DiceTV: How to Answer ‘Tell Me About Yourself…’

The Script

Cat: So, says the interviewer. Tell me about yourself. Sounds pretty benign. But saying the wrong thing here can be lethal. I’m Cat Miller, and this is DiceTV.

It’s smart to think ahead about answering what seems to be a simple question. Go on too long, ramble too much, and suddenly you’ve lost the shine you’ve been trying to present to the person you hope is going to be your manager. The key is to not to make the question a jumping-off point for a career-path version of the “autobiography” your third-grade teacher asked you to write. Remember those?

“I was born in Metropolis, Ohio. My father is a car dealer. I have a sister, Patty, two brothers, Joe and Bill, and a dog, Spike. My hobbies are baseball, model trains and coin collecting…..

In other words: Resist the natural tendency to tick off each of your career roles and transitions in a single narrative.

The interviewer isn’t looking for completeness right now. She’s looking for a coherent story that provides indications you’re a good fit for the opening.

That means your answer should briefly convey a sense of who you are and where you’re going – why the opening is a logical next step for you. You needn’t make that point explicit, but if you can suggest it in your answer, you’ll score points.

And, be sure to mention something about your previous career that prepares you for the role you’re interviewing for. Focus this part of your answer on accomplishments, not just responsibilities or functions. For each past or present job you discuss, tell an anecdote – a brief anecdote – about a challenge, a project, or a lesson that’s directly relevant to the new role. If you can relate that challenge or project to your motivation for wanting this new role, so much the better.

Don’t go through each and every job you’ve had. And don’t explain why you left jobs: The interviewer’s going to ask about that later.

I’m Cat Miller, this has been DiceTV, and we now return you to your regular desktop.

76 Responses to “DiceTV: How to Answer ‘Tell Me About Yourself…’”

  1. Frank DeFelice

    You should begin the interview with “Let me tell you about myself …”
    You will take control instead of being blindsided by dumb questions like “why did you leave your last job?”
    You should memorize a 2-minute talk. No longer. Don’t bore the interviewer. Highlight who you are, and what you’re best at. Later you’ll have to meet with various department people, most of whom don’t have a clue about what you do.

  2. I had an interview today with a medical information company and was asked this question not only from the Development Manager but also from the President of the company. The position I interviewed was for a Senior Level analyst position. It’s relevant to see what type of personality you have. Just the same I can gather alot about people just from the comments posted here.

  3. I’ve been asked that question several times and I always try to relate or associate my experiences with the position I’m interviewing for. Whoever is interviewing me doesn’t want to know if I like cats or model trains, he wants to imagine me in the position his hiring for.
    I went to a particular interview where the hiring manager would make the questions and answered them himself… I was offered the position an I declined it.
    Always remember that the interview is a two way situation. Open your eyes and ask questions.

  4. Anytime anybody from HR poses a stupid question like that without apologizing first, I release my inner child and allow my Clint Eastwood to enter, frown out of the corner of my mouth, tilt my head, squint a little bit, and depending on my mood say “could I interest you in some prime California real estate” or “what would you like to know dipshit?”.

  5. citizen_ken

    …and now comes another classic interview question “What are your strength and weakness?”. If you’re an Hiring Manager, interviewer, or experienced job seeker please share your opinion/appropriate answer.

  6. Frank DeFelice

    I never asked anyone to tell me about “yourself.” I asked: “What’s the most difficult problem you’ve ever had, and how did you solve it?” Usually I get dumb expressions and stuttering. One guy was ready to pass out. One woman actually told me, “I knew this was not going to be a good day.” Later their recruiter called me and asked me why I was harrassing his clients.

  7. I have notice that this question isn¿t about the person as much as it is gathering information as to how will they fit into the political arena at the work place. I have both, asked that question and been asked. It has been my experience that if your background and personal lifestyle does not fit the mold you are not going o be accepted. Additionally when I have been asked, I felt it was to see if I was threat. The questions leading to are a bigger indication of the interviewers goal.

