“Tell me about yourself” is a typical interview question. Although it seems pretty straightforward, few people answer this question correctly, leading to an unfavorable response from the interviewer. Answering rightly is crucial because it sets the tone for the rest of the interview. Although it doesn’t require any special knowledge, you have to be prepared.
Therefore, if you’re a fresher preparing for your first job interview, you’re in luck. At MentorCruise, we’ll explain how to answer the dreaded “tell me about yourself” question. We’ll also provide you with information about how you can navigate the entire interview process. So, let’s begin.
Why Interviewers Ask “Tell Me About Yourself?”
Before learning how to talk about yourself in interviews, you need to know why interviewers ask this question. As you attend more interviews, you’ll find it is a recurring question. Interviewers repeat it because it serves as an icebreaker. They also get to know you better and gain insight into your career aspirations, background, etc.
More than an ice breaker, when the interviewer asks you “tell me about yourself,” they also want to know how the company can benefit from your skills. It’s an opportunity for the hiring manager to learn about your soft and technical skills. While answering this question, the interviewer will note your honesty, flow of speech, and confidence.
If you’re unable to find the right words when talking about yourself, the hiring manager will conclude you lack confidence. Also, if you stutter while talking, the interviewer may conclude you’re not a good fit for the role.
The hiring manager will focus on every point you make while answering the interview question. Your answer sets the stage for further questions as they will be based on the skills you specify while answering. Your response will determine whether the interviewer will listen with interest or conclude the discussion out of courtesy.
Variations of “Tell Me About Yourself” for Freshers
Most of the time, hiring managers say the exact words “tell me about yourself.” However, your interviewer might have their version, but it means the same thing. If they don’t ask you to tell them about yourself directly, they might ask one of the questions below.
Tell me something that’s not on your resume
I’d love to hear about your journey
What do you like most about yourself?
What’s your background story?
Tell me something unique about you.
Information Freshers Need to Include in Their Answer
There is information your answer to the question “tell me about yourself” must contain. Below are some of the details to include in your response:
University and additional qualifications
Adjectives to describe yourself
Passion, hobbies, weaknesses, and strengths
How well do you fit into the job
As a fresher, begin with your name and the college or university you attended. Next, state your specialization and your CGPA. After providing this information, you need to be careful about what you say. When you share irrelevant facts, you might lose the chance to land the job.
After stating your educational background, talk about the skills you learned while studying and how you applied them to develop tasks. Finally, highlight how these qualities helped you carry out your final year project. However, you should try not to give too much information, just the title and how your skills were helpful.
Also, explain why you’re a good fit for the position. Don’t simply say you’re hardworking or you’re a team player. Instead, provide proof by describing how you’re a part of a club and your activities in it. Then end your answer by talking about your passion and your hobbies. This shows the interviewer you have interests beyond your academics.
The Ideal Formula for Answering “Tell Me About Yourself” for Freshers
You can use a simple and effective answer structure that revolves around the present, past, and future.
Present: Talk about a recent accomplishment, like your project and its scope.
Past: Talk about how you got to that position, your education, achievements, and skills you think are relevant to the job and the company you’re interviewing at.
Future: Talk about what you’re looking forward to and why you’re interested in the position. You should also inform the interviewer why you’re an excellent fit.
You can tweak the response order based on your preference. If there’s a unique story that brought you to this field, you can start with that before you get into your present or vice versa. Whatever order you settle for, ensure you tie it to the position and the company. You want to ensure you leave the interviewer with the impression that you’re the right fit for the job.
Tips for Properly Answering “Tell Me About Yourself” for Freshers
Below are some tips for answering “tell me about yourself” questions.
Shape Your Answer to Fit the Company and Role
To ensure your answer aligns with the company and the role, you must study the role and the company you’re applying to. Research shows that 47% of candidates fail their job interviews because they don’t have enough information about the company they applied to.
When the hiring manager asks you the question, “tell me about yourself,” they want relevant information about the position you’re applying for and the company. The interviewer allows you to briefly share why you have the ideal qualifications by asking this question.
It is an opportunity, so you need to take advantage of it. To effectively do that, spend time going through the job description and researching the company. Also, try to figure out how you can tell your story in a way that clearly shows your interest and what you bring to the table concerning the job.
Most people have a basic template they use for answering every interview. However, you need to try and change it every time to fit different companies. Doing this shows that you understand what the company wants.
For example, if the organization emphasizes work culture, weave it into your answer. In some cases, individual keywords that the company prioritizes could give them the cue that you did ample research. Consequently, they might consider you an excellent fit for the job.
Keep it Professional
Try to keep your interview answer as professional as you can. For example, when freshers answer the question ‘tell me about yourself,’ they share several unnecessary personal details. Avoid doing this, as it draws attention away from your goal of proving you’re a perfect fit for the role.
