Tell Me About Yourself

What is the Interviewer Really Asking??

The ultimate goal for this interview is to find out enough about you to judge if you’re a safe fit for the job vacancy that they are being paid to fill. In most cases, they want to like you.

Their life will be easier if they can find a great candidate immediately. However, they are also on the lookout because a wrong hire will show poorly on their judgment and possibly be a mark against them when it comes time to ask for a hike or promotions.

They are hoping that this question will get you talking. This question is almost always asked first, right after some chat about traffic and the weather.

Sharing too little information or too much you aren't a great idea. The interviewer obviously doesn't want to know everything about you as they also are short of time, but disclosing too little can make them ponder why you aren't much open.

One option for your answer is to tell some of your personal interests which don't relate directly to your career. Examples might include a hobby which you are enthusiastic about like swimming, sudoku, cycling, singing, cricket, reading, etc.

Remember, as with "tell me something about yourself," one of the prime objectives of this question is to get to know you a little bit beyond your career and on-the-job attitude and experience.

The three components that you should follow to master this "Tell Me About Yourself" hurdle that interviewer throws first up are as follows:

1. Who You Are — The first sentence should be an introduction of yours, whom you are as a professional, a summarized statement that describes your strengths and shows a little sense of your personality as well. Though this is not as easy to do gracefully on the fly. It requires to prepare a bit in advance.

Good: “I’m an innovative Business Analyst with 5 years of experience managing all aspects of the analytical functions — from collecting data to preparing case studies — for xyz companies.”

Concisely summarizes diverse background.

Bad: : “Well, I grew up in West Bengal. As a kid, I basically wanted to be a plumber, then later became interested in finance. I did well in the commerce from early on, coming first in my seventh-grade science fair. Long story on that…”

Way too much information.

2. Expertise Highlights — Don’t assume that the interviewer has completely gone through your resume and knows everything about your qualifications. Use your smooth tone to briefly highlight 2-4 points that you think make you stand out.

Good: “I have spent my last six years for xyz Inc innovating my works as a product manager, where I have accomplished many performance awards and been promoted. I like leading teams and rectifying customer queries.”

The emphasis here is on experience, enthusiasm, and proof of performance.

Bad: : “My first job was as an HR Manager for xyz in New Jersey, USA. I received a great deal in that role that served me well over the next 4 years. At the time, I wasn’t certain about my career path, so I next took a position selling merchandise. I only served for three months, but I sure loved it.”

Zzzzzzz. Nobody cares about your first job 10 years before. You are beginning with the least effective part of your career and the interviewer is likely to tune out before you get to the good stuff.

3. Why You’re Here — Conclude by telling them you want the position and why.

Good: “Although I am liking my current position, I feel I’m now ready for a more challenging responsibility and this position really amazes me out.”

Concise and positive.

Bad: : “Because of the company’s financial problems and its instability, I’m worried about my job security and decided to start looking for new opportunities.”

Don’t be too frank or you risk coming across as negative. This answer also makes it seem like you’re interested in a job, any job — not this job in particular.

A genuine interview is a discussion, not a speech. Keep it short and give your interviewer the chance to dive in and ask questions.

What Not to Say When You Respond

Also, you should not share any personal information about your family. There is no need at all to discuss wives, companions, kids, or any other strictly personal information. Here are some of the things you should never say during a job interview.

Practicing your answer, again and again, will be the key to success in your next job interview, so break out the mirror and a stopwatch and go for it.