas have a positive impact on the project and increase productivity, I feel delighted and work with more enthusiasm.”
6. What are the steps to take for a fresher?
If you are attending an interview for the very first time in your life, here are a few tips to lighten your tension
- Write down your answer and recite it in front of the mirror.
- If you feel like it is grammatically incorrect, run it through online grammar checks like Grammarly and ProWritingAid.
- Sit with your friends and practice answering by asking the questions to each other.
- Do not copy the exact answer you find on the internet. Instead, understand how the ideal answers are structured and form an answer based on your skills and accomplishments.
- Some colleges arrange mock interviews for the students before placements. Skipping them is a mistake you will regret later on the day of your interview.
- Ask around and learn about the experiences of your seniors when they attended the interviews. You will learn something from their experience, and it helps you in avoiding those mistakes in your interview.
7. Why should we hire you? This is a question you can expect.
Highlight your every other unique skill. Ask yourself these three questions to answer this question.
- What does the role entail you to do, and what skills of mine match with the job description?
- Think about experiences to support your answer.
- How do I stand out from the other applicants who have the same academic qualifications as I do?
8. How did you come across the job opening?
Do not answer this question like you randomly came across it on job boards and thought, okay, let me just apply. Your answer should be like you have always wanted to work for the company and found the right opportunity now to work for the company since. You can tell you have learned about the opening from a friend and that you are excited about it.
9. Tell us about your greatest achievement.
This is your cue to highlight your skills and talk about how your skills helped you achieve your goal. There is something called the STAR formula which stands for situation, task, action and result. You can be like, “My finest achievement was during my previous role. I have created an innovative business model that helped us to finish the project days before the deadline. This model also helped us to meet the client requirements effectively.”
10. If you become a team leader, what would your leadership style be?
Think about the situations you dealt with in the past and the kind of challenges you have faced in your previous job. Tell them about your listening skills and how you consider everyone’s opinions and perspectives.
11. How would your colleagues and friends describe you?
You could go like, “My friends and colleagues would describe me as a straightforward and honest person. A lot of people also tell me that they like my confidence and friendliness. I make sure to let my friends know that they can count on me”.
12. What do you do in your free time, and how do you relieve your stress?
You can mention things like you do yoga, cook sometimes and read books. You can also mention things like you are learning a new language like Spanish or French. Or you can tell you make sure to spend time with your family if
13. Do you have any questions for us? is a question asked at the end of the interview.
Please do not say no. Ask something like, “How is work-life at your company?” or about the upcoming goals of the company or something like “How does the company treat freshers?”
14. What are your plans for marriage and having children? This question sometimes comes up
Nobody wishes to answer personal questions, but there is no need to get offended. Tell politely that you did not still plan on that phase of your life and do not intend to do so anytime soon and try to divert the conversation back on track.
15. Once in a while, you can expect questions about the company.
Make sure to dig through the company’s website. Know about the values of the company and the CEO of the company.
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