If you have ever been for a job interview, your interviewer probably asked, “Tell me a little
about yourself”. And, if you are like most applicants, you dread and hate this question as
you do not know what to say. It is natural to be thrown by this question and it can be a
challenge to identify what the interviewer actually wants to know. Don’t worry, we are here
to help you navigate this question and countless others in our Adare Recruitment Tips and
Tricks Blog.
“Tell me about yourself” questions are common starting points to ease both you and the
interviewer into the interview. Your response will set the tone for the rest of the
interview—no pressure! This question can be paralyzing, leaving you wondering what it is
the interviewer wants to know. Do they want to know what you did at your last job?
Your soft skills? How you named your cat? Are you left handed? Actually, it is none of the
above.
Here is the secret: this question is one of the most important questions in the interview, as
the answer is 2-fold (and really, it is not what you named your cat or where your parents got
married).
First reason – When an interviewer says, “Tell me about yourself” he or she wants to know
how your experience is pertinent to the job you are interviewing for. It allows the
interviewer to get a summary of your background and skills, giving them insight into what
experience and qualifications you think are most relevant to the position. They have your
CV, they know why they wanted to interview you – they now want to see if YOU know why
they wanted to meet with you.
The second reason is – When they ask this question, they want to see if you have read the
job specification, done some research on the company, and incorporated any of that
information into your answer of skills and experience.
Before we dive into the correct path to finding the answer to this loaded question, you as an
applicant will first need to do your homework and properly prepare for your interview. By
preparing for the interview, you are equipping yourself to answer this feared question.
How do you prepare for the interview? Well, it’s a bit more complex than figuring out what
to wear and ensuring you know where the interview will take place so you do not get lost
and show up late.
First, you will need to study the job specification in detail and compare the skills and
experience required in the spec to your CV/ profile. In doing this, you can confirm you have
the required skill-set and knowledge to do the job and do it well.
Secondly, you need to research the company by not only looking at its website but also
looking at its various social media pages. Most companies use social media pages to convey

news, ideas and fun days to the public. You, as a potential employee, can gather information
regarding the dress code, company culture, and charity initiatives on these pages.
Lastly, you prepare by asking and answering a couple of informative questions yourself.
Questions such as:
– Why did you apply for this position
– Why did you apply at this specific company
– What skills do you bring to the table
– What sets you apart from any other applicant
– What previous achievements will help you in this role
– What positive traits will enable you to execute this job with excellence
A small side note – when asking yourself or an interviewer asks you why are you looking to
move from your current employer – NEVER speak negatively about your current employer.
It comes across as disloyal in an interview and, from client feedback; we know this has put a
suitable candidate out of the running for the job.
In other words, successfully answering, “Tell me a little about yourself” comes down to
planning, preparing and scripting your answer. In doing so, you will be relaxed during the
interview as you know the answer, you are comfortable with your answer and you will come
across as confident. When you are scripting your answer, make sure you include the
following information:
– Always start with your current position and work backwards
– Highlight experience directly related to the job you are applying for
– Why did you apply for this specific role – again, highlight skills and experience
– What strengths and positive traits will you add to the current team