Interviewers – Stop asking Tell me about yourself

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Interviewers – don’t start your interview by asking candidates the worst interview question ever – Tell Me About Yourself

The worst interview question ever?

I was on an interview panel recently when the first question the candidate was asked (not by me) was “Can you tell me about yourself?”

Eager to oblige, the candidate started talking…and talking…and talking. Three minutes 45 seconds later, after an unfocused waffle-fest, we knew a lot about their:

😖 Family
😖 Hobbies
🐶 Dog

And very little about what they can contribute to the role .

The candidate had no idea how to handle the open-ended nature of the question. They had even volunteered information on areas that it is illegal to ask about at an interview. Tricky territory for an interviewer.

Interviewers like to ask a general question to ease the candidate into the interview rather than throwing them in at the deep end. But Tell Me About Yourself is the worst interview question ever to start with.

Help your interview candidates by asking an opening question that is:

✅ Easy for them to understand what you actually want to know
✅ Clear how long you want them to talk for

How about…..

“Can you spend the first two minutes of this interview summarising two or three ways your career experience will be of benefit to you in this role?”

If you have other suggestions for an alternative opening question to Tell Me About Yourself that has worked well for you when interviewing candidates please let us know.

Contact us to discuss how we can help you design your interview process to ensure you are asking good questions to hire great people.