As far as interview questions that are guaranteed to come up, “tell us about yourself” is certainly 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.
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.
Do your research
In order to sell yourself in respects 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 among your professional goals and the future vision of the company.
Connect the dots
Once you’ve landed 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.
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.
Take a deep breath
Lastly, remember to relax into it. You will have time later to walk through 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 quickly introduce yourself, appear confident and relevant while inviting further dialogue. After all, the interview isn’t a monologue.
In no time at all, 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!