matt dodgson recording a video about how to answer the tell me about yourself interview question
Sep 6, 2018

How to answer the “Tell me about yourself interview question”

By Matt Dodgson

Co-Founder - Recruiter & Marketer

Further Reading; B2B Marketing Interview Questions – The Comprehensive Guide


If you’re someone who wants to answer the Tell me about yourself question better, then you’re not alone.

It’s a question that most people dread. Yet we all know it’s coming up.

Imagine this scenario.

You’ve done a ton of research into the company you’re interviewing for.

You’ve looked through the job description countless times.

And you know you can do every single thing they want.

And understandably, you’re perhaps feeling a bit nervous. Everybody does.

And then it comes.

Why don’t we start this interview by you Telling me a bit about yourself.

And you start talking and talking and talking. You’re trying to cover EVERYTHING.

But in reality achieving nothing.

Hey, look, I’ve been there! I know exactly how it feels and it’s not a pleasant experience at all.

Because before you know it, you know you’ve probably just gone and lost the B2B marketing  job that you really really want.

So….how can you answer the question better?

Well in this video I’m going to give you a 2 techniques, that you can use to knock this question out of the park.

You’ll feel super confident because you’ll know that your answer is exactly what the interviewer wants to hear.

Hello, if you’re here for the first time, I’m Matt Dodgson and I’m a Co-Founder of Market Recruitment.

And we help B2B marketers accelerate their careers, whether you’re looking for a new marketing job or looking to hire into your marketing team.

And while you’re here I’d recommend hitting the Subscribe button followed by the bell so you’re notified when our next video lands.

Right, so let’s get onto the 2 techniques.

And I’m going to start with the technique I least prefer out of the 2, and I’ll tell you why that is a bit later on.

So Tell me about yourself. It’s a horrible question. Because it’s so open ended. Does the company want to hear about you personally, your last job, what you’re good at…..

Where do you even start to answer this question.

And my first technique addresses this head on.

And I call it….the question the question technique. For obvious reasons. And it goes something like this.

Sure, I’d be delighted to tell you about myself. Where would you like me to start and how much detail would you like me to go into?

The great thing about this technique is that you’re asking for clarification. You’re basically saying, that question is a bit open ended, can you be a bit more specific? But in a polite way too. Your complying with the process.

And then once you’ve got a bit more clarification then you can talk the interviewer through exactly what they want to hear about.

So what’s the downside? Well the downside is that when you ask for clarification the interviewer simply pushes it back with something like, ‘well just give me an overview of your career’.

Which kind of puts you back to square one. It’s still too ambiguous.

So my preferred technique is this, and I call it the Take the Bull by the horns technique!

And it’s where you take control of the situation. The benefit being over technique 1 is that you can pre-prepare this answer and use it again and again.

So let me talk you through the thought process first and then I’m going to give you 3 steps to creating this answer.

Now if you think about it. At this very first stage the interviewer doesn’t care about you.

That’s right. They don’t care about your personal life, your family, they don’t care about your career or anything about you really.

And that may seem harsh, but in reality all they care about at this stage is solving THEIR problem. And you’re only there because you could be a solution to that problem.

Yes, once you’re an employee and this person is your manager then of course all that changes. You develop a relationship, you help each other out and they start to care about you, and likewise you start to care about them too.

So with that in mind, your answer needs to speak directly to their problem and how you are the solution to that.

So back to the question and technique 2.

Being in B2B marketing, you’ll have heard about the elevator pitch. And this is what you want to lead with at the very start of your answer to this question.

It could be something like this.

Absolutely, more than happy to tell you about myself. So overall throughout my career I’ve helped B2B companies with X.

And that X could be helping companies generate more leads through integrated marketing activities if you’re a generalist marketer.

It could be creating engaging content that generates inbound leads for the sales team if you’re a content specialist.

Or helping B2B companies get the most from their investment in their marketing technology solutions if you’re an automation guru.

I’m sure you get the idea. You basically want to hit them square in the eyes with the fact you can help them with the reason they’re hiring for the role in the first place.

The 2nd part is to give them a brief overview of your career. And you want to place less emphasis on your early career versus what you’ve been doing recently.

So it could be something like this;

After graduating in marketing I had a 2 or 3 roles at a junior level for tech companies where I started to build my knowledge and understanding of B2B marketing. Then I probably got my first solid role with SAP who I was with for 4 years. During my time there I was responsible for marketing their ERP solution into various verticals, and I ended up improving their pipeline by 44% YOY by introducing automation and lead scoring. At that stage I was itching to get a bit more autonomy so I moved into a start up in the FinTech space. At Monzo I took their marketing from a blank canvass and built a team of 4, and was instrumental in growing the business from £1m to £50m.

And as you can see I’ve talked about my experience but littered it with some achievements. The key isn’t to go on for too long. If you’re quite experienced then really keep the majority of your early career to a sentence and focus on your last 2 roles.

The final stage to the answer is to give them some idea about what you want to do next, and perhaps fire back a question to them if you’re feeling brave. An interview should be a 2 way process after all.

And of course what you want HAS to tie in to what they’re offering.

So it could be something like this;

And throughout my career I’ve realised I love those roles where there’s a balance between strategy and rolling my sleeves up and getting the work out. I really enjoy working with sales teams and creating pipeline for them, and I can also help companies use automation to help nurture leads better, so I’m now looking for a role that gives me those things and the ability to make a tangible difference to them.

And if you’re brave, you could fire back a question. ‘So how do you feel the brief overview I’ve given you broadly fits with the person you’re searching for?’

By asking this question you start to get them thinking about you in the role and also open up a deeper conversation about the role itself.

So if you’ve found this video helpful, please hit the thumbs up button.

The more engagement we get…. the more we can invest in further videos. And likewise if you have a comment, perhaps a different view on answering this question or perhaps a specific thing you’re struggling with right now, please leave a comment and I’ll personally answer it for you.

So to summarise, this is a real banana skin of a question. But preperation is key as 9 times out of 10 you WILL get asked it.

Either question the question to reduce the ambiguity, or take the bull by the horns and follow technique 2, making sure you talk about how YOU can solve their problem.

And finally if you haven’t already, please subscribe to this channel and hit the bell so you get notified when our next video lands.

Good luck and speak soon.