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Tell Me About Yourself: Best Way to Respond

Tell Me About Yourself: Best Way to Respond

Hey everybody, it’s Andy, with this week’s
Tips for Work and Life. Today we’re going to tell me about yourself. This one goes out for all those people on
my Tips for Work and Life Subscription List and my YouTube subscribers who have pelleted
me with emails and comments asking to please shoot this video, well this one’s for you. We’re going to have some fun with this today. I’ve got three great techniques you can choose
from. You can pick, which ever one best suits you,
but before we get into those techniques, I want to talk a little bit about this question,
why it’s so awful and give you some context around it, so that you can prepare your responses. Now, this question is terrible for a couple
of reasons. The first one is related to the employer. First off, it’s lazy, it’s ineffective and
it doesn’t guarantee the employer that they’re actually going to get the information the
need to make a good determination about whether or not you’re a good fit for the company. Great interviews design well thought out questions
that elitists specific information that allows them to make those determinations, but the
second thing, the second terrible thing about this, it’s even worse for you because it puts
you in jeopardy of falling over one of the greatest trip wires in the job interview. The number one reason why you do not get hired,
in fact, I shot a video on the number one reason on why you do not get hired, I’m not
going to keep you in suspense, but that reason is, your inability to map your fit and value
and qualifications and skills to what the employer needs at the moment. Think about what’s happening when you’re in
a job interview. You know you’re fabulous. I know you’re fabulous. The employer has even said you’re fabulous
by inviting you in for the interview. They’ve also said the same thing to all the
other candidates that are qualified that are interviewing, but only one of you or maybe
a couple of you are going to get hired, so he or she who best maps their skills and qualifications
to what the employer needs is going to be the person that they hire. How do you know what it is that they need? Let’s get into those techniques. The first one and my favorite one, is to simply
ask, so I would rather it when they ask you, “Please tell me about yourself,” my favorite
response is, “Hey, Mr. Lazy Interview Man, my background is lengthy and diverse, is there
any particular part of my background you’d like me to discuss, so that you can make a
determination about whether or not I’m a good fit for your company?” Simply ask. Now, I know there are a whole bunch of you
out there going, “Oh no, Andy I can’t answer a question with a question, that’s just bad
form. I was told never to do that.” That’s ridiculous. It’s fine to answer a question with a question,
if you need clarification. They’ve likely asked you this question at
the very beginning of the process or the very beginning of the interview. They dumped you into a wide open field. It’s okay for you to ask for some guidance,
that’s all you did. It only took you ten seconds to do that. What’s worse than you answering a question
with a question, is you spending ten minutes talking about something that’s fabulous about
yourself, that they don’t care about or has nothing to do with helping them determine
whether or not you’re a good fit for what they need. Now the more important thing we should focus
on when you ask your questions and this goes for any questions you ask of any kind at anytime
in the interview, whether you ask them in the beginning, the middle, or maybe batched
up at the end, whenever you ask a question, you need to be able to anticipate the possible
responses, the possible outcomes. What could their replies be? Now, the beautiful thing about this particular
question that you’ve asked for clarification, is there’s likely only two responses, so when
you say, “Is there a particular part of my background,” their response is going to be,
yes there is or no there isn’t, so let’s take both of them. If they say, “Yes there is a particular part
of your background, here it is,” you’re golden, just jot the notes of what they asked for
and give your responses and tell your stories about how your qualifications meet those things
and what you did in your work history. Beautiful. That’s the best scenario, but they might say,
“No, there’s not any particular part.” Now, you’re no better or worse than we were
30 seconds ago, right before you asked the question, so here’s your pro tip on how to
handle that. Always bring in the job description. Anytime you go in for an interview, physically
print the job description and bring it in with you. If you ask that question and somebody says,
“No, there’s nothing in particular,” then pick up the job description and say, “Okay,
Mr. Lazy Interviewer Man, it looks like based on your job description, that you’re looking
for these skills and qualifications and the roll has these responsibilities, so I’m going
to share my background as it relates to the job description, so that you can get some
insight to determine whether I’m a good fit or not for your company.” That’s another option in the event they don’t
ask for anything specific, but at least that way, you can have some comfort in knowing
that you’re giving them information that they need. Now, for those of you who simply refuse to
ask the clarifying questions, so option two, another one, is then simply go right into
the pro tip technique, pick up the job description and say, “Okay, if it’s all right with you,
I’d like to share my background as it relates to what I think is called for in the job description.” That’s another option. You can go right into that if you don’t want
to ask the clarifying question. I know some of you are out there saying, “Well,
I don’t want to ask the question and I don’t have a job description. There wasn’t a job description,” or maybe
the job description was so thin that you don’t really have a good idea. Well, I’ve got something for you too, but
we’re going to make one little assumption here. If you are in a job interview, I’m going to
assume that you have some inkling of what the job entails, otherwise you shouldn’t be
sitting there, so, grant us that, that you have some kind of idea about what the job
entails, so if they say, “Please tell me about yourself,” and you don’t want to ask for clarification
or you do ask for clarification and they say no and you don’t have a job description say,
“Okay, well, I’d love to tell you about myself. I assume that the job entails this and that
these would be skills that would be good for you to know that I have, so that you can make
a good determination about whether or not I’m a good fit for your company, so I’ll share
my background as it relates to that.” Now, you’ve given them your assumption about
what the job entails and what you think are the important skills that you need to have. If you are incorrect, there’s not an interviewer
out there who wouldn’t stop you say, “Actually Mr. Smart Job Candidate, that’s not entirely
true, let me clarify that for you. Here’s what the job really entails and here
are the skills that we really need to assess.” Now, you’ve got the information you need,
you just got it a different way. If they don’t stop you and they don’t say
anything after you give them your assumption, then take some comfort in knowing that you’re
on the right track and off you go. That’s how I would handle the, tell me about
yourself question. There’s three things. Ask the question. Is there a part of my background that you’d
like me to share or you can use the job description and say, “Based on the job description, I’d
like to share my background as it relates to this,” or if you don’t have the job description
and you don’t want to ask the clarifying question, then say, “Here’s my assumption about what
the job entails and the skills that are required in order to be successful,” and let them interrupt
you or not and off you go. I’ve given you these techniques, what I haven’t
given you are how to really package up those responses and those stories, but I have to
two great giveaways to do that. In the description, there are two great giveaways. One is an ebook, called Ace Your Job Interview
– Master the Best Answers to the 14 Most Effective Job Interview Questions. I’ve got the 14 Most Effective Job interview
Questions, 43 variations of those questions, why the employer asks them, what the employer
is looking for and the very best responses. I also have a fantastic job interviewing webinar
called, Ace Your Job Interview, sorry, Three Keys to Ace Any Job Interview. This job interviewing, coaching is one solid
hour of everything you’d want to know on how to answer and ask questions in a job interview. You’re welcome to take both of them. The links are in the description. If you enjoyed this video, give me a like,
a comment and a share and if you’re watching it anywhere other than my YouTube channel
or the Tips for Work and Life Blog, hope over to the blog for more on this subject, more
job interview questions, everything you want to know about your career and job searching,
all kind of downloads and all other kinds of goodies as well. Until next week, have a great one.

