Job interviews can be nerve-wracking, and the most common question that often catches candidates off-guard is “tell me about yourself.” It’s a seemingly straightforward question, yet many people struggle with it. This question is not only an opportunity to introduce yourself to the hiring manager but also a chance to sell yourself and make a great first impression. In this article, we’ll share tips from a CEO and executive recruiter on how to best answer this question and add value to your interview.
1. Keep it brief and to the point
It’s important to remember that the interviewer is not looking for your life story; they want to know how you can benefit their organization. Start by introducing yourself and giving a brief overview of your background, skills, and experience relevant to the position you’re applying for. There’s no need to go into every detail; keep your response to about two minutes or less.
2. Highlight your strengths and accomplishments
The best way to stand out from other candidates is to identify your unique strengths and accomplishments. Share a brief story or two that showcase your achievements and skills, making sure they align with the job description. For instance, if you’re applying for a sales position, talk about a time when you exceeded your targets or achieved a significant deal. This will show the interviewer that you’re capable of delivering results.
3. Explain why you’re interested in the job
It’s crucial to show enthusiasm and passion for the role you’re applying for. After sharing your background and skills, explain why you’re excited about this job and how it aligns with your career goals. This will demonstrate that you’ve done your research and are genuinely interested in the position.
4. Avoid generic responses
Avoid giving a generic response that could apply to anyone. Instead, make your answer personal and unique. Share something that the interviewer wouldn’t know from your resume or cover letter. This could be a hobby that you’re passionate about, a volunteer experience that shaped your worldview, or a personal accomplishment that you’re proud of.
5. Practice, practice, practice
Lastly, practice your response to “tell me about yourself” before your interview. Record yourself or practice in front of a mirror, so you get comfortable with your delivery and can make adjustments. You don’t want to sound like you’re reading from a script or be too scripted. Your response should be natural, conversational, and focused on your strengths, accomplishments, and enthusiasm for the job.
The “tell me about yourself” question is an opportunity to make a great first impression on the interviewer. Practice your response, keeping it brief, highlighting your strengths and accomplishments, explaining your interest in the job, and making it personal and unique to you. Remember, a great response to this question requires self-awareness, confidence, and enthusiasm. By following these tips, you will be well-prepared to ace the “tell me about yourself” question in your next job interview!