The Tell Me About…question is one of the most common starting point for the majority of interviews. These infamous words, “Tell Me About…..” is the interviewer’s opportunity to begin what is called a series of open ended questions, geared toward getting the dialogue between you and the interviewer started.
Let’s Get Started
It is natural to be a little uncomfortable by these type of questions because they are ambiguous, and it can be hard to identify what the interviewer really wants to know. But there is an opportunity for you in that ambiguity—your interviewer is allowing you to choose how to respond and present you with the perfect chance to showcase your skills, demonstrate your communication skills, and sell your strengths and value to the company.
The most common “Tell Me About” questions are:
- Tell Me About…Yourself,
- Tell Me About…A Time, and
- Tell Me About…A Challenge You Faced and How Did You Handle It?
Why is there so much emphasis on these type of questions during the interview? These type of questions give the interviewer the chance to see how well you will fit into the culture of the organization, to assess if you have the skills (hard and soft) to perform the job, and it gives the interviewer a glimpse of your personality and character – what you are capable of contributing as an employee.
Remember, that interviewer has very specific reasons (see examples below) for asking these questions and this is your opportunity to tell your story only as it pertains to the job you are applying for!
- Tell me something about yourself that others may be surprised to know about you.
Why Ask This Question? This question is an opportunity to learn something very interesting and real about you that might otherwise not come up in a standard interview.
- Tell me about a time you had a difficult working relationship with a colleague. What was the challenge, how did you handle the situation and what did you learn from the experience?
Why Ask This Question? The interviewer is looking to understand how a candidate moves through, resolves problems and how the experience and knowledge learned can be applied to possible future situations that may occur in the work place.
What steps can you take to best prepare for the “Tell Me About Yourself” question(s).
- Review the job description to make sure that you meet or exceed the requirements of the job.
- Research the company.
- Know yourself; skills, strengths, weaknesses, and value
- Be prepare to give a short personal description about yourself, start this question with who you are as a person, offer a peek into your personality and skills. If you have hobbies and interests that are related to the job you are applying for you should showcase them. For instance, if you like crosswords puzzles you could be perceived as someone interested in intellectual learning, a thinker, and someone who loves solving problems. Leave no stone un-turned in showcasing your skills and talents but be sure to keep it professional at all times.
Practice! Practice! Practice!
Below is a short script showing how the “Tell me about yourself” can highlight someone’s strengths supported by results and in can be answered in in less than two minutes:
I began my career in retail management, but few years ago, I was drawn to the healthcare space. I have always been skilled at bring people together and working towards common goals. My experience successfully leading teams and managing stores led me to consider administration, and I have been building a career as a driven health administrator for the past four years.
If you need one-on-one assistance, visit your local Workforce Solutions Office. We are happy to help!
Thelisa Lavergne is a member of the Regional (Texas Gulf Coast) Navigator team for Workforce Solutions. She specializes in providing training and education to the Gulf Coast community, career staff offices, and employers in assisting individuals with disabilities. She brings with her over 10 years of experience and expertise working in the nonprofit industry serving Houston’s disadvantaged community; individuals and families experiencing homelessness, victims of domestic abuse, and individuals and families experiencing hunger. However, her greatest contribution to Workforce Solutions is her compassion, commitment, and dedication to serving others. She holds a M.A. in Organizational Management, a B.S. in Training and Development, B.S. in Counseling, and a Certification as a Personal Fitness Trainer.