If you feel nervous about your upcoming job interview, you’re not alone. Ninety-three percent of candidates report feeling anxiety around their interviews.
The more you prepare for your interview, the better you’ll feel and the easier it’ll be for you to make a good impression. Start working on your personal elevator pitch now so you’ll know how to answer “tell me about yourself” (which is the most common question hiring managers ask) with confidence.
Read on to learn about some of the best responses you can give to the most common interview questions.
How Do You Answer, “Tell Me About Yourself”?
If you’re not sure how to answer “tell me about yourself,” listed below are some “tell me about yourself” question and answer examples, divided up by applicant type:
Student (High School/College)
1. “I’m a student at [insert high school] where I currently serve as class treasurer. I manage the junior class budget and am good with finances, so I think I’d make an excellent cashier.”
This student is highlighting their volunteer work and school participation to illustrate why they’re a good fit for the job when they’re asked the “tell me about yourself” interview question.
2. “I’m a student at [insert high school] and am currently president of the dance team. I’m in charge of scheduling rehearsals and making sure everyone is prepared for competitions, and I believe these skills would make me a great assistant teacher at your dance studio.”
This student is explaining how their current responsibilities would help them do the job well. They’re also showing that they have direct experience.
3. “I’m a sophomore at [insert college] where I study English. My classes have taught me a lot about proper grammar and spelling, and I think this knowledge would make me a great junior editor for your website.”
This student is explaining their education and showing how it’s relevant to the job for which they’re applying.
4. “I’m a senior at [insert college], and I’ve spent the last 3 years tutoring with my school’s ESL classes. This has taught me a lot about the English language and would make me an effective editor for your magazine.”
This is a unique answer and highlights experience that other candidates might not have, which helps them stand out.
5. “I’m a junior at [insert college] where I’m working on a degree in graphic design. I’ve gained a lot of experience with Photoshop and Illustrator over the last 2 years and can use those skills as a design intern at your company.”
This applicant is highlighting specific skills and explaining the experience they’ve gained in great detail.
1. “I just graduated from [insert college] with a bachelor’s degree in nursing. I spent a lot of time in hospitals as a child and the nurses were always so kind; they inspired me to pursue nursing myself.”
This applicant is highlighting their degree and making their response personal to stand out.
2. “I recently graduated from [insert college] with a bachelor’s degree in English. I’m passionate about literature and would love to work in a library to share that passion with others.”
This applicant is sharing their enthusiasm and showing how their college education would help them help others.
3. “I just graduated from [insert college] with a bachelor’s degree in economics. I’ve always been interested in money and finance, and this job would help me explore a new side of the financial world.”
This person is sharing their interest and explaining why they want this specific position.
4. “I just graduated from [insert college] with a master’s degree in business. I also recently completed an internship at [insert business name] and would love to use the skills I’ve learned to help you expand your company.”
This person is showcasing their experience and sharing with the interviewer that they want to be an asset to the company.
5. “I recently graduated from [insert college] with a master’s degree in public health. I’m passionate about health education and would love to work with your company to bring more accessible healthcare to underserved areas.”
This person shows that they understand what the company does while also explaining how their education would support the company’s mission.
1. “I recently graduated from [insert college] with a bachelor’s degree in marketing. I’d love to learn more about digital marketing from a major company like yours.”
This person is sharing their experience and pointing out their excitement to learn and grow.
2. “I just graduated from [insert college] with an associate’s degree in business. I’m interested in learning more about the accounting field, specifically, and I think this position at your bank would help with that.”
This applicant is sharing why they’re interested in a specific position and showing that they’re eager to gain more experience.
3. “I recently graduated from [insert school] with my CNA license. I want to gain more experience in the medical field before I pursue additional training, so I’d like to work at your clinic as a CNA.”
This person is clearly citing their credentials and explaining why they want this specific position.
4. “I love meeting new people and making them feel welcome, so I think I’d be a great front desk receptionist for your office.”
This applicant is sharing which position they’re applying for and why they think they’d be a good fit for it.
5. “I’m very organized and detail-oriented, and I never have trouble meeting deadlines, so I think I’d make a great personal assistant.”
This person is listing the skills and traits that would make them a good personal assistant, to highlight why they’re a great fit.
