How to Answer “Tell Me Something Interesting About Yourself” Plus Examples
There are many dreaded questions in an interview — where do you see yourself in five years’ time? 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 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 Do You Answer “Tell Me Something Interesting About Yourself?”
Interviewers ask “tell me something interesting about yourself” to get a conversation going. They do want to hear something interesting, but they also want to learn about how that thing, or how you talk about that thing, makes you a good candidate for the job.
1. Tell a Story
Your interesting fact may be that you trained to be a scuba diving instructor. But don’t just state that fact and move on.
Tell a story about it. Did you spend three months on a tiny island in Indonesia? Did you help everyone from kids to retirees overcome their fear of sharks? Did it spark your love of the ocean and inspire a career as a marine biologist?
If you’re talking about an experience you had, share what happened and how it changed you.
If you’re talking about a hobby or a hidden talent, talk about how you got into it or got better at it over time.
Even if your interesting fact isn’t that interesting, if you talk about it with confidence and show communication skills, you could still score points with the interviewer.
After all, this isn’t actually a competition for who has the most interesting fact.
2. Relate it to the Job
The interviewer may well find your fact 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 that 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, which you don’t actually know a word of.
4. Add Personality
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.
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.
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.
It’s a long shot, but this research shouldn’t take you too long and it may pay dividends.
You might find 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.
Just be sure it’s truthful.
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.
What Are Examples of Interesting Things About Yourself?
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
- Your biggest achievement outside of work
- A unique life experience
- A hidden talent
- A unique experience you had at work
- A unique experience you had outside of work
- An interesting place you’ve traveled to
- Something interesting that happened to you while traveling
- A weird job you had
- Your biggest fear and a funny time you faced it
- What got you interesting in the field you work in
- Where you’re from
- Where you grew up
- An embarrassing story
- A competition or award you won
- A passion project
- Volunteer projects you do
- A time you raised money for charity (bonus points if it was doing something silly)
- A goal you set for yourself (and either how you achieved it or how you’re working towards it)
“Tell Me Something Interesting About Yourself” Examples
Here are some example answers to the dreaded question to get your own ideas flowing.
- “I worked as a scuba diving instructor to fund my travels around Southeast Asia, but I found I was spending more time looking at marine life than at my students. It was there, 30 meters below the surface, that I realized I wanted to work in marine research. I still scuba dive from time to time, but now it’s just for fun.”
- “I did an ancestry test and found out my great grandfather was from Iceland. I visited, rented a van, drove all over the island, and fell in love with the country. And now I’m learning Icelandic. It’s said to be one of the hardest languages to learn — and so far, I believe it!”
- “I grew up on a houseboat. For five years, my family sailed through the canals of Germany, France, and the Netherlands. Four of us lived in a tiny 15-meter-long boat and I had to learn how to open a lock by myself at age 10. While I prefer to live on dry land these days, sailing through all those countries is what inspired my interest in working with international teams.”
- “I entered a robotics competition aged 15 and came dead last. But even though my robot didn’t win me any prizes, it did spark an interest in tech, which led me to my career as a web developer now.”
- “Although I now work as a copywriter, I’ve dabbled in ghostwriting in my time. Most of my work was for CEOs and thought leaders, but I once wrote for a famous celebrity.”
- “I go rock-climbing twice a week, but I’m incredibly afraid of heights. I’ve tried everything to get over this fear: coaching, better equipment, regular exposure. But no matter what I try, I still find myself at the top of that climbing wall with wobbly legs and a stomach in knots. Yet, I still keep going. It sounds like torture, I know, but I think feeling that irrational fear every week helps me in my work as a therapist. I can relate better to my patients who are working to get over their own fears.”
- “You know how there’s always that one kid who sells candy at the back of the classroom? That was me. I bought it from the store just outside the school before class and sold it at a 20% markup. I even hired other students and expanded my candy-selling empire to other classrooms. I was eventually caught and had to shut down the entire operation, but it was fun while it lasted. I guess you could say I was destined to work in sales from a young age.”
- “I started a blog when I was 13. It wasn’t very interesting at first. I spoke about what happened at school, how I wanted to decorate my room, and what I was hoping to get for my birthday. But I kept blogging every week for ten years — all through my teenage years and throughout university — until I finally shut it down last month. Now, I’m excited to keep writing every week, but now for a publication on topics a little more interesting for readers.”
- “When I was walking across the campus at a college open day, a frisbee went speeding past my face, almost taking my glasses off. I saw a group of people playing a sport I’d never seen before. When I got a place at the college, I knew I had to find those people again. It turns out it was the ultimate frisbee team. I joined the team, trained hard, and even became the captain in my final year. When I first moved to Valencia, I couldn’t find a local team, so I set one up. We’re training for our first tournament next summer.”
- “I once drove a tuk-tuk from the north of India all the way to the south. We broke down several times and got lost a fair amount, too. But it was a wild ride. I would try to relate how the skills I learned on the road prepared me for a career in HR — but really, I just had a great time and it’s my proudest achievement in my personal life.”
The “tell me something interesting about yourself” question can be a daunting one, especially if you’re not prepared for it. Before your interview, spend some time brainstorming interesting experiences you’ve had and go through your hobbies, skills, and work history, looking for something that will help you stand out. And if all else fails, share a cute picture of your pet!