The one request you are certain to get in a job interview is "tell me about yourself".
Your completed application form will present a picture that the interviewer will use to plan specific questions to ask in the interview. It might cover your work background, education and other topics such as your ambitions in life and in your career.
In fact there are many things that can be gained from the original application process before you ever get to the interview. Things like past experience, how you keep fit and what hobbies you follow. Plus a whole lot more.
What happens during the interview?
Good interviews with an experienced interviewer will usually be opened with an icebreaker comment or question to set the tone for your interview. Then you will be given some idea of what will happen during your interview. For example, they will probably begin by discussing your job experience and educational background. Then they will ask some further questions and take notes. Finally, they will share some information about the job and certain details such as working hours, rate of pay, part-time or full-time posts and information about the company.
The information you provided on your application form will be discussed. That verifies that the information provided is accurate and also gives the interviewer the opportunity to fill in any missing information. That is the time to ask the wide ranging job interview question; "tell me about yourself".
What type of job candidate are you?
Whatever you say in reply could be more important for your career than any other job interview answers you give. You must become their ideal candidate so understand what the opportunity offers you.
In fact it is not really a question and the interviewer is not expecting any specific question to be answered. You are being given an opportunity to define where you might be different from all the other applicants. You should grasp the opportunity and ensure you really make yourself stand out from all the other people who will be asked the same question, or rather be given the same opportunity.
If you fail to score at that part of the interview you can be sure somebody else will so you need to be prepared. That means giving the request "tell me about yourself" some serious pre-interview thought. Think about the job, the company, which business niche they are in and their need to fill the vacancy. Then ensure your answer is designed to tell the company that you are the ideal candidate for the job they need filling.
What would you say to me, right now, to tell me about yourself if I were to ask? Think about it.