Answering “Tell Me Something Interesting About Yourself”: Expert Tips and Examples
There are many dreaded questions in an interview — “Where do you see yourself in five years? Why do you want this job? Tell me about a time you made a mistake.” But one of the questions that sparks the most anxiety is, “Tell me something interesting about yourself.”
You could literally say anything in response, and that’s part of the reason it’s so tricky to answer. This question is completely open-ended, and it’s easy to give a boring or forgettable answer — or worse, something inappropriate.
Below, we’ll dive into how you can best answer this question and give you examples of the best things to say.
How to Answer “Tell Me Something Interesting About Yourself?”
Interviewers commonly use this query to kick-start conversations. Their aim? To uncover intriguing tidbits while evaluating how these details— and your presentation —align with the role in question. They do want to hear something interesting, but they also want to learn how that thing, or how you talk about it, makes you a good candidate for the job.
1. Tell a Story
Not just facts. Let’s say you’re a scuba enthusiast. Share about that thrilling time on an exotic Indonesian island. Helped a group conquer their shark fears? Paint that picture! Whether it’s a quirky hobby or a life-changing trip, your delivery counts. Confidence is key here; it’s not about the “most interesting” story but how you tell it.
After all, this isn’t a competition for who has the most interesting story. It’s a way for the interviewers to get to know you better and learn about you as a person, too.
Sharing a personal anecdote captivates the listener’s attention and provides a glimpse into your character and experiences. This technique aligns perfectly with the principles highlighted in the collection, “The Art of Storytelling.” This collection delves into the power of narratives to engage and inspire others, emphasizing the importance of structure, emotion, and relatability. By mastering the art of storytelling, you can craft a compelling response that effectively communicates your unique qualities and leaves a lasting impression on your audience.
2. Relate it to the Job
The interviewer may find your facts interesting, but don’t forget you’re still in an interview. Think about things you can share that show you in a good light for the job.
This could be something that shows you’ve honed the skills you need for the role, like leadership or problem-solving, or perhaps an experience in something that will help you shine at the company.
- If you’re applying for a graphic design role, talk about how you won a competition to design promotional posters for a musician’s tour.
- If you’re applying for a teaching job, talk about the time you taught English to kids in Columbia.
- If you’re applying for a job in nutrition, talk about how you do ultramarathons and get obsessed with getting your food just right.
- If you’re applying for a PR role, talk about how you organized events to raise money for a charity.
Even if your fun fact doesn’t relate to the job in any way, see if you can share it in a way that shows your skills or personality traits that suit that job or company.
For example, have you done something that shows you’re quick at learning new things, you can communicate well with teams, or you come up with creative ideas.
3. Be Honest
While it can be tempting to make up a story or skill to make yourself sound more impressive, stick to the truth.
Your interviewer may be able to tell you’re lying, and that will reflect even worse on you as a candidate than a boring story will.
Plus, even if they believe you, it’s bad karma. You may be asked a follow-up question or be asked to tell the story again at a later date (think at the office Christmas party if you get the job) and struggle to remember which made-up details you shared.
Or worse, you may say you speak Mandarin, only for your interviewer to switch excitedly into the language of which you don’t actually know a word. So, when you answer the question, tell us something interesting about you. Be honest!
4. Add Personality When You Answer Something Interesting About Yourself
While you want to remain professional — so avoid stories of what you’ve done while drunk — don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through in this question.
You want to show your interviewer how you’d fit in with the company culture and that you’re an interesting and fun person to work with if you can make them laugh, even better.
The book “60 Seconds & You’re Hired!” by Robin Ryan emphasizes the significance of personalizing your answers during job interviews. It teaches strategies to capture employers’ attention swiftly and effectively, highlighting the importance of showcasing your true self. Whether through an intriguing hobby, a fascinating life experience, or a memorable achievement, adding personality to your response will leave a lasting impression on your interviewer, setting you apart from the competition.
60 Seconds & You’re Hired!
60 Seconds & You’re Hired!
- 12 min reading time
- audio version available
5. Pick Something Unique
When brainstorming what interesting facts you could share, try to think of something more unusual. This is your chance to stand out from the sea of other candidates.
You may think your law degree is an interesting fact (it is! go you!), but when applying for a legal job, every other candidate will have a similar degree.
Now’s the time to go off your resume and share a unique hobby, skill, or experience that will hopefully stick in the interviewer’s mind.
And as a little side note, if you find the right topics to discuss, you can apply them when you are asked to tell something interesting about yourself on a date as well.
