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September 8, 2021

How to Answer Tricky Interview Questions: "Tell Me About Yourself" – MT Minutes Video

Lucy Bishop

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In the latest from our Mind Tools Minutes video series on Getting a New Job, we're looking at how to answer some of the most tricky interview questions you'll likely be asked – starting with that age-old favorite, "Tell me about yourself."

This should be an easy one. After all, you know all about yourself, right? But this open-ended question can easily throw people. Where do you even start? Your first job? College? Birth?

Why Do Recruiters Ask These Tricky Interview Questions?

The recruiter hasn't asked you this question to throw you. Think of it as an "icebreaker." It's supposed to be an easy question that gets you both talking.

At the same time, be aware that what you say will likely inform the flow of conversation. There may well be follow-up questions to your answer. That's why it's important that you think of this question as an opportunity to focus on the highlights of your career so far – the key skills and achievements that you're most proud of and that have got you to where you are today.

Past, Present, Future

Another great way to tackle this tricky interview question is to frame your answer by talking about your past, present and future.

Start by talking about your current position. What do you currently do for a job? What skills have you gained from this role? What achievements have stood out? And what are you most proud of?

Then, talk about the skills you've gained from previous roles. Think, in particular, about the skills that the recruiter will be most interested in. A great tip is to scan through the job description and highlight the skills and experience they need that you have, before the interview.

Finish up by explaining how this role represents your next ideal career step. In other words, why do you want this job? What was it that made you apply for the role? And how does it tie in with your career so far? How will it get you onto the next rung of your career ladder?

Watch the Latest Episode of Mind Tools Minutes

If you want to discover more quick tips on how to answer tricky interview questions, head over to our YouTube channel to watch our brand new Mind Tools Minutes series on Getting a New Job.

From writing a cover letter and résumé, to prepping for a job interview, this seven-part series will provide you with everything you need when taking that next career step.

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