Imagine an interview where you can boss the first question, get to a fast start, ready and prepared for anything they throw at you…. You can! By preparing for one of the most commonly asked questions that you almost always get at the start of an interview…. Tell me about yourself…
It is probably one of the most predictable interview questions on the planet and yet so many are under-prepared for it. A client asked me today, but they have seen my CV which lists my skills and experience. What more can I tell them?
Here is the secret….
The truth is that interviewers saw your CV at the shortlisting stage in preparation for the interview, and unfortunately, your CV has probably not been reviewed in detail, since then. So let’s breakdown 2 commonly held assumptions:
- It is quite possible they have NOT read your CV from start to finish.
- There will likely be one, maybe two reference points at most, they particularly remembered about your application.
A CV is like a book cover.
Sure you know what the book is about but you don’t know the details. So this question is YOUR opportunity to go from being a piece of paper to becoming the lead candidate for their opportunity. I don’t mean to undermine the power of your CV. It still plays a critical role in helping you secure a role as the interview process unfolds.
So, HOW do you answer that question: “Tell me about yourself?” This is your opportunity to build upon their first impression of you and set the stage for the rest of the interview!
- Don’t tell them your life story, make your professional relevance and professional story the star of this response.
- Be proud of your experience – there is no arrogance in stating facts about your skills, achievements or qualifications, as this is evidence based.
- Confidence comes with clarity and passion – make your answer intentional and clear. NO ONE knows you like you do, so own this story like it’s the best one you will ever tell and like you WANT to tell it!
- Practice to the extent that you are confident your answer has impact, but not so much that you sound like you are memorising from a script.
- Don’t ramble – 2 minutes max should be enough to cover the most relevant and interesting points.
If you can get this question right it will also set you off to a strong start in your interview, helping you feel more confident and prepared for what comes next.