  8. As an interviewee, I love the “Tell me about yourself” question because I have two minutes to show who I am, what I value, and what I bring to the agency. This quest also gives me the opportunity to briefly relate strengths to the job that I want–without saying as much.

    As an interviewer, the first moments of response tell me about how in tune this person is with their values and goals. That’s not therapy. That’s just plain important.

  9. If I were asking this question of an interviewee and he/she responded with the “what specifically do you want to know” type response, I would consider that person to be confrontational as opposed to cooperative in a work environment. I would be asking to get information, not a challenge back.

  10. I agree with almost all comments, negative and positive, but what this question really does is make it easy for both parties. For the interviewer its very easy to ask a completely open ended question, and for the interviewee its very easy to answer it (assuming they’ve prepared). I think that this question is so overused that it has lost its potency, because what it really does is separate not good fit from bad fit, but people who have experience interviewing from those who don’t. Congratulations to all the non creative hiring managers who think this is an important question, you’ve now found yourself a very good interviewer!

    • Very true. The best interviewers are the ones who have interviewed the most. And unless you’re just an older person, the people who have interviewed the most are likely the ones who’ve worked the fewest long-term jobs. So you could look for naive interviewers who don’t know the culture of interviewing, the games you have to play or all the lingo and you might just find someone who will work well for you for several years straight.

  11. Maybe I am old-fashioned, but I really just don’t get all this psycological detail interviewers supposedly can tell from a question like “tell me about yourself”. First off do you mean personally or professionally or both? Do you really think people are going to be honest? They can’t be. People have to answer these questions so that they are telling the interviewer what they want to hear. So it comes down to how good of a salesman or a liar you are. I think a lot of the questions are not honest, and I think a lot of the answers people are advised to give are not honest. Some of you say if people get nervous or it throws them off, that is points off. Ridiculous! Especially for programming positions. Are you interviewing for a tech position or for a public speaking position?

  12. George, you said very well, what I was thinking and trying to express in my previous post. A lot of the interview questions only seperate those who are experienced interviewing and those who aren’t, but that doesn’t really mean the person is not a good fit for the position. The emphasis seems to have shifted to simply how good an individual is at being interviewed, rather than their technical skills or general demeanor. I have seen people who could come off so outgoing and nice and enthusiastic in a meeting or in front of the boss, yet they were a misery in the office that everyone avoided and were a constant source of irritation.

  13. Yawn. Boring. Bla bla bla. Black business suit and pulled back hair? Why not get a rocking chair and knit us something, or get a job as a librarian. Good speaker with good personality. Get back in the bathing suit, please. The old mother hubbard thing looks like you are on your way to a wake.

  14. Frank DeFelice

    Interesting discussion. If someone ask me to tell him (or her) about myself, I would not be comfortable with an open ended question like that. I would never ask anyone that question. That’s what resumes are for.
    If you don’t know how to interview, tell your boss you’re not qualified to interview. Personally, I prefer to be interviewed by people senior to myself, not some guy just out of school.

  15. Frank, I like your point about “that’s what resumes are for”. I have been asked that “tell me about yourself” question before, and every time it makes me think to myself “did they even bother to read my resume?”. It’s like a lot of things these days, it’s not really relevant other than to HR type people. It is a “do you know how to interview” question. Similar to where school kids today learn how to take a test more than they actually learn the subject material. Personally, I don’t get it, but I guess the psychologists have taken over and set the bar for interviewing techniques.
    It is obvious the goal is to put the interviewee immediately on the spot and see how they react. But to me, that isn’t “real”. It’s contrived and no true indication of anything.

  16. I’ve frequently been asked this question and I have no idea how to answer it. I have read advice about how to approach the answer, but would prefer to see some actual examples from actual interviews.

    I can’t say that I have ever received a job offer after an interview that began with the “telll me about yourself” question.
    I have thought, as some have mentioned, that it might be a good idea to turn the question back on the interviewer by asking “What is it you would like to know” but I doubt that would work well. Maybe once in a while with certain interviewers. Most would come back with: “Whatever you think is important”
    There ought to be a better way. Job simulations could be the answer. Don’t have an interview. Have me work for half a day in a simulated environment doing tasks that resemble the actual job. Then grade me on my performance. Skip the interview.

