How to answer this dreaded interview question like a pro

There is no worse moment in a job interview than when the interviewer leans back and goes, ‘So…tell me about yourself.’

And suddenly, you’re a total stranger to yourself. What are your hobbies? Career goals? How on earth do you make yourself look like a hire-able human here?

It’s a daunting task to sum yourself up in a 1-2 minute window, while also making sure all your best qualities shine, without being braggy and also being personable and looking like a total team player who definitely fit in with the company culture and…ugh, we’re stressing just thinking about it!

However, there is a perfect formula for answering this question and wowing your interviewers with your concise and clear answer. Preparation for these kinds of things is key, so we’re here to help you carefully craft your answer so it’s as unique and well-suited for the job as you are!


Person Writing On A Notebook Beside Macbook

Prepare, prepare, prepare. I can’t stress this enough. Start a brainstorm for the different aspects that you want your answer to touch on. So probably your career, your personality, your interests, your achievements and look at the key words that keep coming up and whittle it down to the most important few.

This is an exercise in getting to know the best parts of yourself and letting everyone else know about them too. Have some key facts and stats prepared, like, how you improved customer engagement stats by 10-15% and that’s because you love social media and are such a people person and are also creative, which is great in a higher up marketing position like the one you’re interviewing for. It’s all about connecting your skills and personality and achievements back to the jo at hand so they can see what a good fit it will be.

Make it a story

Woman holding book with blank pages

So once you have all the info you need about yourself, it’s now time to organise it. The ‘past-present-future’ format is a popular one that allow you to show how far you’ve come, give a little background and talk about your ambitions for your career’s future. It gives you a chance to simple and clearly lay out your life for them and how it’s logically led you to be there in that interview room.

It’s about telling a story, like saying ‘Even as a child, I was always writing – I remember my first story I ever ‘published’ was in the school’s newsletter’ and letting that relatable and funny story grow into how that passion led you to your current job and skills and achievements and how you hope to level up to whatever your next career goal is. Making it a story makes it more understandable and there’s a natural sense of growth there, meaning you can show off how far you’ve come.

Deviate from your resumé – but keep it relevant

Two White Printer Papers Near Macbook on Brown Surface

It’s tempting to reel off facts and figures about yourself when you know your on a time limit, but this is also a great chance for them to see how you’ll fit in with the company culture. Show them a little of your non-work self, but do keep it professional and focus on the qualities that make you a good fit for this role.

You may be an amazing baker, but don’t ramble on about that unless it’s part of the role. A brief mention is fine to show your personality and interests, but keep it short, as you have a chance to let your qualifications and passion shine here. Be sure to keep it professional and try to choose hobbies that highlight your skills, like how you love event-planning and hosting as it highlights your people and organisational skills.

Time yourself

Person Wearing Round White Analog Watch at 10:09

Once you have your script written out and formatted, time yourself as you say it out loud. Don’t rush through it, give yourself all the time you need, and then edit as you go. They’re there to get to know you, but if you ramble on for 5-10 minutes about yourself, it’s going to seem intense and a little much. Keep it to 2 minutes if you can so you can give them a good idea about you without overwhelming them with info.


Happy young black male freelancer throwing papers while celebrating successful project during remote work in green park

What successes have you had? What achievements? Accomplished anything major? Now is not the time to be humble about it! Bring it all out into the light and show them what you can do, what you’ve been recognised for. Hype yourself up and be proud of yourself!