1. “I’ve spent the last 3 years working as a graphic designer at [insert company]. I’ve managed several major projects and have overseen other designers to help them get the job done. I’m ready to take my skills to a larger firm like yours.”
This candidate is sharing their work experience and detailing their responsibilities, while also explaining why they’re looking for a new job.
2. “Over the last 5 years, I’ve worked as a receptionist at [insert company]. I’m extremely organized and handle meetings and scheduling for a team of 5. Now, I’m ready to expand my skill set and take on more responsibility as a senior administrative assistant at your firm.”
This person is sharing their day-to-day responsibilities, as well as why they want to spread their wings in a new position.
3. “I’ve spent the last 10 years working my way up the ladder at [insert company]. I started as a marketing intern and am now a senior marketing strategist. I’d like to share what I’ve learned to help your company grow as head of the marketing department.”
This candidate is explaining their experience and demonstrating their willingness to work with a company long-term.
This person is highlighting their work history and explaining the specific skills they’ve developed.
5. “I currently work as the assistant night manager at [insert store], where I oversee a team of 30 people. I’ve learned a lot about keeping team members motivated and on-task, and I’m eager to join your team as head daytime manager.”
This person is focusing on their past job experience while sharing some specific skills they’ve developed since taking on the job.
Career changers may feel intimidated when trying to figure out how to answer “tell me about yourself” during a job interview. Consider using one of these answers as a jumping-off point:
1. “I’ve spent the last 5 years working as a nurse. I’m eager to use my medical knowledge to help you expand your medical non-profit.”
This person is explaining how their current skills will apply to this new position in a different field.
2. “For the last 10 years, I’ve worked as a marketing manager at [insert company]. I’m a great communicator and passionate about problem-solving and would love to use these skills as a salesperson on your team.”
This person is also showing how their past experiences would help them pivot into a new career path.
3. “I’m currently employed as an account executive, where I oversee marketing for 3 major healthcare companies. I’d like to dive deeper into just 1 brand, which is why I’m applying for the marketing manager position at your company.”
This candidate is explaining why they’re switching jobs and also highlighting the experience they’ve gained.
4. “I’ve spent the last 3 years working as a copywriter at [insert company]. I’ve learned a lot about writing promotional materials, but I think I’m better suited to face-to-face communication and am eager to try my hand at sales instead.”
This applicant is sharing their experience and explaining why they want to make a career shift.
5. “After working as a personal trainer for 10 years, I realized that I’m most passionate about helping my clients recover from injuries, so I went back to school to become a physical therapist assistant and would love to work at your practice.”
This person is sharing their past experience, explaining why they want to change careers, and highlighting the steps they’ve taken to become qualified.
How Do You Answer, “What Are Your Strengths”?
In addition to knowing how to answer “tell me about yourself” and feeling comfortable with the “tell me about yourself” question and answer examples listed above, you should also know how to answer the question, “What are your strengths?”
Here are some ideas:
1. “I’m very detail-oriented, which I know is important for an administrative assistant.”
This person is sharing a strength and pointing out how it qualifies them for the job.
2. “I love meeting new people, so I’ll always greet guests at the front desk with enthusiasm.”
This candidate is sharing how they’ll use a specific strength in their new job.
3. “I’m great at staying organized and managing my time; you’ll never have to worry about me missing deadlines.”
This person is explaining important soft skills and how they make them valuable to the team.
4. “I can put myself in others’ shoes easily, which helps me create marketing materials geared toward specific audiences.
This is a unique and detailed answer that will help this candidate stand out.
5. “I’m great at written communication, so I can handle customer service emails and messages easily.”
This candidate is pointing out how they’ll use their strengths to better serve the company’s customers.
How Do You Answer, “What Are Your Weaknesses”?
The following are 5 examples of appropriate answers to the question “What are your weaknesses?”
1. “I sometimes focus too much on smaller details, but I’ve been working on taking a step back to look at the bigger picture.”
This person is acknowledging a weakness and explaining how they’re working to improve it.
2. “I sometimes overthink things and spend too much time fussing over projects. I’m working on setting firm deadlines so that I’m less tempted to make major changes at the last minute.”
This person is explaining a weakness that can also be a strength, while acknowledging the ways that they’re trying to improve.
3. “I don’t have as much experience as I’d like in [insert specific area]. I hope to take classes in the future to expand my knowledge.”