6. Do Some Snooping
If you know who your interviewer will be ahead of time, look them up online. Find their LinkedIn or bio on the company website and see if you have anything in common. But be careful before you connect with them on LinkedIn. You have to play your cards right.
When you find your interviewer online, you might also find that you
- Went to the same university
- Play the same sport
- Grew up in the same area
- Have the same breed of dog
- Lived in the same city at one point
If you find something you have in common, find a way to include this in your answer.
If, for example, you find out the interviewer plays ultimate Frisbee, and you play in an ultimate Frisbee tournament each summer, choose that as your interesting fact over any other ideas you have.
Interestingly, these commonalities can also assist in answering the question, “What accomplishment are you most proud of?”. There’s a possibility that both of you have a passion for similar thrilling sports or align on life goals. If you need more guidance on this, our detailed guide offers valuable insights and real-life samples to guide your response.
How Not to Answer “Tell Me Something Interesting About Yourself”
Now you know how to answer the question, let’s cover a few things you shouldn’t talk about:
- Serious mistakes you made — especially professional mistakes
- Crimes you’ve committed
- Things you’ve done while drunk
- Times you were a bad friend/person
- Information that’s too personal
- Explicit information
- Saying “nothing” — what you may think of as a boring fact may be interesting to others. Besides, saying “nothing” won’t look good. Sharing a skill or funny story is much better, even if it’s not as interesting as you wish it was.
Navigating job interviews is tricky. But, with the right preparation, you can sail through them with confidence. Want to be fully prepared? Dive into the “Interview Ready in 5 Steps” guide on Blinkist. Curated by the experts at Blinkist, this guide offers invaluable tips:
- Let the internet be your ally.
- Make yourself memorable.
- The more you practice, the better you get.
- Master the art of asking insightful questions.
- Nail the negotiation.
- Plan for the future: What’s next?
Equip yourself with these strategies and face that interview with confidence!
What Are Topics to Share About Yourself in an Interview?
When you’re brainstorming ideas for how to answer this question, think about your career, your hobbies, and any stand-out moments in your life.
You can even ask friends or family members what they think the most interesting or unusual thing about you is. This may spark some ideas.
You could talk about:
- An interesting hobby
- A less common instrument you play
- A weird sport you practice
- An interesting language you’re learning
- Your biggest achievement at work or outside of work
- A hidden talent
- A weird job you had
- Your biggest fear and a funny time you faced it
- What got you interested in the field you work in
- Where did you grow up
- A competition or award you won
- A passion project
- Volunteer projects you do
Top 10 “Tell Me Something Interesting About Yourself” Examples
Searching for some inspiration to tackle the challenging “tell me something interesting about you” prompt? Here’s a splash of inspiration:
- “I once worked as a scuba instructor in Southeast Asia. More often than not, I was enchanted by marine life rather than monitoring my students. It was during one of these dives, amidst the vibrant corals, that I found my passion for marine research.”
- “I took an ancestry test, and boom, it turns out I have Icelandic roots! I explored Iceland in a van, got smitten by its beauty, and now I’m grappling with the complex Icelandic language.”
- “Ever lived on a houseboat? I did for five years! Navigating the scenic canals of Europe, I mastered the art of handling locks by age 10. That aquatic adventure fueled my love for working with diverse international groups.”
- “At 15, I built a robot for a competition. I won no awards, but it lit the tech fire in me. Today, I’m a proud web developer.”
- “While I’m now a copywriter, there’s a fun twist in my past: I was a ghostwriter, even penning words for a celebrity!”
- “Rock-climbing is my jam, but here’s the catch – I’m terrified of heights. Confronting this fear weekly, I believe, enhances my empathy as a therapist.”
- “Remember the classroom candy dealer in school? Yep, that was me! A tiny venture that hinted at my future sales calling.”
- “I began a blog at 13, chronicling my teen years. A decade later, I’ve hung up my personal blogging hat, excited to write for a broader audience.”
- “A rogue Frisbee at college introduced me to ultimate Frisbee. I even started a team in Valencia, and we’re prepping for our debut tournament!”
- “I took a tuk-tuk, traveling from India’s tip to toe. The journey was wild and unpredictable, and while I’d love to tie it to my HR role, it’s just a personal thrill I cherish.”
When the “tell me something interesting about you” challenge comes your way, reflect on your unique adventures, hobbies, and milestones. And if all else fails, share a cute picture of your pet.
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