It seems like one of the job interview softballs: “Tell me about yourself.” Whatever else they ask you, you’ve got this one covered, right? Well, simple as it seems, you might not be getting as much value as possible from this interview question.
Going into a job interview, you likely worry most about potential trick questions. Listing your weaknesses or stumbling through a surprise puzzle — those are the prompts that keep you up the night before.
This focus can lead to missed opportunities. You concentrate so hard on preparing for the strange or troublesome questions, you don’t see the potential offered by prompts that seem innocuous on the surface.
With that in mind, here are some steps you can take to frame the best answer for the “tell me about yourself” interview question:
Answering “Tell Me About Yourself” with Confidence
Practice Your Answer
Yes, it’s relatively easy to talk about yourself (maybe too easy at times). And you certainly know the subject matter well. But that doesn’t mean you should try to speak off the top of your head.
Rather, consider your answer before heading to the interview. Know what you want to say and what highlights you want to include. That way, you make the most of your chance to talk about your strengths and accomplishments.
Create a Positive First Impression
This question is often used as a warmup. It will likely come early in the process — probably as the first prompt you receive. As such, construct your answer so you can maximize that first impression.
Frame a Narrative
Tell a story. Take your listeners on a journey through your career (in a relatively brief summary), hitting the highlights along the way. A well-framed narrative will keep them interested and give you a jumping-off point for discussing the current job opening.
Customize Your Response
Each opportunity is different. As an open-ended question, you have a lot of latitude in how you describe yourself. Make sure the skills and traits you include fit in well with the position you seek to land.
Don’t Just Recite Your Resume
Remember, your interviewers have already reviewed your resume. Yes, you should touch on the key bullet points you listed in that document. However, you should go a step further. Your goal is to fill in some of the intangible qualities that might not be obvious on your resume.
Reveal Your Personality and Work Habits
This is your chance to introduce yourself to your potential employer. Don’t just list your skills and experiences. Give them a sense of yourself as a person. This will speak to qualities like culture and personality — important concerns your interviewers will consider as they make their hiring decision.
Stay On Task
As an open-ended question, you have the opportunity to include a lot of information in your answer. However, this comes with a danger. It’s easy to drift off into a ramble. Avoid that temptation. As you plan and practice your response, make sure that you target your answer.
Know When to Stop
Keep your response relatively brief. You’ll have plenty of time to drill down on various aspects of your experience as later questions come up. Getting too long-winded will just take the interview off focus.
Pivot to the Future
As you wind up, turn your attention to the job at hand. Stress that your career has led up to this opportunity and turn the discussion back to why you are well-suited for the position.
A job interview can make or break your chances of landing your dream job. As such, you need to get the most out of every moment. A top recruiter, like Elby Professional Services, can give you the support and guidance you need to ace the process.
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