“Tell Me About Yourself” – How to Respond During a Job Interview
When getting ready for a job interview, it’s hard to miss the famous “tell me about yourself” question, which acts as a typical icebreaker. You need to be prepared to answer that question too.
Even though applicants know that rehearsing their answers is key to making a great impression on hiring managers, they tend to overlook this question as insignificant and relatively easy to manage. The truth is, this particular question is much harder to answer than it seems.
Why Recruiters Ask This Question At All
When preparing for your job interview, think from the perspective of the recruiter – what knowledge will they gain from asking this tricky question?
For the recruiter, this kind of query provides an opportunity to see how the candidate handles themself in an unstructured situation. It reveals a lot about how confident and articulate they are, and grants a glimpse into what kind of impression they would make when working in the position. Recruiters can also see what the candidate holds important in their life. To put it simply, this question gives hiring managers a sense of who you are.
What Not to Do
It’s therefore important to prepare for it beforehand. Here’s what you shouldn’t do – answer the question with “what would you like to know?” It might seem a good strategy, but it isn’t – all it shows is that you’re not prepared for the interview, which in the eye of the recruiter renders you unprepared for the job.
How to Respond Properly
What’s the right response then? Depending on the strategy, there are various things you can mention to make a good impression. It’s important to deliver your answers with poise and confidence, sharing aspects of your life that you think the recruiter will find interesting and relevant to your meeting.
If you’re stumped figuring out a structure for your answer, here’s an example. It’s good to briefly summarize your career history and mention one or two professional accomplishments. After that, you should let the recruiter know what you’re planning next career-wise, and how it is relevant to the position in question.
Your response should be targeted to the job – no one is interested in your biography and what schools you went to. Instead of reciting a long list of your skills and qualifications, it’s better to adopt a more low-key approach and talk about your interests instead. Your hobbies and favourite sports will account for the impression you’ll make – an energetic, intelligent individual. Mention volunteering if you’ve done any – it will show that you’re serious and active in the community.
What to avoid? Any kind of controversial topic like politics or religion. What you talk about shouldn’t cast doubt over your work ethic, character or productivity. Strictly personal information is also not something you’ll want to share with the recruiter. Before you get too friendly and start to gossip, remind yourself where you are and what is at stake.
With all of the above in mind, prepare and rehearse your answer to ensure you put your best foot forward during your next job interview.
“I’ve always considered myself to be just average talent and what I have is a ridiculous insane obsessiveness for practice and preparation.” Will Smith
Want to discover your key personality strengths and the careers that match?
MyCareerMatch – The ultimate student career personality assessment – helps students connect who they are with what they’ll love to do; make the right decisions about their higher education, and write a winning resume that will get them a job. It encourages self-discovery and provides ‘must know’ information to plan for a successful and happy future.
About Our Guest Author
Kelly Smith works at CourseFinder, an Australian online education resource. She also provides career advice for students and job seekers and works as a freelance writer.