Careers at The Resource Group | Answering "Tell Me About Yourself?"

Yassir Janah & Kelton Redpath

Interviews can be tough and when actively searching for a job the pressure can increase exponentially, especially when it comes to making the best first impression. In this Life at The Resource Group post, Yassir and Kelton will break down one of the most difficult interview questions, 'tell us about yourself', and provide insights into what they look for in candidate responses. 
Yassir Janah

Senior Manager, Surgical Support Services

As a hiring manager, why do you ask the question 'Tell me about yourself'?

I want to know about the candidate as a person first. I review their resume prior to the interview and use it specifically for experience and work related questions. For me, I want to understand what the candidate cares about so I can tell if they would be a good cultural fit for the organization. This question also reveals their attributes and personality which gives me an idea about the way in which they may act in a professional setting.

  • What does the ideal response contain/what is the ideal response flow? 

    As I mentioned, this question helps me understand who a person is and what their personality may be like. There isn't a perfect or 'set-in-stone' roadmap but I usually look for the following:

    — Quick walkthrough their work history (whether it is related or unrelated to The Resource Group).

    — How the candidate got to where they are today. Everyone has a story and a path on where they are today which usually showcases why they are interested in the role.

    — What inspires the candidate so I can better understand how they may connect to our company's purpose. 

  • How would you answer the interview question: 'Tell us about yourself'?
    As you can see on my resume, I have multiple years of experience working in the supply chain side of healthcare. Getting here was not an easy journey. I immigrated to the U.S. when I was 17 without a family or a community of any sorts but I did come with a drive to make my life and the lives around me better. After working multiple jobs throughout college, I found a home in the healthcare industry where I quickly grew to love the challenge every area of this industry poses. For me, challenges are opportunities to become better and I usually never shy away from one. I don't limit challenges to the work environment either. In fact, I am an avid athlete, a parent of three children and two dogs. I compete in long distance triathlon events, it is very challenging to manage training, family and work, but figuring that out and managing that challenge is what fuels me every day. For me life, whether work or my personal life, is all a bout grit, determination, resolve, and the ability to see and reach a 'better' solution.
Kelton Redpath

Executive Director, Deployment

As a hiring manager, why do you ask the question 'Tell me about yourself'?

The resume provides a roadmap for a candidate's professional experience. However, asking this question allows a candidate the space to share their personal story and how they got to where they are today. What drives them?  What are their motivators and demotivators? What environments do they thrive in? Especially for the team I oversee, we like when candidates are able to be a bit vulnerable. Our work requires the ability to do that day-to-day and the 'tell me about yourself' question helps us assess that  trait in a candidate.

  • What does the ideal response contain/what is the ideal response flow to this question?

    Personal stories are really important to me. I truly want to get to know who a person is so I usually look for:

    — How the candidate defines themselves

    — Who the candidate is outside of work

    — Day-to-day motivators and demotivators

  • How would you answer the interview question: 'Tell us about yourself'?

    Thank you for the opportunity to connect today and tell you a little about myself. In my current role I had been traveling 80% of the time for over six years, up until travel was put on hold due to COVID-19. In the last 2.5 years life has changed drastically for myself and my family. We welcomed our first son in early 2021 and are expecting our second son this October. My career and life have always been fairly hectic with travel and a lack of routine so this change has been very welcome and I am beyond grateful for the time I get to spend with my wife and son. I have leaned into a routine that allows for a balance between dedicating time to my work and spending quality time with my family, while getting to watch my son grow, learn, and experience life. 

    Outside of my work-life routine I am always searching for the next challenge in both aspects of my life. I am constantly trying to learn and develop new skills or solve challenges that arise in everyday life - for example, I recently learned how to build outdoor furniture, and I have successfully upgraded all the floor trim in our new home. The consistent challenge and development keeps my energy high and provides the mental break I need from work in order to avoid burnout. I truly believe in welcoming all challenges, big or small, with a positive attitude and using that energy and positivity to influence change and create simple solutions to complex issues.

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