  17. This question is a “breaking the ice” type of question. It lets the hiring manager know of the level the interviewee is at. So in that way, the hiring manager can dictate the other questions that follows and how long he/she can spend with the prospect.

  18. ‘Tell me about yourself” right off the bat doesn’t break the ice in my book. It’s more like being hit with an iceberg. To break the ice, you make a little small talk, then start looking at the resume and say “I see this or I see that”. Say “you have a lot of good experience here”. THAT breaks the ice. THEN, you say tell me more about that, or after reviewing the resume a bit, THEN say, “tell me a little more about your self, such as what are your strengths and what can you bring to the company”.
    But to start off with “tell me about yourself”, that is to immediately put the candidate ill-at-ease and see how they handle it.

    • Lol. Agreed. ‘Tell me about yourself’ is more a demonstration of social awkwardness on the part of the interviewer than anything. You really didn’t have anything better to say other than ‘tell me about yourself’?!?

  19. Any hiring manager should have read the resume before the interview, and would already know the level the interviewee is at. Now maybe an HR person would not know, because they are not technical, but the hiring manager should. But anyway you look at it, “tell me about yourself” is not an ice breaker.

  20. Marc Duffy

    A great question and one to prepare for. I agree, make the answer relevant to the position you are applying for. Make it short and sweet and focus on accomplishments and motivation for applying for this spot. “I relish a challenge and strive for a position like this one that offers a chance to increase my industry knowledge. This position offers that opportunity with the xyz technology and that is why I am interested”.

  21. Nice answer, Chuck and I agree whole-heartedly with you. The “tell me about yourself” question seems to be good only for people who have no clue where to start the interview. But if a person is prepared as Frank stated I believe that the interviewee can hopefully guide the rest of the questioning in a direction that highlights strengths and what the person can bring to the hiring company. As for this story and advice, I’ve ‘seen it’ before in many other places – how about an example?

  22. Yes of course it’s an HR question and in a lot of companies, specific questions are required and, especially in government, the requirement is to ask everyone exactly the same questions. One thing to remember about HR questions is that it isn’t really the answer that’s important as much as whether you stumble on the answer. The questions, here, are “do you know yourself” and “do you know what you want to be when you grow up?” It’s a lot like the “tell me about your strengths and weaknesses” question. The actual elements aren’t that important – the question really is “do you know what your strengths and weaknesses are – and do you know what to do with them and about them?”

  23. As a hiring manager, I’ve interviewed a lot of people over a 10 year time span. I ALWAYS ask that dumb question — “Tell me about yourself” — and I would never hire anyone who thought it was a dumb question. I don’t care what you say — I learn what I want in the first 5 to 10 seconds of your answer. If you’re prepared with a coherent answer — ANY answer — you get points. If you fumble for an answer, you lose points. You had plenty of time to get prepared, and if you were too dumb to use that time wisely, I don’t need you on my staff. (My comments are almost exactly the same for that other dumb question — “Tell me about a time when . . .”).

    FWIW: Frank, Chuck and Jane are probably smart enough to keep their opinions to themselves in an interview — but if they DID make those comments to me in an interview, the interview would be over.

  24. I am a hiring manager. I ask this question because it can reveal whether the candidate can organize their thoughts. Every person should expect and be prepared for this question. Naturally, I also ask many technical questions specific to the job. I’m a software developer, not a therapist.
    If I have screened resumes well, everyone is qualified on paper. The point of the interview is to find out what kind of person they are to work with. I want to know if they think on their feet well or will they choke when things go bad. Do they take action when something needs doing or wait to be told? Do they own their mistakes or spew lame excuses or throw someone under the bus? Nobody will tell you about their bad behavior, but you can get clues about it from their answers.

  25. Mr. Doss,

    I appreciate your professional point of view, and thank you for posting here.

    I HAVE been asked that question on several interviews, and so my question to you is two-fold:

    (1) What are hiring managers specifically looking to glean from one’s answer, and

    (2) When you say you learn what you want in the first 5 to 10 seconds of the answer, what can a prospective employee do, or say, in those first 5 to 10 seconds, to ‘teach’ you what you want/need to know about them?

