Don’t you think it would be great if you already know what the hiring manager is going to ask you in your interview? Well, I assure you that one question is guaranteed to come up in almost all of your job interviews whether you are a beginner or an experienced candidate and whatever your qualification or industry is. “Tell me something about yourself” is that traditional and brainless yet crucial question asked by the interviewer to almost all the job searchers. Most of the job searchers hate this question because they get frustrated making efforts trying to decipher what exactly the interviewer is looking for. They know that they will be asked about themselves yet they fail to answer this question properly.
Job seekers don’t get that the question will set the tone for rest of the interview. In fact, this seemingly most stressful question is a golden opportunity for the job searchers to deliver the most important points about their personality or qualification that they want the employer to know about them. Most of the job searchers actually don’t realize the goal of interview and simply start the recitation of their resume.
There is nothing much crucial in this question. Yes, this question is somewhat challenging as some questions start mounting up in your brain about what you should tell the interviewer and what shouldn’t. Believe me, if you prepare yourself for this question properly and present the employer with a confident answer, there’s no reason to dread this question. When you provide the hiring manager a confident yet wise answer, there are chances that the hiring manager will sense your confidence and you all know what that means…
So, if you are in search of the best approach to answer this question, consider this article as your guide.
The Interviewer’s Perspective
First thing you need to know here is that the goal of interview is not to share your personal stories or to become best friends. The goal of interview is to market your personality, your attitude and your qualification – presenting yourself as a right candidate for their job. At this point in interview, you should not mention your personal preferences or hobbies like you love to dance or sing or you love watching horror movies. These kind of answers lead to a surefire way to create your weak first impression and many of us believe that first impressions are the most lasting.
Why interviewers ask this question anyway?
You most probably find yourself wondering that what the interviewer is trying to achieve by asking this “Tell me about yourself” question. What the interviewer really wantsto know? So, here is the answer.
Strategy of Interviewer
Usually, this is a strategy used by most of the interviewers to make way for an open-ended conversation with you. The hiring manager wants to see how you react to this casual and unstructured question. By asking this question he is judging your personality, your confidence and your ability to think and adapt to certain situations.
Most importantly, he is analyzing that whether or not you hold the sense to truly understand which of your experiences, strengths, abilities or skills are required or relevant for this position and which are not. Yes, this is the key motive of interviewer to come up with such kind of question.
Who You Really Are?
Focus and Practice
Never go for the interview unprepared. If you feel like you are not ready, decline the interview until you are satisfied with your preparation.
Know your strengths
Before going for an interview, what you need to do is to have some time alone with you in which you try to analyze your strengths and weaknesses – all of your strong points that may help you to market your abilities in front of the interviewer. Write down these important points somewhere and before going for interview, read the job description clearly, have some idea about the company and then decide which of your strengths and skills will be compatible for the job.
Why you want this job
Think why you are interested in this job and why you feel like this position will be the right step for you towards your career. Focus on the criteria mentioned for the job and how you can meet as well as exceed these requirements using your primary selling points.
And now, when you have written down your abilities, practice your script until you feel confident about what you want to deliver to the interviewer. When you know what you want to emphasize in your statements and what not, it will make the interview game so easy. But yes, don’t forget, what you want to convey should look natural and conversational not stiff and rehearsed.
This little preparation will help you focus on what information you have to offer to the interviewer. Remember, the more you know about your product – you – the better will be the chances of selling it best.
Best Approach for Answering This Question
Interview is a dialogue not a monologue. Most of the responsibility lies on you to make the interview most productive and profitable both for you and for the interviewer as well. Provide your interviewer with the chance to dive in and ask questions.
There are three parts to answer this question in a concise yet beautiful way:
Highlight Your Qualities
Tell the interviewer about your key strengths and abilities. Don’t waste time mentioning things that are not related to job. Just talk about those abilities which are related to the job criteria. Be positive and confident about your achievements and provide an enthusiastic answer that fit your big-picture in to the job. Provide interviewer with things that make you potential candidate for the job.
See, Interview is not an invitation for you to start your entire life story and just go line by line through your entire resume. This “Tell me about yourself” question is your first and foremost golden chance to set pitch for the whole interview. So, try being concise about your achievements. Do mention your achievements but not in the form of a long story.
