When was the last time you were asked, “Tell me about yourself?”
This is one of the most popular interview questions. And your response to this question will determine the tone of the entire interview. The question can be confusing and frustrating at times because you might be left wondering what the interviewer wants to know. Does he or she want to know how you named your dog? Your hard or soft skills? How you grew up? Your personal goals? Actually, it is none of these.
If you take your time and prepare for the interview, you will have no reason to dread this popular question. In fact, most job opportunities are lost due to lack of adequate preparation. Most interviewees assume that interview questions are so simple. But the majority of them always give an opposite or irrelevant answer. You will realize that this question is really an opportunity for you to set the tone of your job interview and emphasize the crucial points that you want your potential employer to know about you.
Do not waste your time reciting your entire resume. It is not the right time to tell your potential employer how much you love dancing or hiking. When asked this question, have a concise and enthusiastic answer that summarizes how you fit for the job. Today, we will show you three great ways for answering “Tell me about yourself.” But first, let’s see why interviewers ask this question.
Understanding the Interviewer’s Perspective
What is the interviewer trying to achieve when he or she asks you this question? You need to understand that it is one of the easiest ways for the interviewer to start a conversation with you. He or she wants to know enough about you to ultimately decide if you fit perfectly for the job opening. In short, he or she wants to find reasons to like you.
The interviewer’s work will be easier if he or she finds a great candidate fast. However, he or she is very attentive and focused because a bad hire will reflect poor judgment and probably no bonus, raise or promotion in the future. This question is usually asked first and it will determine your success or failure.
Three Ways to Answer “Tell Me About Yourself”
See this question as an elevator pitch. An elevator pitch is simply a summary that is used to define a business, product or service together with its value proposition. Take a moment and imagine yourself pitching in front of potential investors. You will definitely answer the question “Why should you invest in my business?” “Tell me about yourself” is similar to this question.
The only difference is you are selling yourself. The answer should be brief and straightforward. It should not take more than three minutes. Obviously, you won’t be able to present all your qualities and strengths in three minutes, therefore, take your time and think of how to present it in a way that will set your interview on a great tone.
Your answer should address the following key points:
Your main selling points for the specific job – One of your selling points could be your experience in an area you have specialized in or a specific industry.
Summarize your technical and training skills – Your main focus should be how you meet the qualifications in the job description.
Your interest in the position – Conclude by informing the interviewer that you are looking for a new challenge and you feel that getting this specific job is the next best step.
There is a formula for answering “Tell me about yourself.”
You have to involve the following three components for you to set the right tone and your answer to be complete. They include:
Who Are You?
You should start by introducing yourself professionally. Give an overview statement that focuses on your strengths and your personality as well. This is not something you just say easily. It requires adequate preparation in advance. As the saying goes, failing to plan is planning to fail. Here is an example of a good and a bad start.
Good: I am an innovative sales manager with ten years of experience in selling and managing my team –from recruitment to training – for X, Y and Z companies.
Notice how this answer briefly summarizes a diverse background.
Bad: I grew up in Texas and as a child, I wanted to be a police officer, then I became interested in Science and Dinosaurs….
Notice how much irrelevant information is being revealed.
Highlight your expertise
Do not assume that the interviewer has gone through your resume. Using the elevator pitch will offer you an opportunity to highlight two to four points that make you stand out.
Good: I have been developing my skills as a sales manager for XYZ company for the last five years. I have won several awards owing to my performance. I love working in teams and solving customer problems.
Bad: My first job was as a salesperson for XYZ company. I learned a lot of lessons in that role for ten years. At that time, I had not discovered my passion, so I got employed as a secretary for ZYX company. I only worked for six months….
When you are finished, the interviewer will probably be asleep. Nobody cares about your first job. The interviewer wants to listen to relevant stories.
Why Are You Here?
Conclude by telling the interviewer that you want the position and give a reason why.
Good: Although my current role is great, I feel I am ready for more challenging responsibilities and this position excites me.
Brief and to the point.
Bad: Since my company has financial issues and I hate working with a critical boss, I decided to start looking for a job elsewhere.
Being too candid puts you at risk. You also seem to be interested in any job that comes your way and not this specific job.
So, how do you know if you had a good interview? Dialogue. Keeping your answers brief and straight to the point will give the interviewer a chance to ask you more questions. Giving brief and straight to the point answers requires adequate preparation. Get to know the common interview questions and practice your answers until you can say them naturally. And you will get the job.
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About the author: Lauren Adley is a writer and editor at Brill Assignment and Writing Service. She is dedicated to her family, work and friends. Also, she was working at Collegessaywriter.com for a long time. She is keen on reading, playing the guitar and traveling. She is interested in educational, marketing and blogging issues. Feel free to connect with her on Twitter and Google+.