    I wish to thank you in advance for your reply.



  26. Not sure when the last time Frank and Chuck interviewed was, but as someone who went through the campus interview process less than a year ago, every interview starts with that, and when you go to second interviews they all start with that as well.

  27. Hakan Onur

    I ask this question to learn about the personality of the candidate. Honestly, it is an HR-type question, and I can just as easily ask, “How was your weekend,” or, “Do anything interesting this Summer so far?” I want to see the candidate relax and show me something about their personality and skill to interact. If the candidate is taken back and has no idea what to say, this may be very telling. In this way I agree that I get what I need in the first few seconds. But ideally, just as the article points out, they can give me a personalized answer and find something that relates to the position I am interviewing for. For example, maybe they went sailing and assisted some other sailors they saw were having trouble because they “are naturally helpful,” which makes them a perfect candidate for the customer service job.

  28. I like Frank’s approach “Let me tell you about myself.” and taking control of the interview.

    I call that 2 minute speech the “elevator speech”–what you can say to a person in an elevator trip to make them realize you, by working for their company, will make them money.

    I don’t think anything needs “memorizing”–it will sound rote and phony. You are talking about yourself. You should already know your strengths and where you fit in with the company. You should have already tailored your resume and cover letter for this company where you presented your best accomplishments that best fit this company’s needs. Simply repeat these points in your own words, ad hoc.

    I tend to go on too long (see this post!) so when I feel this has happened, I ask a perceptive and pertinent question about the company and/or position. I prepare questions to ask before the interview. These I memorize or write down in my notebook.

  29. I have asked and have been asked that question. Being too broad and open-ended, it can be a real pit fall for the interviewee. I’ve coached candidates to ask a question in return. Simply respond, “Certainly, where would you like me to begin?” The interviewer now must get more specific and ask about job history, family, schooling, etc. Without rambling, the candidate should answer just that question and ask, “is there anything else would you like to know?”

  30. I’ve read all the comments here and I’m not sure where I sit as far as my opinion. I hate this question in an interview. I DO know who I am and where I want to go. I DO know my strengths and weaknesses. However, you know what? People get nervous in interviews and it can be difficult to pull this information out of your head. When I go to an interview, I want to relay why I want the job, what my skills are, and what my previous experience is. I also want to make sure the company is right for me. It is not all about if I’m right for the guy/gal sitting across from me asking me questions. An interview should be a place to discuss the job and skill; not a therapy session. I understand the interviewer feels they gain knowledge from this type of question, but if you are looking for “any” answer, what are you really gaining? You are gaining nothing except a rehearsed speech. What this tells me is the interviewee can BS his/her way through a standard question. Is the answer true? Probably not

  31. If people answer with the infamous “elevator speech”, I consider the answer a wash, at best. Elevator speeches serve a purpose. That purpose is to give a brief summary of what kind of work you’re looking for when you have significant time constraints (two minutes). They are not for answering interview questions. During an interview, I want to learn more about what makes you tick. I don’t want an over-practiced speech that shows you listened during a job search class.

  32. I agree with the last comment about knowing who you are, want you want, and know what skills you bring to the interview table. The interviewer needs to be asked questions from the interviewee to see if they are acceptale enough to be a boss for the me. Alot of times you here them talk about how a good company it is to work for and then they drill you on alot of irrelevant questions. Then you get the job and the other workers should not have passed the interview because they do not seem fit for the job. So, why give interviewers such hard times in the interview!!

  33. I wouldn’t even attempt to guess what the interviewer wants to hear. The appropriate response is to bat it back:
    “What is it you specifically want to know about me?” If the interviewer can’t narrow the scope of the question (or stumbles on their attempt to focus on important issues) it indicates that the manager has a problem thinking on his/her feet. I would terminate the interview at that point. since the manager clearly hasn’t put enough thought into what he/she is looking for.

