HR Interview: Tell me about yourself – Follow these 3 Thumb Rules for Success!

There are no sure-shot tactics but stick to the basics and follow these 3 thumb rules and you will have better chances of Success in a Job Interview. There are 3 major components to this question, so the skillful formula for answering this question, would be:

No.1 – Who you are?

Your 1st sentence should be an introduction to who you are professionally, an overview statement that shows off your strengths and gives a little sense of your personality too.

This is not easy to do gracefully on the fly. It pays to prepare a bit in advance.

To help you better we will give you 2 examples, one is a good example and the other one can be considered as a bad example.

So good example is:

“I’m an innovative HR manager with 8 years of experience managing all aspects of the HR function — from recruiting to training to benefits — for Fortune 500 companies.”
This is concisely summarizing the diverse background of the candidate that's the reason it is good.

Now, bad example:

“Well, I grew up in Cincinnati. As a child, I originally wanted to be a fireman, then later became interested in dinosaurs. I excelled in the science from early on, placing first in my fourth-grade science fair. Funny story about that is… Bla bla bla”
So, there is way too much information and we don't require that. This is considered Bad.
Now, we come to the 2nd component which is:

No.2 – Expertise Highlights

Don’t assume that the interviewer has closely read your resume and knows your qualifications. Use your elevator pitch to briefly highlight 2-4 points that you think make you stand out.

So good example is:

"I have spent the last 6 years developing my skills as a customer service manager for so and so company, where I have won several performance awards and been promoted twice."
See, the emphasis here is on experience, enthusiasm, and proof of performance.

Now let's look at an example that can be considered as bad:

"My first job was as an administrative assistant for so and so company at so and so place. I learned a great deal in that role that served me well over the next 12 years. At the time, I wasn’t sure about my career path, so I next took a position selling real estate. It only lasted for six months, but I sure enjoyed it."
Now, why it is considered as bad. See, nobody cares about your 1st job 12 years ago. You are starting with the least impressive part of your career and the interviewer is likely to tune out before you get to the good stuff.
Now we come to the 3rd component, which is,

No.3 – Why you're here?

End it by telling them you want the position and Why.

So good example can be:

“Although I love my current role, I feel I’m now ready for a more challenging assignment and this position really excites me.”
Very concise and positive.

Now another example that can be considered as bad:

“Because of the company’s financial problems and my boss’s issues, I’m worried about my job’s stability and decided to start looking for new opportunities.”
See, never be too candid or you risk coming across as negative. This answer also makes it seem like you’re interested in a job, any job — not this job in particular.
Remember: You will have time later to walk through your resume in more detail and fill in any gaps. Don’t try to squeeze in too much information or your interviewer will start to tune you out.

"A good interview is a Dialogue, not a Monologue." Keep it concise and give your interviewer the chance to dive in and ask questions.
So, next time you’re faced with the dreaded question, “Tell me about yourself…”, try these:

  1. “I can summarize who I'm in three words.”
    Grabs their attention immediately. Demonstrates your ability to be concise, creative and compelling.
  2. "The quotation I live my life by is…”
    Proves that personal development is an essential part of your growth plan. Also shows your ability to motivate yourself.
  3. “My personal philosophy is…”
    Companies hire athletes – not shortstops. This line indicates your position as a thinker, not just an employee.
  4. “People who know my (me) best say that I’m…”
    This response offers insight into your own level of self-awareness.
  5. “Well, I goggled myself this morning, and here’s what I found…”
    Tech-savvy, fun, cool people would say this. Unexpected and memorable.
  6. “My passion is…”
    People don’t care what you do – people care who you are.
  7. “When I was seven years old, I always wanted to be…”
    An answer like this shows that you’ve been preparing for this job your whole life, not just the night before.
  8. “If Hollywood made a move about my life, it would be called…”
    Engaging, interesting and entertaining.
  9. “Can I show you, instead of tell you?”
    Then, pull something out of your pocket that represents who you are. Who could resist this answer? Who could forget this answer?
  10. “The compliment people give me most frequently is…”
    Almost like a testimonial, this response also indicates self-awareness and openness to feedback.