Hack the “Tell me about yourself?” question

We are not going to shy away from this but most people find it extremely hard to pass this first and very crucial part of an interview. In the most realistic of senses talking about your self should be the easiest thing to do. We do it all the time, with our family, friends and even strangers. But the true challenge comes when you have to talk about yourself systematically and in a professional set up.

It is therefore very common that when this question is asked, respondents begin to shake and palms sweat.  Some respondents we have met start to blubber too much while others say too little and require some probing questions. We want to help you identify the magic in finding just the right balance; giving off just enough accurate information that will make you change from a potential candidate to an employee.

Do your research, focus, take the lead: Most often than not, employers are looking for an individual that has two things; capability to get the job done and values that merge with the company values. Spend some time reviewing the job description (JD) in and out. Figure out if you have what it takes to deliver as per the JD. Your skills are what drive you and your experiences are your proof that indeed your skills are viable for the job. Take a look at the company website page taking keen interest at the “About Us”. It is here that you will be able to get a vivid sense of the company in comparison to your personality. The major key here is not to have a list of everything you can do and all the experiences but building a general sense of what the interviewer is looking for.

Begin to tell your story: Start with a short list of three key pointers of your skills. One of the worst things you can do is to go through your qualifications and your cover letter content during this session. It is by default that the interviewer called you in because they had already looked at your qualifications and identified your potential.  See how you could do it;

  • “I am this….. (Introduce yourself giving a gist to your current/previous professional standing)
  • “I am skilled with…/I would like to describe myself as…” (Use descriptor professional language of your attributes and skills)
  • “In my experience… (With the time in your professional field; describe the things you have been able to do with the skill set you identified, majorly focusing on the things the interviewer wants to hear)

Close it up by: “I am confident I would be a great fit because…” (You could use the values you have merged together with the company values to give it a close knot).

An interview session like this is always desired by the interviewer because it tells them that you are precise and indeed know what you want without pouring all the unnecessary personal information unless asked. It shows that you can mix high level thinking with detail oriented presentation to the task ahead.