Answering the question "Tell me about yourself" during an interview


man in blue suit with microphone"Tell me about yourself" is possibly one of the most frequently asked questions during an interview and although it may seem like a harmless ice-breaker, if asked, it will give you the chance to create a really positive impression.

Why do interviewers ask this question?

When the interviewer says, "Tell me about yourself," in the UK he or she is looking for information from you that is relevant to do the job you are being interviewed for. They may look relaxed, sitting back and sipping coffee while they listen to your response but this could be creating a false sense of security, almost encouraging you to stray from the point, this is not an invitation to tell your life story!

How to structure a great interview tell me about yourself answer

When thinking about your answer try to follow the structure below, remember to keep your responses concise and relevant.

  • Match up your skills to the skills that are required to do the job and back these up with evidence
  • Provide a snapshot of your career, focus on your most recent roles and try to give examples of relevant achievements
  • Mention your aspirations, state why you want to work for the company/in the industry
  • Include your hobbies, what are your interests outside work? Are you sporty, artistic, do you like to travel? Are you a volunteer? It’s good to drop in a soft, friendly ending to a surprisingly serious question. Focus on you not what your children/spouse enjoys doing. Ensure it isn’t controversial such as hunting, etc.
  • Finish with a question, an interview should be a two way process, show you are serious about finding out if this is the right opportunity for you
  • Time yourself – the length of the answer should be no more than 4-5 minutes long. 


  • Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security because the interviewer looks relaxed – stay focused
  • Don’t waffle, the interviewer does not want a speech – practise this answer ahead of your interview
  • Have a pre-prepared structure to follow

With a little planning and practice, you can get to know your prospective employer and be able to sell yourself, "Tell me about yourself" then becomes a positive way to demonstrate your value and get one step closer to your dream job!

Renovo is one of the UK’s leading providers of outplacement and career transition support. We work with both organisations and individuals to support all their career transition requirements. If you would like to understand how Renovo can help you please call 0800 612 2011 or email

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