This isn’t the appropriate time to go on about every activity you engage in and your family. You should only talk about family if the company prioritizes familial relationships.
Add Passion to Your Answer
Although it’s necessary to keep your answer to the interview question professional, shed some light on why you’re passionate about the company and the role. This is crucial, although it might broach some personal territory. Sometimes, telling your story from an emotional perspective can help engage the interviewer and set you apart.
There’s no need to provide too much detail. However, if your goal is to stand out, add some passion to your answer. Most interviewers are not looking to talk to robots; they want to speak to a human. If you can relate to the company’s mission and your goal aligns with the role, you can bring that in when answering.
Remain Succinct and Avoid Resume Recitations
When answering this interview question, avoid repeating every detail of your career. Most people answer the question like they’re reading a dissertation. Doing this will only bore your interviewer to tears, and that’s far from the goal.
Your answer should be engaging and entertaining. How you answer this question will give the interviewer a hint about how you’ll speak in meetings with clients, co-workers, and bosses. Are you going to keep rambling for long minutes every time someone asks you a question?
Although there’s no perfect length or answer to the question how long interview answers should be, research shows that job interviews last between 45 minutes to 1 hour. It can be even shorter when it’s a Zoom virtual interview. You don’t want to spend half that time repeating information your interviewer already has.
At MentorCruise, our career mentors advise that you keep your answer to a minute or less. Try not to talk for more than two minutes. Some people prefer to speak for longer, but they lose steam after one to two minutes of uninterrupted talking. If you choose to keep talking after that, there’s a chance you’ll be giving too many details too soon.
You should also learn how to read the room while you’re talking. If your interviewer looks bored or distracted, it’s time to start wrapping it up. On the other hand, if they perk up when talking about a specific point, expand on the topic.
Remember that you don’t have to tell the interviewer your entire life story. Instead, give them a teaser that would pique their interest. This way, you also allow them to ask follow-up questions about what intrigues them more.
Practice But Learn to Improvise
Practicing is one of the keys to preparing for an interview. You shouldn’t wait until the process begins before practicing your answer. After researching the question, think about the information you want to convey during the interview and practice saying it aloud.
Sometimes, you can leave a voicemail or record your answer and listen to it later. This allows you to give yourself some perspective and distance, so you can objectively decide if your answer sounds solid and credible by listening to the recording.
If possible, do not practice solo. It helps to rehearse with people around; by hearing you say your answer aloud, they can provide you with feedback. It will give you some perspective on how others are interpreting your words. You can ask a friend or family member to listen to your answer. Ask them for their reactions, and make the necessary corrections.
Also, ask your practice buddy what they would say if they were in the position. Putting yourself in the interviewer’s shoes helps you determine what they might be watching for. However, while practice can strengthen your answer and build confidence, you should avoid reciting and memorizing.
There’s a fine line between practicing and memorizing, and you shouldn’t cross it; your answer needs to appear authentic. Some interviewers understand when a fresher sounds like they learned their answer. However, most hiring managers see it as a red flag. So, hold a good conversation and tell an engaging story.
Know Your Audience
Like with every other interview question, you must understand who you’re talking to. Sometimes, the interviewer will ask you different variations of the “tell me about yourself question at various stages of the interview process. However, this doesn’t mean you should give the exact answer each time.
If your interviewer is not interested in the hard skills, focus on the bigger picture instead. Consider getting more technical with your answer. Sometimes, talking about what attracted you to the company’s overall mission is a smart move. Another step you can take when the variations of the interview question come up is to enhance your answer and make it more peculiar to the company.
Remember This Is Your First Impression – It Matters
You have a few seconds to make your first impression, so make it count. Most times, interviewers make their hiring decision within the first 90 seconds of an interview. This includes your greeting, eye contact, handshake, and answer to “tell me about yourself.”
Your first impression can determine the tone and direction of the interview. Ensure your answer doesn’t put you in a position where you have to spend the rest of the interview making up for the poor opening.
Instead, give a confident, concise, and relevant answer to the question. You shouldn’t just prepare for the interview; show the interviewers how prepared you are.
How To Answer ‘Tell Me About Yourself’ for Freshers Using CAR Interview Method
The CAR method is one of the best techniques for answering interview questions. It involves establishing a challenge, action, and result. Thus, use it to structure your responses to interview questions, especially for behavioral inquiries.
By following the steps in this method, you can create a context for your response. It allows the interviewer to understand your skills and abilities. One of the best ways to learn how to use the CAR method to answer every interview question successfully is by seeking mentorship.
The CAR method creates a story featuring a beginning, middle, and an impressive end your interviewer will remember. Below is a breakdown of how you can utilize it for interviews.
