How to answer 'Tell me about yourself' interview question!

Posted in: Advice, Interviews, Tips & Hints

You are bound to have an interview as part of your placement or graduate job search, interviews come in all shapes and sizes – from an informal chat over a coffee to pre-designed questions seeking to uncover strengths, competencies and motivations. The word on the street is, 1 in 4 interview questions is predictable; with typical interview questions falling into the following categories:

  • Biographical
  • Motivation
  • Competency
  • Brain Teasers /Technical

This week, we are going to share with you our top tips and advice to answer typical interview questions starting with Biographical questions. These types of questions are also called ‘un-structured’ questions and they typically come up at the start of an interview. Most employers don’t have a specific aim in mind, other than getting an overall impression of you as an individual. Questions are fairly open ended, such as:

·         Tell me about yourself?

·         Tell me about your education to date?

·          What can you offer our company?



Below are two examples of answers to the question “Tell me about yourself”. If you were the interviewer, which candidate's answer would you score better?

Candidate A

“I am a 2nd year student at Bath, I have 10 GCSE’s and four A-Levels. I did Maths where I got an A*, Biology where I got an A, Chemistry where I got a B and Computer Science where I got an A. I decided to study Computer Science at Bath and I am really enjoying it. I have had good grades for my modules and I also work part time in Fresh. I think this placement is really interesting so, yeah here I am”

Candidate B

“I am a 2nd year Computer Science student at Bath. I have an excellent academic record and am averaging 70% in my first year. I have a good grounding in the theory and practice of programming and am currently working on a group project to design an interactive App. I have excellent Java and C skills and have taught myself Python in my spare time. Outside of lectures, I work in Fresh which is an on-campus supermarket, it is a busy and fast paced environment. I have developed my confidence in dealing with a wide range of customers. This placement sounds really interesting, and I would love the opportunity to work with other programmers and to learn from their experience. I noticed that there is an opportunity to write code in Java which I am really interested in”

How to answer Biographical Questions.

1.       Impose a structure, treat the question like an essay so ensure you have a beginning, middle and an end.

2.       Select information, experience and skills from your CV that are most relevant to the job.

3.       Biographical questions are all about making the right first impression! So make sure you are smiling, sitting straight and are making good eye contact.

Check in tomorrow for our tips on how to answer Motivation Questions. And remember, we can help in careers by offering you a practice interview.


Posted in: Advice, Interviews, Tips & Hints


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