Tell Me About Yourself

“Tell me about yourself”, is that ubiquitous interview question often dreaded by most candidates because it’s often presented as an open-ended inquiry.
Why Do Hiring Managers Ask This Question?

Understanding why this question is being asked is a good way to better answer this question. One thing is certain though, on the interviewer’s part, she isn’t trying to listen to your biography, or know where you had a drink last weekend. Very often, she wants to set the tone and pace for the interview and get a general idea about who you are, professionally, in your own words. She will also use this question as an introduction and depending on how you answer, it will lead to how she will frame her next question.

How you respond will give her an idea of your soft skills. She will want to tick the following: a good communicator, a confident and knowledgeable individual or a confident person. Best Practices For Answering This Question.

a. Write Out Your Winning Formula This is like crafting your sales pitch. The preparation of your formula is as important as presenting the speech itself. Start with writing out the skills and strengths most relevant to the hiring manager and this role. Then write out how your past experiences have brought out the best in you and close this with how this mix of your skills, strengths, and experiences will make you a very good fit for the role you are interviewing for.

You will find that you might need several revisions to have an excellent result. Make sure your response is tailored around the job role, have a very solid ending; and, think creatively about how your narrative will be different from that of the other candidate so it can stay memorable in the mind of the hiring manager.

b. Know Your Interviewer! While drafting your responses, you should also bear in mind who will be interviewing you. This is because the HR Manager, for instance, will be looking out for a more generic answer; the hiring manager will doubtless be interested in your specific skills and strengths; the CEO, depending on the role, will be concern about the proficiencies you will bring to the job and if you will be a good fit within the organizational culture.

When you know your audience, it will give you a fair idea of what is most important to focus on and how many sentences you can allocate to each section.

c. Practice! Practice!! Practice!!!
When you are done with a draft of your winning speech, the next thing to do is practice! With practice, you will be able to remember key aspects of your speech that will make your presentation come out as naturally as is conversationally possible without sounding monotonous and dull as is often the case with memorized content.

Some candidates will find it helpful to practice aloud in front of a mirror or have someone listen to their speech and provide feedback.

Once again, it is important to emphasize that your response should be tailored to the role you are applying for, it should be based on your past experiences and achievements in your previous place of work, and you should structure it in such a way that both you and your hiring manager will be able to remember the flow.

d. Be Focused & Time Conscious! Remember that “Tell Me About Yourself” is usually and ice-breaker and not an opportunity to relay your entire life biography. Your narrative should not exceed a maximum of three (3) minutes. This means that to keep it relevant, you can’t bore your listeners. Should there be something very interesting in your 3 minutes narrative, it will form the basis of your next question and probably set the pace for entire interaction.

The “Tell Me About Yourself” question is your first opportunity to make a lasting impression at your interview. To scale the entire interview, your response has to create sense in the mind of the interviewer; and it has to be structured in a simple to remember format, like past, present and future or personal, academic, work experience.

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