C – Challenge
This is the context of your answer. It covers your former role, achievements, and why your response is essential. For example, a challenge can revolve around a project you once carried out, a goal you once tried achieving, and how you learned from the process. A great setup is crucial for every answer. Unfortunately, most candidates forget it when answering interview questions like ‘tell me about yourself’ for freshers.
A – Action
At this point, talk about the steps you took in the role or how you completed a project. Next, discuss how you addressed different challenges and your most significant contribution to the solution. The ‘Action’ stage is where you demonstrate to the interviewer that you’re a ‘figure it out’ person.
R – Results
This is the final part of your interview answer. It is the payoff in your story. At this point, you’re pulling everything together to impress the interviewer and shine.
Explain how your actions impacted the project or the position and use data to emphasize your contributions. However, stories improve data. Therefore, employ the CAR method to ensure full impact.
Sample Answers for “Tell Me About Yourself” Interview Question
Are you wondering how you can use the information above to create an answer? Whether you’re looking for “tell me about yourself” university interview sample answers or responses for a job interview, these sample answers for freshers will guide you as you create your response.
Sample Answer 1
Challenge/Context: I’ve always been skilled at bringing people together to work towards a common goal. Growing up, I successfully managed teams in my high school, which led me to consider administration. I recently completed my degree in Business Administration from XYZ university in 2021.
Action: During my years in school, I interned at a fashion e-commerce startup, where I was responsible for the social media marketing presence. I worked closely with the company’s marketing manager to run different marketing events. Additionally, I managed the manager’s calendar and successfully handled expense reports. I also volunteered to work on copies for some email newsletter campaigns.
Results: I loved the changing pace of the company and learned a lot about marketing and administration within those few months. While performing my duties, I saved 20 management hours by managing emails. It also gave me exposure to the business environment.
Now I’m looking to leverage my internship experience and school knowledge while getting more hands-on work experience. I believe this position would be an excellent fit for my skills and goals.
Sample Answer 2
Challenge/Context: My name is Blue Jonas, and I am an Engineering graduate from DEF University. My parents were computer engineers, and growing up, I learned a lot about their work. This got me interested over the years, and I decided to pursue a career in the same field.
Action: I developed an understanding of Java, SQL, Data structures, and C programming through several Udemy courses. In addition to these acquired technical skills, I also possess good communication skills, which are crucial for this job role. I’ve always been interested in machines and how they work. I worked on a surveillance robot that used a raspberry pi microcontroller in my final year. I was able to complete this process through my coding skills.
Additionally, I was part of the technical education society. We frequently organized events where I got to hone my leadership skills while learning how to work as a team. I also interned with a tech startup, building up my experience in the field.
Result: I’m looking to utilize my skills for this company’s growth while also improving further.
What To Say During an Interview as a Fresher
“Tell me about yourself” is not the only question you will have to answer. If you want to understand how to nail an interview, there are specific steps you have to take at different points in the interview process. We’ve done the research for you, and if you can familiarize yourself with these talking points, it would be easy to weave them into the conversation.
How To Start an Interview
Making a strong impression at the beginning of the interview is vital. This usually means presenting yourself politely and professionally. There’s no need to dwell on pleasantries, but common courtesy is essential. Follow these tips to create a solid first impression.
Start with a polite greeting
Express gratitude to the interviewer for meeting you and for the consideration
Convey that you carried out ample research on the company and the role
Point out how you’re an excellent fit for the role
During the Interview
As the interview continues, answer your interviewer’s questions thoughtfully. These tips will help you respond the right way.
Don’t just say you’re a perfect match for the job; explain why
Describe how you will add value to the company and help them achieve their goal
Make it clear that you’re a team player
Convey that the role aligns with your long-term goals and you plan on staying for a while
Emphasize your eagerness to develop yourself professionally and personally
At the End of the Interview
This is the opportunity you have to ask questions. It is an essential part of the process as it helps you show genuine interest in the company. By following the tips below, you’ll be able to close your interview gracefully.
Explain that you’ve researched the company and would love to learn more about XYZ
Ask about the company’s goals for the quarter
Convey your eagerness to work with the company and the reason why
State that you’re ready for the next steps in the interview process
Convey that you enjoyed the meeting and thank the interviewer for their time
Then keep the communication lines open and hope for the best.
Nail Your Interview With Mentor Cruise
Adequate preparation is crucial to acing any interview and landing your dream job. Hopefully, these tips will help you develop an impressive answer to “tell me about yourself.” The key to a successful interview is thorough preparation and working with a career mentor is usually the best way to prepare.
A career mentor can act as the interviewer and ask you several questions you’re sure to come across during the interview. Your mentor will also provide you with crucial feedback to help you enhance your knowledge. So, book a session today to begin the process of growing your career.