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How to Answer "Tell us About Yourself"

Updated | Published
by Nurse Beth Nurse Beth, MSN (Columnist)

Specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho. Has 30 years experience.

"Tell us about yourself" is an interview question you can count on being asked. Sometimes candidates who answer other questions will freeze and fumble at this question. Here's how to answer and tips on what they are looking for. You are reading page 2 of How to Answer "Tell us About Yourself". If you want to start from the beginning Go to First Page.

Nurse Beth, MSN

Specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho. Has 30 years experience.

56 minutes ago, NinjaNabiRN said:

As someone who doesn't have anything positive to say about themselves either, I run into issues where I say 'I'm a hard worker'. Which I am. I started saying I 'handle stressful situations well' but I don't feel like I do, LOL.

I also never won any awards and my only positive stories involve work related things since I really don't have many positive experiences outside of work that could be used for work, if that makes sense. Nobody is going to want to hear about how I play video games when I'm not working..

I wish I worked one day with you and then your attributes would be apparent even though you can't see them. You may be kind, patient, conscientious....even keeled- IDK, but I hope you come to give yourself credit.

upt0wntruths, BSN, MSN, RN, CNS

Specializes in ICU, urgent care, family practice. Has 3 years experience.

An example of my go-to format for “Tell me about yourself”: 

#1. I start off with Where I am originally from (just as an opener)

#2. Then tie it into what brought me to nursing including a little info about myself: I helped care for many family members who eventually succumbed to chronic illnesses. I wanted to know more about Why/ how to help stop this from happening. after doing research on career paths, I found that nursing answers many of those questions and would allow me to care for my family and my community. 

#3. I end it with what brought me to the specific nursing position I’m interviewing for while including small details about my personality and how it is compatible with the unit’s needs: after taking the steps needed to get into nursing school, I got in. I remember being so nervous and excited because I heard how challenging it would be. And Nursing school was very challenging but also a rewarding experience. critical care was my favorite clinical rotation so when I saw this opening I had to take the chance to apply for it. I was drawn to the teamwork and critical thinking needed to investigate how to best treat patients on the unit and I personally love investigating and solving puzzles in my free time and it reminds me of that. Sadly, I witnessed patients lose their battles against illness while in critical care and although it’s heartbreaking, I was able to find some comfort in knowing that I did my best to comfort patients and their families as if they were my own family while I helped my preceptor deliver care. This whole journey thus far Showed me that its a huge honor for me to have the opportunity to be there for people in their most vulnerable time... nursing really allows us to be impactful every shift... I really can’t see myself in any other career. 

Tips that helped me: 

-Keep your answer at around 3 minutes max. people have short attention spans and interviewers don’t actually want to hear your life story, they’re trying to gauge if you would be a good fit for their unit. This allows you market your great personality and tell a story that can’t be read on your resume. Limited time forces you to cut out fluff so you can focus on the meat and potatoes about yourself and how that journey led you into that interview. 

- Practice a week or 2 ahead of your interview so you can organize yourself. Write it out, read your answers out loud in the mirror, time yourself, edit as needed. Ask someone to pretend to interview you so you can practice. don’t have a person? Fine, go on Youtube and search nursing interview questions and pretend their questioning you and answer that way. Use flashcards, whatever you have to do, just get some practice in. I hope it helps you build that confidence.

-lastly, seriously ask yourself why you want that position. when you genuinely know why you want something, it makes it easier to incorporate those reasonings and genuine feelings into your “tell me about yourself” answer. Preparing ahead to answer this question will reduce the anxiety that comes with it and prevent the blindsiding. 

hope this helped someone 🙂