Manage Your Time During the “Tell Me About Yourself” Question

Most interviews start with some version of the “Tell me about yourself” question. And most candidates respond to that question by describing their education and work history from oldest to most recent—which they should.

Overall, you should take about ten minutes for this question. Even if you have a lengthy work history, ten minutes is ample time to review your background and highlight those areas of your work history that are relevant to the job you are being interviewed for.

Where candidates often go off the rails is by spending too much time on older experience and not enough time on most recent experience.

Most employers will have little (or no) interest in what you did 15 or 20 years ago. You might mention it in passing to explain a career move but do not dwell on it. Doing so will set the interview off on the wrong foot and put you behind timewise.

Instead focus on what you have done in recent years and describe those experiences and successes that mostly closely relate to the job for which you are applying. Go deeper than the words that are written on your resume and you will have started the interview off on the right foot.