100 thoughts on “Tell Me About Yourself: Best Way to Respond

  1. Hey Everyone! This video is now open for business! I hope you enjoy it and please let me know the issues you're facing with job interviewing or anything related to your overall job search. I'm here to help you!

  2. Its true there is a lot of Mr/Mrs. Lazy Interviewer
    they went autopilot and just do it by the book.
    not creative, no new approach, no improvement what so ever.

  3. Hello Andrew! Thank you for this great video on how to answer this dreaded question lol. I've subscribed to your channel and look forward to using your tips. If my background isn't very lengthy, how should I approach this question if asked?

  4. I don't want to play someone else during the interview in order to impress the recruiter. This is not a theatre scene God damn it. I am what i am, the school i went, the experiences i have, the things i did so far, the certificates i have. That's it. No more games!

  5. Dear lord i hope i remember all of this when i get a job interview. I see I’m going to binge watch your videos and taking notes!😭 you’re honestly a life saver!!!

  6. "Well I like to quote a lot of bible verses, then swear like a sailor, and then sniff my fingers and hands……"…… "And if I don't get the job, then I become very violent".

  7. You said Lazy repeatedly when describing improper interviewing. Isn't the employer always right? If he is lazy, how can I work for him/her?

  8. Being a single guy, I feel the same way about this question when a girl asks it when talking for the first time.. Feels like a lame job interview question, and it kills my interest in her that fast lol.

  9. Once, I had an interviewer say to me, "What is one special trait you have that you feel would bring value to this company?" I said, "I'll do something that most people won't do. I'll show up everyday." He leaned forward, pointed right at me and said, "That's a BIG one. How soon can you start?"

  10. Great video Andrew, I recently came across some of your videos all very informative. Thanks keep doing what you're doing man.

  11. Oh, I had the opportunity to a free entrance interviews event. There were not any job descriptions, other than educational requirements. I managed to have an appointment with the HR of a company that I really love to work with. It was a great interview, but if only I had this tip, I could get myself some extra points. Thank you for this video, I'd love to watch more from your channel. I appreciate this!

