Simple queries can occasionally lead to embarrassing situations if one is not adequately prepared for them. The interview question “Tell me about yourself”, for example, should be a no-brainer. However, this typical interview question continues to baffle candidates of all levels of expertise. It may be claimed that this is partly due to the open-ended nature of the question, as it is not immediately clear if the interviewer is seeking a brief biography, a full CV or a combination of the two. These concerns, like those associated with any difficult interview topic, can be addressed with appropriate preparation and understanding of the interviewer’s rationale for asking the question.
What does the interviewer want to know?
This question is asked for a reason: the interviewer wants you to start talking. However, this does not mean you should take it lightly. Because your first response will set the tone for the rest of the interview, it is critical to start with your strongest points. And that is not all. Interviewers also ask this question to evaluate how confident candidates are, which in turn provides them a perspective of how new hires might show themselves to customers and colleagues if they get the job. If you are looking for a job and know how to respond to the question “Tell me about yourself”, you will have a fantastic opportunity to highlight the work experience and talents that make you the best candidate for the position. And because this is a question that many people in charge of hiring start with, answering it correctly is another method for you to get off to a good start. The following are some additional job interview suggestions that may help you ace your response.
There are three things you should include
It is critical not to ramble. Tell an engaging story that showcases your abilities and is no more than two minutes long. Your response should cover the following things:
- Allow your personality to shine through.
Your interviewer wants to learn more about you so that they can determine if you are a good cultural match. Therefore, introduce yourself in the interview. This is a fantastic time to highlight your interests and soft skills. There will be plenty of time later in the interview to go over your CV in detail. Concentrate on hobbies and activities that will best represent you. Volunteering, for example, demonstrates your concern for your community, whereas preparing for a marathon demonstrates self-discipline.
- Highlight your past accomplishments and successes
Introduce yourself in the interview but do not waste words. Everything you say should be aimed at convincing your interviewer that you are the best candidate for the job. When preparing your response, reread the job description and select two or three recent real-world examples that demonstrate your ability to meet or exceed the criteria. Work-related experiences are vital, but it is also fine to use instances from your personal life to reinforce your story (such as volunteering).
- Discuss your strengths and abilities
All of the above should allow you to naturally relate the qualities and abilities that will assist you in meeting the employment requirements. Does the position require a candidate to establish and motivate a high-performing team? Demonstrate your suitability with an example that emphasises your leadership experience, staff development and new team member integration.
Three things to stay away from!
It is easy to get off track when asked an open-ended “Tell us about yourself” interview question. Avoid the following to offer a focused answer that prepares the path for a great interview:
- Bringing up personal details
While answering, there is no need to share personal facts such as your family life, religion or politics, even if you want to show off your winning personality. None of these variables will aid your interviewer in determining your suitability unless they are directly relevant to the job.
- Making broad, unsupported statements
Never claim to have strength without being able to back it up. If you cannot back up your statements with real-life instances, it does not matter if you claim to be organised, innovative and a great team member.
- Repeating your CV word for word
Because the interviewer has already reviewed your CV, do not waste their time or yours by going through each job in detail. Instead, concentrate on the areas that will help you effortlessly transition into persuasive, interesting examples which demonstrate your relevant talents and abilities.
“Tell me about yourself” sample answers
Do you require some motivation? Here are some sample answers to consider:
Here’s an example of a great response for a job seeker applying for an administrative position in a clean energy company:
“For the past three years, I have worked as an Administrative Assistant. My present position in a mid-sized company’s finance department entails scheduling, meeting coordination and travel preparation for four executives and 20 employees. In addition, I assist with the preparation of correspondence, presentations and reports.
“I am renowned for being a very organised and detail-oriented team member. I never miss deadlines, am an excellent communicator and am capable of juggling numerous jobs at the same time. My boss regularly mentions how much he likes my professionalism and excitement for the job in my performance assessments.
“Now that I have gained this experience, I am searching for an opportunity to advance in my work. I would like to do so in an organisation that strives to improve the environment, like yours, which is something I am very interested in.”
This is an example of someone who has a lot of experience and is applying for a tech management role:
“Yes, I would be delighted to. I have worked as a tech-focused project manager for the past eight years.
“I earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a minor in computer science from University X, where I was on the Dean’s List. Following that, I began working in the sector as an Administrative Assistant at Company X. There, I assisted with interdepartmental communication, managed schedules and maintained the digital filing system.
“After that, I spent roughly six years as a project manager for Company Y, a cloud computing solutions provider. There, I was in charge of five or more software project teams and ensured that everything ran smoothly regarding business objectives, timelines, budget and other factors.
“I like to read about artificial intelligence, technology and robotics in my spare time. I figured I would apply because you guys do all three.”
Important points to remember
To summarise, here are the most crucial pointers on how to respond to the interview question “Tell me about yourself”.
Organise your response in a logical manner. If you stick to the past-present-future framework, you will be fine.
Keep it brief and relevant (one to two minutes max). No one wants to hear about your entire life.
Mention any notable accomplishments or related work experience.
In a nutshell, be concise. Your response should not take too much time, so please keep it brief. You are not required to go into detail with the person in charge of hiring about everything that you believe makes you an excellent prospect. To get the interview off to a good start, you need to provide a few significant insights about yourself that will pique the interviewer’s curiosity to find out more about you.
Article contributed by Simply Law