An Easy 3-Step Formula to Nail the “Tell Me About Yourself” Question
Author: Sara Berkholtz
Published: December 14, 2017 
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We all know that dreaded question: “Tell me about yourself.” It’s not even a question. It’s a well-meaning demand that most hiring managers use because they themselves don’t know where to start. The first thought that most people have when hearing that question is, “Where do I start?”
A lot of people tend to start off by talking about their personal lives or irrelevant professional facts. This answer usually sets the tone for the rest of the interview, so you’ve got to NAIL it.  

Here’s a simple formula on how to nail that question/demand the next time you encounter it.
Step 0. Research

Sorry to be a tease, but before we can get into how to craft your answer, we’ve got to talk about the key to interview success. Research. 

All the other steps are useless if you haven’t done your research on the company, interviewer, and position. Why? Think of an interview like it’s a presentation. You need to know your audience and the subject matter if you really want to win over the listeners. 

To best craft your answers in an interview, think about what’s important to the listener. You can do that by first reading up on the job description. It’s basically a guide to everything that is important to the job. 

Next, look at the company’s website, core mission values, recent awards, and upcoming projects. Oh, and don’t forget to look at Glassdoor for the inside scoop from employees. 

Lastly, take a peek at the interviewers’ social media pages to get a sense of who they are and find some commonalities. Perhaps it’s a shared school, professional organization, or hobby - you can use this info for Step 4. 

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Step 1. Defined Professional Overview

The first stage of the answer is going to be a focused professional overview that directly relates to the position you’re applying for. State the amount of time you have been in a role similar and a few key responsibilities that you’ve performed that directly relate to the job. Here’s an example:

I have 5 years of full-lifecycle Recruiting experience in which I’ve performed resume reviews, interviews, negotiations, and onboarding for roles within Accounting, IT, Operations, and Marketing.

Keep it brief and simple by pinpointing the top responsibilities of the role that you’re applying for. The wow factor is coming up.

Step 2. Relevant Accomplishment Point

An accomplishment point is anything that you are proud of that can be measured. Whether it’s money saved, time decreased, or revenue increased - it’s all something that you can measure in dollars, time, or value. You want to drop accomplishment points throughout the conversation because it gives your experience more legitimacy and helps the listener have a marker of where your skills are at.
The accomplishment statement should start off with the numerical value of the outcome followed with how you did it. People have a short attention span and care more about the success than the process anyways. 

Here’s an example:  I’ve filled over 900 positions in the DC metro area by expanding my network through social selling techniques.  

Step 3. Personal Fun Fact

I’ve saved the best for last. The fun fact is a way to both form a personal connection with the interviewer and make you memorable. If you found a shared hobby through your research in Step 0, NOW is the time to use it. The fun fact should be appropriate to discuss in a work setting. 

Think about things like: hiking, swimming, reading, music, travel, etc.

The way to lead into your fun fact after just stating your accomplishment point is by saying, “In my spare time…”
In my spare time, when I’m not recruiting, you can usually find me hiking nearby at Great Falls.

salary talent hack recruiting interviewing negotiation compensation offer why salary history is irrelevant talent paradigm lindsay mustain #asklindsay matthew roe matt roe
Final Product

There you have it! A unique, informative, and engaging way to answer, “So…tell me about yourself!” The only step after this is to celebrate because you are going to NAIL your next interview.

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About Sara Berkholtz : Sara Berkholtz is an award-winning Recruiter in the DC metro area who has helped over 900 professionals secure career opportunities within Accounting, Finance, IT, Operations, and Marketing. She is passionate about providing a candidate-centric hiring experience by offering individualized resume editing, interview preparations, and negotiation advice. She is also a military spouse and a mom to two red-headed toddlers (please keep her in your prayers as they reach teenage years). Sara enjoys hiking, yoga, and basically any activity that offers peace and quiet. If you are seeking career search assistance, please connect with her on LinkedIn.
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Talent Hack was founded by Lindsay Mustain, #asklindsay. I am a recruiter by trade and a humanist by condition. The existential question that drives me is "How can I help you?" Marrying together my expertise in talent acquisition and candidate experience this question becomes "How can I help you find your dream opportunity?"

My vision is to one day help organizations realize the impact of valuing human beings as people and not as pieces of paper. Until that time, I share unapologetic advice and job search strategies that work within the current system. Learn more at:

I help to bridge the gap between job seekers and employers through branding, the candidate experience and journey, along with disruptive talent acquisition strategies. My journey at Amazon led me to becoming their most visible employee by speaking on talent attraction, candidate experience (CandX), and humanizing the talent acquisition process.

I launched Talent Paradigm in 2017 with the goal of leveling the playing field for candidates in the job seeking process. My organization provides coaching, resume writing, branding, and consulting services and products to help improve candidate outcomes.
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