  12. Thanks a lot … the video was informative. A quick question … What if the HR/Manager asks "have you been interviewing for any other positions( in other companies) ? or Do you have any other offers in your hand ?" or something in these lines

  13. Thanks, Andy! Great refresher for my interviews this week! BTW, I love the nicknames you've assigned to the interviewer and the job candidate in this video! 😉

  14. Do you have a video to help making an well thought out elevator pitch and helping with answering strength and weakness, And what’s makes you unique.

  15. I would never answer a question by asking Mr. Magoo a question about tell me about your self. Like Andrew said tell them how good of a fit you are for what they are looking for.

  16. Yes, I always thought that this was an utterly stupid question. Why the fuck do you want to know that I have two kids and like to go sailing in my spare time? It has absolutely NOTHING to do with my ability to do your job. Stick to the point!

  17. I do tech support and job descriptions are a joke in my industry . many companies hate that they have to pay tech employees and many human resource employees have no clue what a keyboard is so its quite amusing for tech employees during interviews .. I look at job interviews as a selling point, i try to get the interviewer talking more then me, and i try to figure out what they are looking for and base my response from that. you need to get good at reading people. im also kinda secure in my skills so i try to display a level of confidence and assurance. and im just honest and up front. oh and never talk about side hustles and side projects..

  18. My answer to that is, here is your job description, And I am applying for that position because I know how to do it.
    Now do you have that position open or not?
    If so , tell me what you want done, I require ( x dollars per hour), If we agree on wages, show me where I'm to work, get out of my way and lets get started!

  19. "My name is Ben, I'm 35, I love dogs, long walk on beaches with them, and a Scorpio. Looking for a complimentary female 32-35."
    Break the ice with humor.

    Then ask them "would you like to elaborate on what you want to know about me?" With a smile.

  20. Tell them who you are in a way that is relevant to the job. Be a person they want to work with. Giving them more work by asking them a question is not good. Do the work for them. Prepare.

  21. I filled out an application once for a blue collar job taking care of aquariums and installing koi ponds.
    The application asked not a single question about the relevant topics.
    It asked logic puzzles and personality questions.
    One of them was what is your most embarassing moment?
    I responded, its embarassing, why would i write this down on a paper for a bunch of strangers from which i want something? No.
    I didnt get the job. But no one else did for 3 years either.
    Perfect example of someone who does not know how to choose candidates.

  22. We have become a society of prepped liars and deceivers. Whatever happened to good old spontaneous honesty and genuine conversations?

  23. nice technique sir, I always having trouble to answer this stupid question. sometimes it makes me think thay they only call you to interview without a deep read into your resume and your skill

  24. your answers and guidance is great.But they scare me.If i am being interviewed by some company that i really want to work for say Google.Is it a good choice to take risks like this?

  25. Here is the problem with this third option and not sitting there if you have not enough idea what the job is about: more and more jobs have informationless "you work on great technologies for great customers in great teams using latest blah blah blah" and all you really have is the general idea of what the company is about. In the last month I haven't found a single job where I had enough information about what my day to day work possibly could be that I could really say from there on "that would be a great job for me". Even worse, when you talk to them, their response usually is "we can discuss that in an interview". In one interview where it came up surprisingly that they wanted to expand on stuff they were doing and were basically searching for a GUI designer I bluntly asked why they couldn't have written that in the job description and saved us a lot of time going through the whole interview when I could right away say that this wasn't something for me, they said that this is trade secrets and it wasn't that much of a waste of time for them because they were in the company anyways. Well guess what, I had to take a day off for that interview….

  26. In my experience, this is usually the first real question, and is there just to get you talking. I find it useful to have a short 10-second spiel you can reel off before tackling this, just to settle the initial nerves. Nothing too deep, just some basics before firing off the probing question. This also gets around the "don't question a question" hang-up that some people have.

  27. That's exactly the kind of questions I hate, because it indicates laziness of the interviewer; it's so general, it requires literally zero effort on his part and puts the person across the desk in an awkward position of either blowing his horn and appearing arrogant, or giving an understated answer and appearing to have low self esteem, or divulging private information. My way of answering that is kinda blunt: "My past actions speak enough about what I can do, and that's the only objective thing that can be said: what I did up to this point. My subjective opinion is that I can do many things of the same kind, maybe better, maybe worse, but only time will tell. If you give me a good offer, I can do those things for you."

  28. i got the highest in the exam , only me got to the final interview, i thought if i got to the final interview im sure im hired but i failed, maybe because i failed in some questions they ask about me .

  29. The question is an opportunity to match your background with the JD, just tell a story of how everything you have done in your career has been preparing you for this role. Show them you are an exact fit. Doesn't even matter if the story entirely true.

