Answering the Question - Tell Me About Yourself

By Todd B Bavol

     Is there anything more dreaded than this simple question from a hiring manager? You want the job. It is a very good job. You would love to grow your career here. It all hinges on how you answer the question, "tell me about yourself." What should you say? Surely, they do not want to know about what you ate for breakfast or what you think of the current political debate. Perhaps you should be witty. Maybe you should be ultra formal. When it comes to answering this simple question, the worst thing you can do is over think it.

Why Ask Me This?

     One of the questions many applicants have is just that. Why are they asking this silly question? Often used as an opener to the interview, the hiring manager is testing you. How you react is often more important than what you actually say. Can you handle the pressure of an informal and unstructured situation like this? What else is the recruiter trying to determine?
* How articulate are you capable of being?
* Can you handle the tension?
* What type of impression will you make on customers or clients posing a similar question?

     Ultimately, the job applicant needs to say something. Though you may find this to be one of the more difficult questions to answer, all you have to do to make it work is to break it down. There are two things important to focus on here.

What Does the Hiring Manager Want to Know?

     What is important to this person, sitting across from you at the desk? The last thing they want is for you to focus just on your history and the reason why you left your previous employer. Remember that the ultimate goal to any type of interview is to show that you are a good fit for the company's needs. To do that, you need to provide information about what your qualifications are.

What Do You Have to Offer?

     To answer this question, talk about your career highlights. Shine now, by including information about who you are and what you have to offer. Make it a brief story that includes your career highlights.
     Though you may find that answering unstructured questions like this are hard to tackle on the spot, you should try to do so. Know the facts you want to include and then structure them as a story. That way, the individual will know the facts but will also remember you when the second round of hiring comes around.

     Todd Bavol is the President and CEO of Integrity Staffing Solutions. Integrity Staffing Solutions is a national staffing firm assisting individuals and corporations in making the right employment fit. To view job openings in Warehouse, Professional and Administrative positions, visit the Integrity Staffing Solutions web site at

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