The most asked interview question is also one of the most difficult interview questions to answer because it is an open-ended question which leaves interviewees either sharing too much or not enough.
With a little preparation and practice, you will be able to answer the question, “Can you tell me about yourself?” with ease, and make a great impression on a hiring manager.
What should you do when a hiring manager asks, “Can you tell me about yourself?”
- Succinctly tell the hiring manager why you are the best person for the position – what makes you unique?
- Highlight your expertise and unique skills.
- Make it memorable – in a good way.
- Use a conversational and inviting tone.
- Be clear and concise.
- Include what you are passionate about.
- Connect your previous and current position and/or skills with the job you are interviewing for.
- Mention relevant training that you have.
- Include an example of a result or achievement you have accomplished or an improvement that you have made.
- Mention what makes you interested in the position that you are interviewing for.
- Keep your answer to about 3 minutes in length.
- Just like your resume, you want to tailor your answer to this question based on each position that you are interviewing for to show that you are the perfect person for that job.
What should you NOT do when a hiring manager asks, “Can you tell me about yourself?”
- Do not provide every single detail about your life all the way back to your childhood.
- Do not repeat everything that is on your resume.
- Do not come across as unpleasant or disinterested – or like it is a chore for you to share this information.
- Do not include information that is in no way relevant to the position you are interviewing for.
- Do not state generalities.
- Do not include a list of military acronyms.
- Do not include weaknesses – that will most likely come up in another part of the interview.
An example of a great answer to “Can you tell me about yourself?”
“I am a United States Air Force veteran with over ten years of experience managing engineering and acquisition projects in combat, operational, and testing environments. My favorite aspects throughout my career have been identifying program capabilities, assessing resources, and collaborating with cross-functional teams to ensure projects are completed on time and under budget. Project budgets have ranged between $15 thousand and $2 million. I have an advanced certification in Project Management. I am looking forward to a civilian career in this capacity, which is why I am so excited about this opportunity to work with the [insert company name] team.”
Now that you know how to answer the most-asked interview question, read on for tips on how to answer 8 common interview questions.