INTERVIEWER’S QUESTION “Tell me about yourself.”

By Carole Martin

Select the strongest answer

(A) I started my career as an Associate Accountant for a small firm after graduating from college. I then left that firm and was hired as an Accountant for a larger firm where I spent two years. After reaching a level where there was no further growth in that company I left to take a job with a start-up company where I was the CFO. Unfortunately, financial issues started to occur in the past two years and I was laid off.

(B) I am a high-energy person who is dependable and determined. I pride myself on my high work ethic and loyalty. Every performance appraisal I have ever received has commended me for my ability to stay focused under pressure. I am also a “people person” and know how to connect with people at all levels and build relationships. I am currently looking for a place where I will be able to grow and develop while contributing to a company’s bottom line.
(C) I have experience working in the Marketing and Sales field for 7 years. My area of expertise is my ability to use technology and social networking to reach desired customers. I was able to increase our customer base by 15% in my last job. My strength is my analytical ability combined with my people skills to build strong teams and networks. Anyone who has worked with me would tell you that I have a high work ethic and a great sense of humor that has gotten me through some tough times.

Answers

The Strongest Answer

(C) This is the strongest answer because it actually gives an answer to the question. It addresses the question the interviewer is asking – tell me about “you.” Although the interviewer wants to know about your background, they are attempting to know the person behind the resume. This answer is a summary of who you are – your background, your expertise, your strength, and your skills.

The Mediocre Answer

(B) The problem with this answer is that it walks the interviewer through the resume. The question was not “Walk me through your resume.” The question was “Tell me about yourself.” These are two different questions. There is another problem with this answer even if the interviewer had asked to be walked through the resume. The answer starts at the bottom of the resume and moves up. When writing the resume it starts at the top and moves down. When you answer the question starting back 3, 5, or even 10 years ago, it drags on and by the time you have reached the top the interviewer may have lost interest.

The Weakest Answer

(A) This answer is the least effective of the three questions because it is very general information focusing primarily on traits rather than skills. Being a “people person” is a great trait but the interviewer is looking for a combination of skills and traits. A good portion of this answer should be about skills and accomplishments so that the interviewer has a more comprehensive picture of who you are and what you can do or have done.

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