This person owns up to not having a lot of experience, which shows honesty. They’re also outlining steps they can take to address the problem.
4. “I sometimes have trouble speaking up in group meetings, even when I have a good idea. I’ve started setting a goal to share one thought or observation during each meeting.”
This response shows humility and that the candidate is willing to take responsibility for their shortcomings by setting goals.
5. “I sometimes have trouble asking for help. I’ve learned that delegating can make projects run smoother and often leads to a better end-result, though.”
This candidate is acknowledging their weakness and sharing what they’ve learned, which shows they can be self-reflective.
How Do You Answer, “What Are Your Career Goals?”
It’s common for a question like “What are your career goals?” to come up during an interview. Just like we did with the “tell me about yourself” sample answer list above, we’re sharing 5 ways you can answer this question:
1. “I want to gain experience as a sales representative so that I can one day take on more responsibility as a sales manager.”
This answer shows ambition and explains that the candidate wants to continue working in the sales field long-term.
2. “I want to continue developing my marketing and advertising skills so that I can help a startup like yours grow into a larger company with a bigger reach.”
This answer shows a commitment to helping the company grow.
3. “I currently have my RN certification and am working toward becoming a nurse practitioner. I’d like to gain experience in a hospital while pursuing that certification.”
This answer shows a dedication to continuing education.
4. “Now that I’ve earned my degree in finance, I’m eager to learn more about the accounting field, specifically. This entry-level position will help me decide whether I want to pursue a career as an accountant in the future.”
This response shows a commitment to growth, which indicates that the candidate will be an engaged participant in the company.
5. “As a retail manager, I love supporting other employees and motivating them to do their best. It’s my goal to be a mentor and help others rise through the ranks at this company.”
This answer shows that the candidate is passionate but not just in it for themselves.
How Do You Answer, “Where Do You See Yourself After 5 Years?”
A lot of people freeze up when they’re asked, “Where do you see yourself after 5 years?” If you have a feeling this will happen to you, consider giving a version of one of these 5 answers.
Just like reading through the “tell me about yourself” sample answer list can help you feel more prepared, so can this list of potential responses:
1. “In 5 years, I see myself as a sales manager mentoring other new sales reps.”
This answer shows a commitment to growth and a desire to lead.
2. “In 5 years, I see myself working as a nurse practitioner in my own private practice.”
This shows that the candidate is eager to work hard and gain as much experience as possible.
3. “In 5 years, I see myself using my skills as a digital marketing strategist to lead my own marketing projects and help this company grow into a household name.”
This response shows ambition and reiterates the candidate’s skills.
4. “In 5 years, I hope to have developed my leadership skills and overseen several marketing campaigns at your company.”
The candidate acknowledges they have room for growth, but they also demonstrate an eagerness to learn.
5. “In 5 years, I hope to have demonstrated my value as a web developer and worked my way up to a senior position on the development team.”
This answer shows that the candidate is willing to work hard. It also shows the hiring manager why it’s worth it to take a chance on them.
How Do You Answer, “What Is Your Salary Expectation?”
Like the “tell me about yourself” interview question, a lot of people feel awkward when asked what they expected to be paid. Here are 5 examples responses:
1. “I understand the average salary for this role is $X-$Y.”
This answer shows you’ve done your research and know what’s fair. It also shows you’re flexible and open to negotiation.
2. “Based on my research, I think a salary of $X is fair.”
This answer shows that you’ve done your homework and makes it clear you expect a fair salary.
3. “Based on my knowledge of the industry standard, I’m willing to accept a salary range of $X-$Y.”
This answer shows that you already know the industry standard, but it makes it clear that you’re flexible, too.
4. “What is the approximate salary range you’re offering?”
This answer puts the question back on the interviewer. It gives you a more specific idea of how much the company is willing to pay.
5. “I’m open to being flexible. I’m more interested in the future opportunities this role presents than the specific compensation.”
This response is a bit of a gamble. If you really are more interested in the job than earning a specific salary, it can be a good answer.
At this point, you should have a much easier time deciding how to answer “tell me about yourself” and other common job interview questions.
Keep the tips outlined above in mind so you can walk into your interview with confidence. Remember, the more you prepare, the easier your interview will be and the less anxious you’ll feel.
Are you ready to start landing interviews? Check out our job search tool today to begin your journey!