  34. I agree with Jim I think answer to these type of questions provide a general idea about a candidate’s personality and diversity in a very short time.
    As an IT analyst, I have been asked this question in several interview and I think these type of questions give me a huge opportunity to present myself they way I wanted to be presented as far as my personality and diversification of my skills. I never rehearsed and memorized because I wanted to be as natural as I can be with a high confidence and the fact that I will be an asset for the team and the company . To me this type of questions are as important as technical or job related questions. The key is if these type of questions asked just because it is easy to ask or interviewer thoroughly believe that he/she can get something out of your answers…

  35. Frank DeFelice

    I like the 2-minute talk, as it shows you can speak well, and highlights the positive. Bring some of your work on the interview, whether it’s code you’ve written or systems design, circuits, or whatever. They allows you to discuss your work, because people always want to know what you’ve done. It also shuts down the clowns who want to ask you meaningless trivia questions, which you can easily look up in a handbook. Everytime I’ve brought my work, I’ve received job offers on the same day.

  36. citizen_ken

    “Tell me about yourself” is for entry-level/junior, non-technical job type of interview question. It’s a stupid open-ended question but you need to prepare to answer. Highlight your achievement is the key plus show them your confident to tackle any challenge this position imposes.

  37. Rich Bigelow

    When I was a hiring manager, I never asked the “tell me about yourself” question. I should have. The reasoning presented by those who are self described as hiring managers makes sense. Its an intentionally open ended question that shows (1) whether or not a person has prepared (2) hew well they organize their thoughts on the fly and (3) how well the related their background (both professional and personal) to the job being interviewed for. After all, its all about the job AND the team of people who will be working with the interviewee. A lot of things can be revealed during this kind of answer and not just in the words, but in the attitude. A person who has to work well with others and comes across as abrasive, arrogant or condescending will not be a good fit for anything but a degrade the team’s performance. And so on.

  38. Jim, you said
    “I am a hiring manager. I ask this question because it can reveal whether the candidate can organize their thoughts.”

    How does reciting a 1-2 minute reply to that question indicate my ability to “organize my thoughts”, as opposed to an ability to memorize an answer to an expected question?

  39. I am somewhat confused by some of the replies.

    Perhaps I am mistaken, but a potential employer has the right and responsibility to ask any question s/he wants, obviously excluding those questions that are illegal or inappropriate. If an interviewer asks an inappropriate question, you have the right, and, much more important, the responsibility to either challenge the interviewer or end the interview.

    “Tell me about yourself” might seem a banal question that represents a lack of interviewer imagination and/or interest, but it is a prime opportunity to smoke him/her with a clear, concise, and concrete speech about who you are as a potential employee (NOT as a person).

    Employers who use this “Tell me about yourself” tactic are either (a) lost, clueless, they have a resume that rang some bells, or (b) trying a “trick” question.

    Perhaps a more willful response to the question “Tell me about yourself” is more appropriate, however.


  40. I read all the comments and I must say I am a bit disturbed by the number of people who are either offended or put back by the fact an employer or hiring manager would ask an “open ended” question. We are on Dice.com so I will not speculate we are talking about interviewing for an $8 per hour job. Just like your resume can scream $8 per hour or $35 per hour so can your interview.

    Things to keep in mind are that you are applying and interviewing to work for a company and in the long run save or make them money in one way or another with your skills and experience in return for compensation. What on this planet would make you think they should not ask questions that identify you?

      • Haha, I dunno, Lecter probably makes a good employee – he’s good at what he does! But I don’t think Clarice Starling was intending to hire him….

        I see your point, but it’s more if a person becomes completely flustered and can’t seem to put their thoughts together that someone would pause and wonder…are they really going to be able to handle the stressful environment of working here? Yes, people are nervous during an interview. Whether they show that or not isn’t the point…the question is if they can stay focused and still answer questions. I imagine that bursting into tears during a job interview would not go over well no matter what sparked that.

        An open-ended question might be annoying, but it’s not an unfair question or even intended to put someone on the spot. It’s meant to give you an opportunity to share what you want to share, that might not come up later in answers to specific questions. Interviewers don’t have to use this approach, and can find out what they want to know in other ways, but it’s not uncommon to be asked to do some storytelling….so, if you’re the interviewee, be prepared for that.

