Benedicto enters the room, shakes hands with the interviewer, sits down, and wears his sweetest smile. Then, comes the first question: “So, why don’t you tell me about yourself?”
Benedicto might have seen that coming. While we anticipate that question, most of us finds it really difficult to answer it. Why? Well, because we can answer the question in many ways. It means there are many ways to fail or suck at it. But what is the best way of answering the ‘tell me about yourself’ question’?
Before we answer that, a few reminders are in order:
First, you are in a JOB INTERVIEW, not a celebrity show, alright? You are applying for a position in a company, not a slot in the Big Brother House. So, your goal is to go get across this message: “Hire me not because I am cool (I sing better than Beyonce, or can breathe fire), but because I am qualified (I have the skills, the personality, and the experience relevant to the job).”
Second, you have competitors. Don’t be discouraged, be challenged. And when answering a question, do not settle for less. Make your point, and build your self in line with your career goal. But don’t be too talkative.
And lastly, remember what’s at the back of your interviewer’s head: “At the end of the day, I have to choose.” So, anticipate that every question is meant to compare you with the other candidates. You’re not drinking coffee in a cafe and are catching up, okay? You’re in a job interview. So give the interviewer a clear picture of you that is best suited for the job you are applying for.
So, now, how should Benedicto answer the question then? How should you answer the “tell me about yourself” question?
Provide a concise introduction. Tell the interviewer who you are in just a line or two, afterward introduce key attributes essential to the job you are vying for. Here’s an example:
Provide a concise history of your work experience. Your career summary is the “essence” of your response. State your most recent and current experience. Tell the interviewer your greatest achievements as a professional. It will boost your standing in the competition for the job. Here’s a sample of how to do this:
Connect your answers to the needs of the firm. Connect the dots. As an interviewee, you must make sure that the interviewer understands how your previous experiences and your great achievements in the past can benefit the firm where you are applying for. Here’s a way to do this:
Ask. Ask a discerning question to control the interview. You do not ask for the sake of asking, don’t be an askhole! Your goal in asking is to make the interviewer participate in the conversation, and also, to prove your genuine interest in the job. Here’s a sample question:
Those are the easy steps to ace the ‘tell me about yourself’ question. Remember to prepare for the interview. The best way to prepare for questions like ‘tell me about yourself’, ‘what are your weaknesses’, or ‘what are your strengths’, is by doing a SWOT Analysis (Strength, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats Analysis) of yourself. Identify ahead of time your unique selling points and make a personal branding statement defining your strengths that clearly gets across the message: HIRE ME, BECAUSE I AM THE BEST CANDIDATE FOR THE JOB.
Source: CareerKnowhow.com, (2015). So, Why Don’t You Tell Me About Yourself?. [online] Available at: http://www.careerknowhow.com/interviewtips/tellme.htm [Accessed 14 Sep. 2015].