It’s safe to say, job interviews are as fun as taking part in a race walk with your friends. Yes, yes, we know it’s a really ‘cool’ sport, despite the fact it looks like you are walking fast to avoid your bladder exploding. Similar to the fun so many people experience on a daily basis run walking, it’s similar to the feeling we all get when an interviewer asks the question: “So, tell me about yourself”. The real question is: why do they do this to us? Well, it’s because the answer you give reveals more about you as a candidate than you might think.
If you come up with a good answer, it tells the interviewer that you can 1. Think on your feet, and 2. Understand the needs of the job and company you’re interviewing for. So, no pressure, your entire interview could depend on answering this one question. If you’re not sure how to even start answering it, don’t sweat it – as we have created the best tips you’ll need when answering the “So, tell us about you” question.
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Okay, so it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work this one out, does it? In the same way you are preparing for questions about your past and current studies, work experience and everything in between, preparing for this question can demonstrate to the interviewer that you prepared and find the company interesting.
In addition, that you have a good awareness of both yourself in a professional sense. Memorise an opening statement that you can deliver quickly and confidently. Avoid at all costs hesitating or stammering at this question.
Keep it short
Keep it short! Sounds easy, right? But once you gets started, you might lose yourself in the explanation for why you want this job. Best way to help yourself keep it short and sweet – think of a television commercial.
Speak for about 30 seconds and if you say something that the interviewer wants to go into more detail on, they will say this to you.
Make it all about them!
Okay, that’s easy. You are there to sell yourself as the answer to their problem: Which job candidate will be the biggest asset to their company, from the answer you and those others applying for the job give.
Information about your childhood, family life and leisure activities are not relevant to their companies mission. Information about your professional goals and aspirations, previous experiences both professionally and personally are relevant to their question. Also, provide a motivation on your application for the company.
Don’t just repeat what’s on your CV
This question includes letting them know – how you respond to an unexpected situation, which is what you’ll have to do everyday. Starting to miss those 2,000 word essays at university now? Instead of listing skills and what makes you amazing, talk to the interviewer about who YOU are as a person.
For the job you are applying for, there will be other candidates interviewed and the response they give to this answer will be compared to yours. (So, no need to worry). There are common mistakes to avoid and avoiding these will help you shine in your interview! However, there is one mistake you must not fall victim to:
Avoid flippant or meaningless answers
“Because I need the money” is not the best an answer. Yeah, you’ll probably want to ask about this, especially with being up to your eyeballs in student debt and the fact you have grown accustomed to food and the basic things you need to survive. But, it’s not the answer the interviewer is looking for. So leave financial gain out of your answer.
A better answer is to explain how this position will fit your skills set and allow you to advance your career and make that degree actually worth something. Some a win-win for the employer and a kinda win for you… if you like food and the basics to survive.
So there it is. In clear black and white. The formula you need for answering the trickiest of tricky questions in any job interview. Whether you are a graduate with three internships and a summer volunteering in Tanzania, or little to nothing to boast about from your time at university, this question shows the interviewer character. Not your skill set, but how you will add value to the team. Succeeding in answering this question properly, you’ll take one giant step towards a job offer.