  41. Maybe it’s a generation gap thing. I don’t remember “back in the day” ever being asked such an open-ended question right off the bat such as “tell me about yourself” at least not right off the bat. Some of you say you get blank looks or people stumble when you ask that question. Of course you get a blank look! I can tell you why. It that is your very first question, that blank look from the person who are interviewing means “did you even bother to read my resume before this interview” and “what is wrong with people these days”. Also again, do you want just professional history or do you want to know personal information as well? Depending on who you listen to and who your Business Communications professor in college was, and what book they taught out of, you can get all kinds of different advice on how to answer “tell me about yourself”.

  42. I have another idea why we get some of these “HR questions” these days, when we are expecting more technical questions or more direct questions. When I first started out as a programmer, interviews were conducted by IT managers who had been programmers themselves and maybe even still did some programming. So they knew what kinds of questions to ask. Today though, you have IT managers who have never been programmers and may not even have a technical background. They may have a business background. So you go in expecting a technical interview, but since the interviewer isn’t technical, you get an interview like someone in HR might conduct. Another reason is all the psychological aspects that have entered into the interviewing process, that used to not be there. These psychological evaluation attempts where they want everything neatly labeled and everyone put in their little slot with a label on the slot, are what gets you some of these “off the wall” questions.

  43. I used to have a “Summary of Qualifications” paragraph that was short and consise, just two sentences at the top of my resume, right after the name and address. I was told by several recruiters to remove that, because people don’t have time to read it and don’t really care. They just want the nitty-gritty of what your skill set is. So I have removed it and replaced it with a narrative of specific skills and how many years. Now reading this thread, about how important “tell me about yourself is”, when I go back and read that Summary of Qualifications, it sounds pretty much like “tell me about yourself”.

  44. Marakov, you said: “Things to keep in mind are that you are applying and interviewing to work for a company and in the long run save or make them money in one way or another with your skills and experience in return for compensation. What on this planet would make you think they should not ask questions that identify you? ”
    Agreed! But Marakov, why ask “tell me about yourself”? Ask questions like “why do you think you would be a good match for this position?”, and “what skills and/or experience do you have that qualifies you for this position?”, or “what can you bring to the company?”.
    People need a little more specificity. Just tell people what you want and most people will give it to you. Plus you can ask ten different people at large, ten different HR people, and ten different hiring managers, and you’ll get 30 different answers on how you should respond.

  45. I hate job interviews and really can not do them at all.
    It amounts to a disability of sorts. I really don’t know how I have managed to find employment ever considering how badly I do in job interviews.

    But, let’s face it, the purpose of an interview is to determine whether you can communicate and whether you are a likeable person who makes a good impression. If you accept that premise, it does not matter much what the questions are. It’s a lot like a blind date. It’s exactly like a blind date.

    • Interviewing is a “skill”. The more you do it the better you get at it. If you haven’t done it for a while your “skills” will not be up to par and you probably won’t exude confidence. When you haven’t had to interview for awhile you don’t really know what to prepare for and what to expect. But when you do it over and over again you start to realize a certain pattern emerges.

      That’s been one of the challenging things of the down economy. There haven’t been too many opportunities to interview and when you do get the chance so much time has passed since your last interview that it takes time to build and sustain the momentum. Unless it’s something you’re truly very passionate about already but opportunities like that rarely come along. Sure you can apply for it but you’re not guaranteed an interview. So what happens then?

      Personally I’d rather skip the dreadful formalities of an interview and acceptance process altogether and get down to business. Screw this interview let’s just roll our sleeves up and get right to work.

  46. It’s not so much about the answer content you provide; it’s about showing that you are savvy enough to understand the social cues of their corporate culture and to respond in their language and verbal style. …And if you can throw in a few informational tidbits that relate to those of existing employees (whom you have, of course, already Googled), so much the better.

