As far as interview questions that are guaranteed to come up, “tell us about yourself” is undoubtedly on the top of the list. You can count on having to answer this regardless of your industry, experience level or job type. However, rather than dreading the question, you can really take the opportunity to create a great first impression. While it can be difficult to decipher exactly what the interviewer is looking for, there are some sure-fire ways to prepare in order to nail this question with ease. MANCOSA has seen successful interview graduates go on to start lucrative careers. Find out what we’ve learned about the job interview process.
1. Stay focused during the interview
It’s very important that your response stays relevant to the particular job opportunity in question and doesn’t last more than 30-45 seconds. Now really is not the time to mention you love dancing, make a killer roast beef and spend your weekends playing online games. On the other hand, don’t waste the opportunity by simply diving into a wooden recitation of your CV. Instead, craft a concise and enthusiastic response that paints a picture of why you’re a great fit for the job and their company culture as a whole.
2. Do your research
To sell yourself with respect to their company, you’ll need to spend time researching their enterprise and getting familiar with their industry. Try to get an idea of their mission, goals and business operations. Now align this with the professional goals you’ve set for yourself. Concisely and clearly tie together similarities between your professional goals and the company’s future vision. It’s also a good idea to research some common interview questions and answers for your particular company or company. You can find these online (take a look at these snippets from The Harvard Businesss Review), or speak to an HR professional for some hot interview question tips.
3. Connect the dots
Once you’ve landed on why you’re professionally aligned to the job role, start connecting your personal strengths to the position on offer too. Outline a few details and outcomes you’ve experienced that you can foresee being relevant to their environment. Dive into these strengths while referencing back to the responsibilities of their role.
4. Sell yourself
Describing yourself in an interview can be a bit nerve-wracking. It’s best to avoid mentioning personal information related to your marital status, children, political or religious views. However, it’s important that you do inject some personality into the experience, while not rushing into deeper conversations. Do your best to charm the interviewer while connecting your history and skills to the job description rather than engaging them in too much small talk.
5. Take a deep breath
Lastly, remember to relax into it. You will have time later to discuss your CV in more detail and fill in any gaps. This means you don’t have to cram in too much information right off the bat or your interviewer will start to tune out. You want to introduce yourself quickly, and appear confident and relevant while inviting further dialogue. After all, the interview isn’t a monologue.
How to ace the interview – online!
Welcome to the new age. Many companies will now interview you online, which can seem daunting at first, but it’s really quite simple. First, all the tips you read still apply, but take the following into account too:
- Be prepared: make sure your Internet connection is working. If your Internet is slow, change location and if you’re experiencing loadshedding, suggest a postponement. Download the necessary video platforms beforehand and practice. This could be Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype for Business or Google Meets.
- Be punctual. Not only will this create a good impression but it also gives you a buffer to fix any technical issues that may crop up unexpectedly.
- Test your technology. There are two essential components to consider: audio settings and camera.
- Check your environment. It’s advisable to keep your camera during an interview (unless otherwise stipulated) but make sure your environment is clean and tidy, and that you look presentable. You could also change your background or blur it out completely. Likewise, be mindful of background noise. A dog barking or a child crying could be distracting during an interview.
- Listen carefully to the interviewer and speak slowly and clearly. While your Internet connection may be great, there’s always a chance that someone on the panel may be struggling to hear you. If the interviewer breaks up during the interview, politely draw their attention to this but don’t guess what they might be saying.
Study tips and career advice with MANCOSA
In no time, the interviewer will dive in with further questions and the “tell us about yourself” moment would have passed quicker than you’d think was possible. Good luck, you’ve got this! We’re confident in our graduates’ ability to find employment given their skills. However, it is also essential to market yourself during an interview; this can take a certain amount of finesse. Follow MANCOSA’s career insights for more information about finding your next job or promotion.