South-Western - Management  
How to Answer "Tell Me about Yourself."
Topic Communication
Key Words Interviewing
InfoTrac Reference CJ121185660
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News Story

The question "Tell me about yourself" is often used in interviews to give the candidate time to talk a little bit about themselves, without being led by any specific inquiry. John Karras, director of career services for the Keller Graduate School of Management of DeVry University says you should be prepared to answer the question in 30 to 60 seconds. The best way to answer the question is to emphasize "soft skills" that you have that are applicable to the position and to provide concrete examples that you have the skills. Karras suggests that you give your top one or two skills in your reply and get to the rest later in your interview.

You can decide what skills you would like to highlight by brainstorming about your life experiences and your most marketable attributes, tailored to the position you seek. For example, if you are seeking a job in sales, emphasize your communication skills and give an example. If you are seeking a job in accounting, emphasize your detail orientation and analytical skills, and entry-level jobs call for an emphasis on your dependability. Always give a quick, specific example showing how you demonstrated the skill.


If you were a manager interviewing someone for a job, what kind of answer would you expect to the question "tell me about yourself."


In your opinion, is the question "tell me about yourself" a good question to use to get to know a candidate? List three good questions you might ask of a job candidate that would help you to get to know them and the skills they would bring to the position.

Source "How to Answer 'Tell Me about Yourself.'," Chicago Tribune, August 25, 2004, p.K0945.
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