If you find yourself in a job interview in the near future, one of the first questions you will likely be asked is, “Tell me a little bit about yourself.” The purpose of this interview question is to learn more about a candidate, and this question specifically serves as an easy way to begin the conversation. You may be thinking that no one knows you as well as you do, so why do you need advice on how to answer this question correctly? However, consider that there are nuances to answering this question that could make all the difference during an interview.
Balance professional with personal
You want to shoot for a balance. You don’t want to include overly personal or irrelevant details, but you also don’t want to come off as stoic or quiet. It’s okay to talk about a hobby or interest if it shines more light on your personality or the type of person you are. But ultimately, you want to focus on communicating what it would be like to work with you.
If you have landed an interview, chances are high you have the hard skills the company is looking for. They want to know if you would be a good fit for their team and company culture, and while other questions could be asked to assess soft skills, having you talk about yourself puts the ball in your own court. A hiring manager can learn a lot about your work style by understanding a bit more about who you are as a person.
Past, present, and future
If you are still struggling to come up with an answer, you can use the past-present-future format. Your explanation should include where you are currently, with this typically being the job you currently hold or last held. Then explain how you came to be there, and the variables that influenced that. These could include education, hobbies, family, or values. Lastly, close on where you hope to be and cite career goals or objectives. Common examples could include career titles, locations, or a general state of being.
Again, your answer is yours and yours alone. When possible, connect any of your past-present-future examples with the role you are interviewing for. There is no cookie-cutter template that answers this question perfectly as the answer varies from person to person. But whatever your answer, be prepared to deliver it in a concise and relevant manner. Overthinking a question like this is easy. The last thing you want is to ramble through one of the first questions asked. Practice your answer ahead of time and be confident in your ability to communicate who you are.