How to answer the “tell me about yourself” interview question

It’s the beginning of an interview and you’re prepared to answer questions about the job responsibilities and then you’re asked  “tell me about yourself.” This prompt can be difficult to answer if you aren’t ready for it. Luckily, there is a way to answer this common interview question with ease.

When encountering the “tell me about yourself” segment of the interview, you should use the past-present-future formula. Mention your background as it is relevant to the role, your current position and your plans for the future while summarizing your capabilities.

Understanding the position you are being interviewed for will help you tie your answer back to the role. Once you’ve grasped the requirements for the job you can choose to tell them details about your past, present and future that are relevant to the position.

There are three steps that can help you plan out your answer:

  • Explain how you got there (Past)
  • Start with your current or most recent position (Present)
  • Outline plans for the future (Future)

You can begin by telling them about your current or previous positions including the knowledge obtained and your day-to-day responsibilities. Then explain how your career path, education and other work experiences prepared you for the previously mentioned position and the position you are interviewing for. Finish your answer by detailing how working at their company would progress your career goals as well as what you can do for the company.

As you practice the interview process and answer the “tell me about yourself” prompt, remember to never express dissatisfaction with your current or previous job, summarize your resume, mention controversial topics or share too much information. Instead, you should tell a story, keep it brief and mention your strengths. The interview process can be overwhelming and nerve-wracking, however, being prepared can help ease these feelings. Remember to keep your answers professional, brief, relevant and to the point but don’t be afraid to show some personality. Guidelines like the past-present-future formula can help you ace the interview.