The “tell me about yourself” job interview question isn’t just a warm up question but it’s a perfect chance to sell yourself as the perfect candidate for the job. Technically, ‘Tell me about yourself’ isn’t even a question. It’s an open invitation for you to impress your interviewer and get the job. But most candidates often stutter, stumble and freeze in the moment and articulate just a couple of irrelevant points.
So read on to know how to come prepared for this open ended classic!
There are multiple ways to approach this question. You can resort to the popular method of preparing ‘your own 30 sec commercial’ or can prepare and practice separate answers for different individuals you might interview with.
Start off with your name
This question sets the panic button on for most candidates who often assume that the interviewer has asked an overloaded question. In actuality, he wants to check how well you can sell yourself and how confident you are. Start with your name and feel free to add a line or two about things you like to do- but remember not to overdo it! Keep your answer precise and complete.
Then talk about your background
Always back up your intro with a short and snappy narration of your education and experience. Think bullet points and hard facts- do not waste your time on trivial details. Mention your pedigree and also where you see yourself heading in terms of your dreams and aspirations. Don’t be taken aback if the person interviewing you starts taking down notes. It’s a positive indication and means that the interviewer is hooked on to your conversation and is listening to you keenly. So exude confidence and remain honest throughout!
Connect it to the Position you are applying for
This is where the catch is! Your aim is to narrate your accomplishments that are related to the position you’re applying for and smartly blend them with your background history. You need to convey that you are the person they are looking for!
Turn the table on them
Don’t be scared of asking questions! If you say, I’m originally from Bombay;” back it up with “Have you ever been there before?” If you say “I worked on a marketing project,” back it up with “Does your firm focus on B2C or B2B projects?” These examples might not fit your situation but the point is to engage your interviewer and not just rattle off points. Remember- It’s a conversation after all!
Don’t Over Expose
Less is more! Apply this same rule to this age old question. If you just sit there blabbering and telling the interviewer the story of your life you’re eventually going to bore him to death! So smile, keep an optimistic and eager tone during your abridged, micro-biography and let the rest of the interview begin.
Remember, your answer should be targeted to the job, not a personal biography—because employers don’t really care where you grew up. What matters to them is how you’ll be a value addition to their company!