Pretty much the guaranteed question of every interview and somehow, the most dreaded. When I meet with my clients, this is what I always tell them. At the moment this question is asked, it will be the only time in your life where someone is asking you to speak about yourself and where the other person will actually listen. No one ever wants to hear you talk about yourself….except when in an interview. So enjoy it; have fun with it!
There are a few variations to how this interview question, “tell me about yourself”, can be asked. They might ask:
- Please introduce yourself
- Tell me some things that are not on your resume
- Tell me who you are and what brings you here today
Whatever the variation, they’re all the same; tell me about yourself. Here are some tips for conquering this question.
- This will most likely be one of the very few, if not the only, question asked where you can go a bit longer. Most answers you give will be in the 30-45 second range; maybe 60 seconds. This answer can be upwards of 90 seconds. The reason being is because you have their full attention. How you answer this question though will determine if you have they attention for the rest of the interview.
- Do not, I repeat, do not regurgitate your resume
- The interviewer already read your resume. They read it, they liked it, they invited you in to interview. At this point, your resume is garbage. Now, its all about you and your answers. Most people use this time to walk the interviewer through the resume and it ruins the rest of the interview. Please… don’t do this.
- Remember your answer in buckets
- You’re going to have a lot of your mind. Nailing this question though is the most important. You need to think of your answer as buckets. In bucket 1, you may have some previous experience related to the job. In bucket 2, it could be your current job. In bucket 3, its your certifications, new learnings, and why you feel you’re best for the role. Now, when you write out this answer, all you need to remember are the buckets and when you think of that bucket, you will know what’s inside of it.
- Be yourself!
- So many times, people come in to the interview all buttoned up and look totally stressed out. Relax! Be yourself. Ultimately, the company is going to hire you because they like you, not because you were “someone else.” And if they did do that, would you really feel comfortable? It’s okay to put a bit of personal into the answer. For example, I was not born in the state in which I currently reside. Sometimes, I like to open with that. It’s a simple thing to throw in, takes 2 seconds, and more often that not leads to the interviewer asking me more questions around it. It allows us to bond a bit around something that is not just work.
I have lead full workshops on just this question. Just reading these quick tips is definitely not enough, but I hope it’s different advice than what you’ve heard before. I’d be more than happy to do some coaching with you around this. Just reach out.