The “Tell Me About Yourself” Interview Question

Interviews can be a nerve wracking thing and there are some questions that you never know quite how to answer. Some of those dreaded interview questions include, “What is your biggest weakness?” – “What would you like to be doing in five years?” –  “Why do you think I should hire you?’ and ” Tell me about yourself.”  These are all questions you need to prep for so you have fluidity and confidence when answering.

The Tell me about yourself interview question is one of those staples that many interviewers use, so it’s best to practice before hand. While there is no “wrong” way to answer the question, interviewers are trying to get to know you professionally and get a grasp on your experience and career goals.

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“In lieu of having people rattle off their entire resume from start to finish, companies ask this question to give candidates a chance to talk about their career and where they are planning to go next, in their own words,” says to Deb LaMere, vice president of employee engagement at Ceridian. “Answering the ‘tell me about yourself’ question brings these words to life, giving some color context and background to the work and life experiences listed within a CV.”

 

There are some key points you want to focus on when answering the question:

  • Recent professional achievements
  • Educational achievements
  • Applicable skills
  • Professional goals
  • Reason for interest in the company

The trend in these points, is to  give them an overview of you as a professional. Keep your answer around 2-3 minutes so you don’t go overboard.

While hiring managers like to get to know the person they are interviewing, it’s best to keep in mind that they don’t really care if you have a dog named Sparky or you like to hike on the weekend. They are asking you to elaborate on your resume and let them know your overall career goals. Focus on things that would make you a good fit. Kim Costa, job coach at Snagajob says she uses the SET method when answering: Provide your Skills, Experience, and Time you’ve used those skills. “It shows you are well-rounded and gives the employer a sense of what you bring to the table,” says Costa.

Another good idea, is to show you’re a good team player while describing experiences. Employers are looking for candidates who work well with others, so try including “our team” when describing how you did something for a company.

While you are doing all of this, make sure you make eye contact. This shows confidence and honesty while demonstrating your interest in the position. It also is a way for you to gauge how the interviewer is feeling. If they start to look away, warp up your answer.  “It’s never a good sign if the hiring manger looks down or doesn’t make eye contact,” says Costa of Snagajob. Breaking eye contact is a sign to move onto the next question.

There are a lot of of interview questions that can be intimidating, this one doesn’t have to be. Understanding what hiring managers area looking for is the first step and preparing your answer is the next step. If you follow these guidelines and remember they want to know you professionally, you will knock their socks off with a great answer!

 

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