Other interview questions that are similar
- Can you provide an overview of your professional background and experience?
- What is your career trajectory up until this point?
- Could you share some details about your previous roles and responsibilities?
- Can you highlight your key strengths and areas of expertise?
- How would you describe your professional accomplishments and achievements?
- What motivates you in your career and drives you to succeed?
- Can you discuss any notable projects or initiatives you have led or been a part of?
- How do you approach challenges and problem-solving in the workplace?
- Can you elaborate on any specific skills or knowledge that set you apart from others in your field?
- What are your professional goals and aspirations moving forward?
What the interviewer is looking for by asking this question
There are probably an infinite number of questions that the interviewer could ask you on the day. Some questions are incredibly common appearing in almost every interview you will have, while other questions you might hear once and never again regardless of how many jobs you apply for.
Fundamentally though all interview questions are really trying to find out one of 3 things:
1 – Can you do the job? (Do you have the skills/experience needed?)
2 – Will you do the job? (Do you have the drive/motivation to get the job done?)
3 – Will you fit in? (Does your personality match the workplace culture? Are you likeable?)
That’s it. Those are the 3 things that the interviewer is trying to ascertain. Every question that is asked of you will fundamentally be trying to resolve one (or more) of these 3 things.
When the interviewer starts the conversation with the classic question, “Tell me about yourself,” it can seem vague and daunting. However, they are likely probing one or more of those three crucial inquiries: Can you do the job? Will you do the job? Will you fit in?
Let’s relate the question back to those three areas of interest:
1 – Can you do the job? (Do you have the skills/experience needed?): When asked, “Tell me about yourself,” this is an opportunity to share your skills and experiences relevant to the job. Speak about your academic qualifications, your previous work experiences, and the skills you developed from them that make you an ideal candidate for this role. For example, if you’re applying for a product management role, you can mention your experiences in managing cross-functional teams, your understanding of the market and customer needs, and your success in product delivery.
2 – Will you do the job? (Do you have the drive/motivation to get the job done?): In the same vein, you can demonstrate your motivation through discussing your career growth and aspirations, why you chose this career path, and why you’re interested in this particular role at their company. Make sure to include specific examples that showcase your tenacity, dedication, and the drive you have to achieve results. For instance, talking about a project you led from ideation to completion despite setbacks would highlight your determination and ability to follow through.
3 – Will you fit in? (Does your personality match the workplace culture? Are you likeable?): Here, you can discuss your working style, core values, and interpersonal skills. You can also discuss times you have successfully worked within a team, or how you’ve adjusted to different workplace cultures in the past. Express your enthusiasm for the company culture and values, but ensure to remain authentic in your portrayal.
While “Tell me about yourself” seems like a simple icebreaker, it is indeed a multi-faceted question. Your answer should reassure the interviewer that you have the right skills and experience, the motivation to do the job, and the personality to fit in with the team and the company culture.
How Best To Answer “Tell me about yourself”
When practicing your response to this question consider employing a three-part structure: Past, Present, Future. This approach allows you to chronologically walk the interviewer through your professional journey, all while answering those three key questions implicitly.
- Past: Begin with a brief overview of where you started professionally, and provide a summary of your experience that is relevant to the project management role. Highlight specific roles you’ve held, projects you’ve completed, and skills you’ve developed that make you well-suited for the position. For example, you might discuss your experience leading diverse teams, managing budgets, or overseeing large-scale projects.
- Present: Transition into your current situation. If you’re employed, describe your current role, major projects or achievements, and what you’ve learned. If you’re in transition, focus on what you’re looking to do next and why. Showcase your motivation through demonstrating a continuous pursuit of growth and results. Perhaps discuss how you are continually striving to improve, by, for example, gaining new project management certifications or mastering new project management software.
- Future: Finally, express why you’re interested in this project management role and how it aligns with your career aspirations. Discuss what you know about the company and its culture, why you’re excited about the opportunity, and how you believe you can bring value to the team. This allows you to demonstrate a potential culture fit and a genuine interest in the role.
Remember to keep your response concise and engaging, and practice it several times to ensure it sounds natural. Tailor it to the role and company, always highlighting how your past, present, and future align with the requirements of the role.
What You Should NOT Do When Answering Questions
Do not avoid the question.
Do not describe a failure (unless specifically asked).
Do not downplay the situation.
Do not overhype the situation.
Do not say you have no experience with the subject matter.
Do not reject the premise of the question.
Do not have a passive role in the situation.
Do not give a one-sentence answer.
Do not overly describe the scenario and miss the action
“Tell me about yourself” – Project Manager Example Answers
The examples provided below can serve as a foundation for creating your unique answers. For additional inspiration, our new guide includes five sample responses to this question and over 100 answers to all of the most common Project Manager interview queries.
Project Manager Example 1
“Starting off, I began my career with a degree in Computer Science and soon realized that my strengths lay in coordinating teams and managing complex tasks, which led me to pursue project management. Over the last 8 years, I have worked with several tech companies, managing a variety of projects from software development to infrastructure upgrades. In one of my major accomplishments, I led a cross-functional team to develop a new software product, delivering it within budget and 20% ahead of the deadline.
Currently, I’m the Project Manager at XYZ Tech, where I manage a portfolio of projects aimed at optimizing internal processes for our clients. I’m particularly proud of a recent project where we automated a significant portion of a client’s manual data processing, increasing their efficiency by 30%.
Looking ahead, I’m excited about the opportunity to work with your organization. I’ve always admired your company’s innovative approach to technology and your strong commitment to team collaboration. I’m particularly interested in your upcoming initiatives in AI, as I’ve been studying and getting certifications in this area. I believe my skill set and my drive to stay at the forefront of tech advancements will allow me to make a significant contribution to your team and the projects we’ll deliver together.”
Project Manager Example 2
“I started my career in the construction industry as an on-site engineer. While I enjoyed the hands-on technical aspects, I quickly found myself drawn towards the strategic and organizational elements of project delivery. That’s when I decided to shift my career towards project management. I honed my skills in scheduling, risk management, and team leadership across several high-profile projects, including a major hospital construction where I oversaw a team of over 50 individuals and managed a budget exceeding $20 million.
At present, I am serving as a Senior Project Manager for ABC Construction, where I am responsible for handling our most complex and high-stake projects. My recent project involved coordinating the construction of a multi-story commercial building in the city center. Despite several unforeseen hurdles, including a city-wide lockdown due to a health crisis, we managed to deliver the project on time while adhering to the stringent safety standards and maintaining the set budget.
Moving forward, what attracted me to this role in your company is your commitment to sustainability and green building practices, which is a direction I am keen on taking my career towards. I recently completed a certification in Sustainable Building Design, and I believe that this focus, combined with my solid project management background, would bring a unique perspective to your team. I’m excited about the opportunity to contribute to projects that are not only successful in terms of time, scope, and cost, but also make a positive impact on the environment and the community.”
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