Do you know how to answer the age old question: “Tell me about yourself”?
Imagine an interview where you can boss the first question, get to a fast start, ready and prepared for anything they throw at you. It is possible 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, are you prepared for it?
A client said to 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.
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.
Your 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 paper document to someone they can really connect with! I don’t mean to undermine the power of your CV as it still plays a critical role in your search.
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.
- 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 your answer has impact, but not so much that it sounds scripted.
- Don’t ramble. 2 minutes max should be enough to cover the most relevant and interesting points. If you’re unsure, practice and time yourself!
So why is it so important to get this question right?
- First impressions are everything! Your first interview answer is an opportunity to get the interview set up to a great start.
- It will help the interviewers understand the story behind your experience.
- You will feel more confident and prepared for anything that comes next.
- By starting confident you will feel more calm and collected. This will equip you to answer anything that comes up more effectively.
- Confidence in yourself demonstrates to others how they should view you. This can leave a lasting impression beyond your interview.