  30. Is there any particular part of my background you´d like me to discuss so that you can make a determination about whether or not I am a good fit for the positions you are offering

    I just wrote that down so I can write it down in a document and say so in my calls

  31. Is it weird that I automatically did this when o applied for my current job having no prior experience of any form with interviews?

  32. To me whenever they ask this question, i take this as my opportunity to sell myself to the employer, show them how different I am to other candidates and what I can bring to the table.

    To sum this its my moment to bullshit.

  33. Hey Andrew, Top video and subject. You made me laugh but gave me the confidence to answer that question in an interview. By the way can you do a video on which 2 referees to provide from previous employment? How does one answer why you left your last employer? Especially after working there for 8 months you find out the company director runs illegal & dishonest activities? A lot of the times employers should provide the references instead of the candidate! Haha

  34. "Tell me about yourself" is probably my least favorite question. I feel that question is basically me saying the same things on my resume. Awesome video and tips!

  35. The first two options would never work here in the South for a majority of candidates. The third one would work, but it's not necessary unless you're going into a mid-level paying job. If you have gotten an interview, then they already think you are qualified, there's nothing to prove at the hiring interview with regards to your skills. Also, most people in charge of hiring are reading off a pre-printed questionnaire. They don't know why they ask certain questions and aren't thinking about any answers on a deeper level. They just compare everyone's answers to see which ones they like best subjectively. Then, they determine which person they think would fit in the best in the group personality wise.

  36. I hate interview, but I am desperate for a job.. I went 4 interviews this week , and it's seems not very good

  37. Once in a job interview I was asked "What would your mom say your worst trait is?" I responded "She really doesn't like it when I leave the lights on" I then laughed and they hired me on the spot. I'm pretty sure they were really just looking for someone friendly and funny that would be able to relate to the other co-workers and not any particular skills or qualifications.

  38. I wish i had seen this video before i went to an interview years ago. Thanks for point the "lazy" interview question out, its ring a bell.

  39. I would not answer a question with a question, especially this is the 1st impression. I would just go along with it and complement this question and move ahead, otherwise you put the interviewer on a defensive side. You want to provide a yoga session, smooth sailing session ! Example, your one line description is a perfect way to start answering for this question. See I complement your question.

  40. Thank you for the videos, these have really made a difference in how I go into an interview situation. It has helped me base conversations around strengths, knowledge and skills, as well as a calmer attitude and outlook about the interview itself.

  41. Its no different than dating. If you can morph your traits to what the girl wants, you're gonna make out at the end of the night.

  42. This is a question I always used to kinda trip over in phone and in person interviews, and it always feels awkward having to come back from sort of a botched first question. My latest tactic to this one (which I guess worked because I got my current job this way) is just to joke about it, something like "Well sir, that's such a loaded question and maybe one day I'll have a really good quick answer!" followed up by something. (usually I just end up describing myself as an adaptable jack of all trades, which I feel is increasingly true and a good selling point for most jobs). Which may not be super professional but IMHO, it's 100x better and shows more confidence than just awkwardly babbling off random details about yourself that may or may not be worthwhile.

    Great tip though! I will definitely be making use of this from now on.

  43. Hi Andrew! Thanks to your resume tips I got a retail interview, and it's a group interview with up to 20 other interviewees. Any advice on how to stand out from the crowd? Thanks again!

  44. Thank you for this valuable information. This is really helpful for me!!! I watched some of your other videos too. I enjoyed those videos as well. You now have a new subscriber!

  45. When you say background, does that refer to school, work, or just life??? If one doesn't have a big work history?

  46. Lol..ahaha this man is smart he flipped the script and put the Lazy Interviewer up on his toes with a reverse psychology question hee hee 👍 wow this guy is smart and funny

  47. Thank you for posting this video. I found it informative and appreciate your perspective about framing the question in the context of what the job responsibilities entail. With that said, I had some personal feedback that I wanted to share. First, the question "Tell me about yourself" is often presented as a way to simply break the ice by allowing the candidate to talk for a few minutes about themselves. I don't think that is necessarily lazy as it is trying to be courteous to the interview candidate and lighten the mood. Second, you have a tendency of referring to the interviewer or interviewee as "mister". It would be cool if in future videos you could broaden the way you refer to interviewers or candidates to be more inclusive of women as well.

  48. Companies may also ask you this question to test your level of English in case you're not a native English speaker.

    Mr. Interviewer, I know the name of your mistress.
    Where do I sign the contract?

  50. Great tip I Andrew I have been telling them about myself when I asked this question now I can venture outside the norm to answering this question because I absolutely hate this question hate it. But how else are employers going to learn more about you?

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