You’ve been actively searching for a new job for months. Then one fine day, when you least expect it, the phone rings and you learn that you have finally received the much desired interview call.
As well prepared as you might be, there are always certain interview questions that can stump you. This week, we look at one of the most common questions that are asked, quite often as an icebreaker. The dreaded “tell me about yourself?”
Even if the interviewer does not start with this question, it can come up at any point during the interview and the best technique would be to practice an answer before your interview. This does not mean memorizing an answer but to consider what you would say with confidence to get the interview going on the right foot.
Whatever else you say or don’t say, please note that this is not an invitation to launch into a verbal autobiography from your kindergarten days onwards.
Assuming that the interviewer has read your application letter and the CV, I’d suggest a 3-4 minute answer where you focus on your positive aspects. Areas could include
- Your strengths
- Your achievements
- Do you do any community or voluntary work outside of your work life? Then do mention it. If you have helped in a fundraiser, put in a brief sentence including the amount raised.
- If you have been unemployed and this is a first interview after a long gap, consider talking about what tangible achievements you have had during the gap, any volunteer work or any further skilling that you have undertaken. It is a great way to fill up the gap in the CV and indicate that you have not been a couch potato.
Even if the interviewer has not read your CV in depth, this is an ideal opportunity to bring out the key reasons to demonstrate why you are a employable candidate for the job.
In my post on Why Do You Want to Work For Us, the first thing I suggested was to research the company thoroughly and then matching your experience and qualities focusing on the needs of the prospective employer. This same information can be used to create an impressive and natural answer for the Tell Me About Yourself question too.
Because you have done your research on the interviewer and employers, you know which particular strengths and achievements you need to highlight for this question to create space for further dialogue along the lines of common background and interests. This also helps to build rapport and can take the interview off the normal Q & A track to one where you can share examples of how you have handled real life situations, the tasks that you did, the actions taken and the results which are relevant to the position for which you are being interviewed.
It is always a good idea to research the interviewing company. Check out their website; look at their CSR initiatives and their values. Is there a connection with you? Can you incorporate it into your 3 minute sales pitch? If yes, then practice it.
Last but not least. Be honest in preparing your “tell me about yourself” answer. Remember that anything you say should be accurate and verifiable and can stand up to further interview questions.
Best of luck!
Did you know I help with job interview preparations too? You can check out my services on my Career Coaching Page
If you want to engage in self-help, acquire my Online Job Application Tips ebook by clicking the image below
I Want My Tips!
This post was originally written in June 2012 and has since been updated on 21 May 2015 for relevance.
Written By: Vatsala ShuklaFollow Me
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