Interview Questions

How to answer: Tell me about yourself

Tips for navigating this predictable but tricky question!

6 minutes read

The most common interview question in the world

Today, we'll tackle one of the most common and yet, often misunderstood, interview questions: "Tell me about yourself?" While many job seekers perceive this question as an opportunity to sell themselves, I'd like to shift the focus toward building rapport with your interviewer. So, let's dive into the art of building rapport during interviews and how to handle this question effectively.

1) Understand the Purpose

When interviewers ask, "Tell me about yourself," they aren't expecting a comprehensive life story or a regurgitation of your resume. Instead, they are seeking to understand who you are as a person and whether you'll be a good fit within their organization. This is an opportunity to build rapport and establish a connection by sharing relevant aspects of your personal and professional journey.

2) Craft a Compelling Narrative

Begin by creating a concise yet compelling narrative that highlights key experiences, skills, and values. Think of it as a well-structured story that showcases your journey in a relatable and memorable way. Start with a brief introduction, touch upon pivotal moments in your career, and conclude with your aspirations and how they align with the company's mission.

Here's an example of a compelling narrative crafted for a job seeker using Whiz: 

"I'd like to take you on a journey through my professional life that has shaped me into the passionate individual I am today. It all began when I started working as a graphic designer for a small startup. I was captivated by the ability to translate ideas into visually appealing designs that resonated with audiences. As I honed my skills, I transitioned into a leadership role where I spearheaded a rebranding campaign for a well-established company. This experience allowed me to not only flex my creative muscles but also develop strong project management and communication skills. Now, as I embark on this new opportunity, I'm eager to bring my unique blend of creativity, leadership, and strategic thinking to make a significant impact within your organization."

3) Connect Through Shared Values

During interviews, connecting on a deeper level is often crucial in building rapport. Research the company's mission, values, and culture beforehand. As you share your story, make a genuine effort to highlight experiences or values that resonate with the organization's ethos. By doing so, you demonstrate your understanding of the company's core principles and show your potential as a cultural fit.

An example from a job seeker using Whiz: 

"When I researched your company, I was inspired by your commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship. This deeply resonated with me because throughout my career, I have actively sought opportunities to make a positive impact on the world around me. In my previous role as a product manager, I initiated an eco-friendly packaging initiative that reduced waste by 30%. This experience taught me the importance of aligning personal values with the organization's mission. It would be an honor for me to join a team that shares my passion for sustainability and collectively work towards creating a greener future."

4) Talk About Your Favorites

As you share your professional journey during the interview, focus on highlighting the favorite aspects of each role you've held. This not only demonstrates your passion for your work but also allows the interviewer to see the genuine enjoyment you derive from specific tasks or responsibilities.

An example from a job seeker using Whiz: 

"In each of my previous roles, I've had the opportunity to experience different aspects that I genuinely enjoyed. For instance, when I worked as a customer service representative at CarMax, my favorite part was engaging with customers and finding solutions to their problems. I thrived on the satisfaction of turning a frustrated customer into a delighted one. It taught me the importance of empathy, active listening, and problem-solving skills. In my subsequent role as a project manager at Cisco, I discovered a passion for leading cross-functional teams. I loved the dynamic nature of the role, collaborating with diverse individuals to accomplish shared goals. The sense of achievement that came from successfully guiding a project from inception to completion was truly rewarding. And finally, as I moved into my current role as Senior Project Manager at IBM, my favorite part was building relationships with clients and understanding their unique needs. I enjoyed the thrill of identifying opportunities, negotiating deals, and fostering long-term partnerships. It allowed me to utilize my interpersonal skills and strategic thinking to drive growth for both the clients and the company.


Remember, building rapport is about forging a connection, not just selling yourself. By approaching the "Tell me about yourself" question with authenticity, a compelling narrative, and a genuine interest in the company, you can set the stage for a meaningful conversation. Showcasing your values, sharing your enthusiasm, and engaging with the interviewer will help you stand out from the competition. So, go forth, and crush your interviews by building rapport that leaves a lasting impression. Good luck!