  47. citizen_ken

    Many years ago, I had an opportunity to be an Interviewer for my company and after screening and interviewing several candidates for a database admin job in our organization. We finally acquired a Super Star. Question like “Tell me about yourself” is never crossed my mind when I interviewed people even though I was asked that question many times when seeking for employment in the past. Rather, I prefer to ask or be asked with question like “Why should we hire you?” or “Explain why you are a good fit to our company?” which are far more better than “Tell me about yourself”. These questions give the interviewee the chance to answer them with focus more on the position that (s)he applies for and with less personal comments/experiences injections from the Interviewee.

  48. citizen_ken

    Each of us has certain bias and opinion so does Interviewer/Interviewee. “Tell me about yourself” may opens a floodgate for interviewee to share unnecessary personal experiences/comment good or bad. Sometimes, listening to too much personal stuff from the interviewee may overshadow your decision to hire that person whom may have vast experience and expertise that are well qualified for that job.

  49. citizen_ken

    Comment from Dice’s Marakov above is well taken. However, there are far more and better questions to ask than “Tell me about yourself”. Let’s face it, there is a very strong chance a job seeker is going to be asked with that question during a job interview no matter what.

    But asking open-ended question like “Tell me about yourself” is just like you’re trying to look for a valid answer to satisfy many different problems which is almost impossible to get from any job seeker. For the poor interviewee, (s)he is hoping that their “shot in the dark” answer will satisfy the Interviewer’s curiosity which probably not his

    “Tell me about yourself” is non-productive, ambiguous, and should be refrained from asking.

    I’m open and would love to hear a correct answer for this question from any hiring manager,HR from this professional forum who cares to share.

  50. lol, a skilled interviewer will detect a memorized speech, not that it will disqualify a candidate. This question is often intended to open a dialog between the interviewer/interviewee, the trick is, don¿t clam up, and don¿t start off with the cheerleader under the bleachers story. Keep the description of yourself relevant to the job at hand, if your going to be writing software, don¿t explain how good you are at digging ditches, if you going to be digging ditches, don¿t say anything about software.

  51. I haven’t done that many interviews, but the ones I’ve done have been all over the map — no consistency as to the structure, pointedness of the questions, etc. The only thing I’ve learned is that if the interviewer seems really unprepared and isn’t asking worthwhile questions then it’s likely just a “going through the motions” exercise and they already have picked a candidate.

  52. Answering an open ended question with another question might result in a question for which you have no canned response. Even if you do have a relevant, canned, response it needs to sound “real” and not rehearsed. Additionally, it’s unlikely the interviewer knows anything about your personality and a misread can immediately cause you insurmountable problems. That is to say, if the interviewer is a raging extrovert (and who better to promote to a managerial/leadership position than someone who talks first and then thinks … LOL), and you are an introvert there will be a conflict even before you progress very far in the interview. The extrovert is probably looking for another extrovert and any hesitancy in your response will be seen in a negative light. Conversely, an introverted manager might be put off by a too-highly-expressed extrovert who seems to have an answer for everything.

    • Right you are. I think they call that “behavioral interviewing”. Just seems like a personality test to me. Technical people rarely have salesmen type personalities and are often introverted. It’s not what you know or what you can do, it is how good a BS’er you are.

  53. Thanks for pointing me here from Dice discussions, Mark. I think it’s an informative-concise video. I’ve been asked this question in a number of interviews. I also practiced my response in front of friends without memorizing it, so it did not sound canned.

    It is a good open-ended question that I used as a hiring manager because it provides a little extra incite into the mind of the job applicant.

  54. “Oh, my, gawd!” I hate that question. I do not care what anyone say’s it is dumb.
    I have been on one interview were I was asked that question . ( I was called this week for a 2nd interview….I do work part-time). It is like……”Tell me about yourself”….”I am here sitting in this chair…..drove to the interview on “e”….need to pay my rent….and I am broke! Now, I have told you about myself.” Of course we cannot say that….trust me that is what most people feel like when they have to ‘grovel’ for a position. I also, agree with ‘J’, Kat, should be “less scriptual….my, gawd, what article did she get this information from…..My questions is, how did she land this gig? (Not judging!)