March 31, 2015

How to Answer the ‘Tell Me About Yourself’ Interview Question

Editorial Team

Job interviews in many industries including IT, often start with ‘Tell me about yourself’ interview question.

It is good to have an answer prepared, as a lot of people I work with as an Interview Coach, either give a 30 second answer that doesn’t sell them at all or they ramble on for 5-10 minutes with no real structure to their answer.

As it is such a popular interview opener, it is good to have a great answer prepared.

I’d recommend that you answer this question in terms of the skills and experience required for the position. This question is all about you as an employee, not about your personal life or what you like doing at weekends. Answer it by describing your best attributes relevant to the job.

Interviewers also think it is a lack of preparedness for you to answer their “Tell me about yourself” question with a question of your own like, “What would you like to know?”

Have an idea of what you’d like to say before you start talking!

Source: iStockphoto Source: iStockphoto


I’d recommend that you prepare and practice an answer that consists a three part, pre-planned marketing statement that can more or less be reused from interview to interview.


Start with a brief summary of your career history

e.g. “I am a Product Manager with 8 years of experience working for medium to large organizations the IT sector”


“I have 15 years of experience developing software for large multi-national financial organizations, credit card corporations and banking institutions” 

Then, talk them through briefly how your career developed but don’t just repeat exactly what’s written on your resume. Describe your experience more in terms of what you’ve learnt or achieved.Mention a recent


Mention a recent accomplishment that you are proud of

That will also capture the potential employer’s attention. You really want to focus on what makes you exceptional and how your skills and experience matches the requirements of the job.

If you’re for example, a Developer, consider the benefits your work has brought your department or the company in general in terms of greater efficiency or productivity, and increases in revenue or profit.

Think of projects or contracts with specific goals that were successfully met, whether achieved by you personally or by a team of which you were a member.

You should, of course, also mention the technology that you were involved with, but try to avoid dry lists.


A brief summary of specifically what you want to do next in your career or why you’re interested in this specific role.

Do mention the area that you wish to work in, or move into. Be sure that this relates to the advertised vacancy

Generally in IT sector, you’d want to convey your technical expertise and awareness of new IT developments. However, it is also good to mention some personal qualities most employers would want to see e.g. high standards in terms of efficiency, thoroughness, attention to detail, good project lead experience etc.


Finally, keep your answer brief – perhaps 2-3 minutes. You might want to prepare by writing down a few key points that you want to cover which you can practice before the interview.

To see an example of how to answer this question + learn what questions to ask to uncover the hiring manager’s needs and how to answer even the toughest interview questions, sign up for my free 3-day ‘How to win at job interviews’ e-course:



Margaret Buj is an interview coach who has been helping professionals get hired, promoted and paid more for over eight years. She is also a qualified Personal Performance & Corporate and Executive Coach and can help you with developing confidence and the attitude that will make it easier for you to get any job you want.


For more info and to download your free ‘You’re HIRED!’ video course, please visit

Topics: Job Search, Job Interview, Insider Tips