Can We Admit That “So Tell Me About Yourself? And “What Do You Do?” Are Some Of The Most Banal Interview Questions In Our Repertoire To Date? Let’s Change That.

“I do a lot of things and I my mind is a vast ocean, what exactly would you like to know?”

Chiara Atoyebi
Photo by Christina @ on Unsplash

The other day, I was in an interview, and everything was going well. There was a natural banter linking our commonalities like, “I like to wake up early and exercise. You do too? Great!” or “Oh wait, I like black coffee as well. No way!”


But I knew the conversation would eventually delve into the dreaded exploration of of—me. How do I feel, and how do I think I can bring a program to life?

Let me start by saying that interviewing well is a skill. I like to think of it as a long form of elevator pitch. While the elevator pitch is used for entrepreneurs and creators like me, it still is the same principle when interviewing.

“So Chiara, tell us about yourself?”

Almost immediately, I could feel my fingers tremble in my lap. My mind immediately says, isn’t that what we were doing when discussing my morning ritual? What more can I say?

It’s not like there was nothing I could say, but the reality is that the question is so general, and it leaves a lot open to interpretation, not only for the person answering the question, but for the person asking. Depending on when you are being asked, you may be tempted to divulge your passion for reading and Korean dramas when they really want to know how you can increase profit margins and bond with your colleagues.

In a way, stepping out of a natural repoire with anyone and directing them to have a conversation that can veer into the inauthentic positioning of “tell me about yourself.”

Legit Tips and Tricks From Dad

Hearing that question always brings my mind back to when my dad was coaching me on my first interview. Although I can’t divulge all of his tips (dad wanted me to use everything in the arsenal), I can confidently say that they still ring true today. His winning formula primarily centered around being self-effacing and ready to support members of an organization. I’m sure many people follow a similar plan of action, and you can’t go wrong with that.

Being able to” tell about yourself” requires being self-aware and finding an interesting way to talk about yourself that doesn’t make your eye twitch. (you know this can happen if you’re nervous!)

So, is the key to acing this question anticipating what the interviewer wants to hear based on how well you’ve researched their company? Or is it simply providing honest answers?

According to a 2022 study from Zippia on interview statistics, the average corporate jon attracts 250 applicants and only four to six individuals get called for the interview. Roughly 33% of interviewers decided if they want to hire a candidate within the first 90- seconds of an interview.

I always think you can’t go wrong with an honest answer. It’s easier to have meaningful responses and to pull from a deeper well of experiences and information when you’re being yourself.

But, if you are looking for some standard tips and tricks for answering this age-old question, here you go:

Focus on your strengths: Talk about your skills and abilities that make you a good fit for the job. Use specific examples to showcase your strengths and how they relate to the position you are applying for.

Share your experiences: Talk about your past experiences and how they have prepared you for this job. Discuss how you have learned and grown from these experiences.

Be honest about your weaknesses: It’s okay to talk about areas where you may struggle or need to improve. Be honest about these weaknesses, but also discuss how you are working to overcome them.

Show your passion: Discuss what motivates you and why you are interested in this particular job. Showing your passion for the position can demonstrate your commitment and enthusiasm.

Be yourself: Don’t try to be someone you’re not during the interview. Instead, be true to who you are and let your personality shine through. Authenticity is key to building a strong connection with the interviewer and showcasing your unique qualities.

If you feel your have more tips or comments. Leave me a message below. Thanks!


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