Don’t mention pointless things
Don’t tell the interviewer about what ice-cream you like or what your favorite movies are. Don’t start telling him about your long life stories. Yes, I know, it feels great to share your adventures with others but, save all of your amazing life stories for after you get hired.
Emphasize on What Makes You Best for This Job
Remember throughout the interview to highlight and focus only on those experiences and skills that are quite relevant to the job and increase your chances to get hired. Your goal is to get the hiring manager see you as a perfectly right candidate for the job. Mention your qualification and previous experiences regarding this job title keeping your answer business focused and targeted. Highlight your expertise in this area by giving a brief example from your experiences.
Be prepared for interruptions
When you talk about yourself, it gives interviewer the opportunity to ask different questions making him drill into different specific areas around your answer. Try to keep your initial answer short but when you pause and the interviewer nods or takes pause too, it is a chance for you to go into detail of what you have said earlier. Make yourself prepare for interruptions along the way because many interviewers use this question as a strategy to come up with different areas of interests where they may drill down further into your personality and judge you accurately.
Why You Are Here
After describing your key strengths, experiences and qualification, end your answer by telling the interviewer why you want this job. Tell the hiring manager why you feel like you are a suitable candidate for this job. Neither brag nor be too modest while explaining your thoughts about thejob.
Why you want to work for this company
Talk about your career goals and how you see the targeted company catering your dreams into reality. Tell them about your priorities and preferences and which aspects of the company you found appealing. For this, you must come up with some homework so that you may provide them with sound reasoning to work for the company.
Why should they hire you?
Every hire is a risk for the company. So, you should present the interviewer with strong answer to get yourself hired. You may tell him that you deliever the best work results and possess certain experiences or skills that make you unique and stand out from the crowd. You may also get them know that this hiring will make your life easier by taking you close to where you want to be. You should assure the interviewer that you will fit in beautifully and will also be a good addition to the team.
How You Should Not Answer This Question?
As mentioned earlier, many of you get this interview question wrong and end up losing the job opportunity. So, to ensure that you don’t end up making the same mistake next time, we have come up with some common mistakes that people make.
Have a look at them:
Don’t start resume recitation
Most of the job seekers start recitation of their resume when asked about themselves. They start a monologue and a monotone long story which may probably be the least impressive and least relevant things for the interviewer. And, by the time you reach to your good stuff, the interviewer is already timed out and maybe thinking about calling the next candidate.
So, don’t bore the interviewer with information overload at the very beginning of the interview. Try mentioning your latest experiences and completing them in few words.
Don’t ask for too much clarification
Many smart candidates totally flub this question just because of overthinking. They start asking for too much clarification like “you want to know about my experience or my qualification or what kind of information you want”. This kind of reaction makes you look confused, nervous or hesitant. Simply follow the points that are told above. If the interviewer wants something else he will surely ask you for it.
Never lie or exaggerate things
Always provide the interviewer with accurate and honest piece of information about your competencies. Remember, you are a human and everyone has some areas where he needs improvement so just be honest – not too modest – in your limitations. Giving false information to the company may cause serious implications afterwards which could be used against you. So, never lie to the interviewer just for the sake of pleasing him. It may please the interviewer at that very moment but may cause lots of trouble for you later.
Never come late for interview
Coming late for an interview gives impression to the interviewer that you are not much interested in the job. Being on time is the most important rule for an interview. A day or two before going for an interview, calculate the time required for reaching the interview spot on time. This being late thing will possibly kill the interview before it is even started. You should try your best to avoid this kind of scenario at all possible cost. But, if for some serious cause, you get late for an interview be honest while giving a rational reason for coming late.
What It is All About?
Remember that you are given only single chance to impress the target interviewer. There are thousands of people waiting in the queue so you better be prepared well. Your ultimate goal to answer this question is to prove yourself not only as a professional but also as a potential candidate and a perfect product for the targeted company.
By following all the above given instructions, we hope that you will take this monster question “Tell me about yourself” and will turn it into a golden moment in your interview which will surely lead to your hiring.