How to Answer the ‘Tell Me about Yourself’ Question in an Interview

By Relebohile Sera

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There are certain questions that are bound to come up in job interviews regardless of your industry, experience level or job type and one of those is the “Tell Me About Yourself” question.

Most hiring managers prefer this question as it gives them a hindsight on how well prepared you are for the job interview. If you prepare properly it won’t be that much of a hassle trying to decipher what the hiring manager actually means by this question.

The question is an opportunity for you to set the tone for the job interview by emphasizing the points that you want the hiring manager to mostly know about you. It is often asked at the beginning of the interview so the hiring manager’s first impression of you will be on how well you answer it.

This, however, isn’t a question whereby you go about reciting your CV, instead try a brief, fervent answer that sums up your big-picture fit for the job opening to fill.

Think of this question as your elevator pitch. You need to sell yourself as the perfect fit for this position and you will do that in about a minute or two.

You therefore won’t be able to fit all the details on your CV in those two minutes so it is important to prepare on how to present yourself in a way that starts the interview on the right note.

 

There are three ways in which you can answer the ‘Tell Me About Yourself’ question and they are listed below:

  1. Who you Are

Firstly tell the hiring manager who you are professionally; outline your strengths and successes. Keep it in mind that every response you give out should be in line with the job position you intend to fill.

  1. Your Expertise

It’s not always that the hiring manager will closely read your CV therefore take them through your qualifications and experience. Use this question to give out a few points that you think make you stand out.

  1. Why You Are Here

End by telling them you want the position and why.

 

The secret to responding to this question is by focusing, following your script and practicing.

Focus

Focus on strengths that are relevant to this position which you want the hiring manager to know about before you leave.

Follow Your Script

Prepare a script that includes the information you want to communicate.  Put it in the exact order in which you want to present it at the job interview; beginning with your past experiences and proven success, then your strengths and abilities and lastly a statement about your current situation.

Practice

Practice with your script until you are confident about what you want to highlight in your response. The script is meant to help you stay on track, but make it a point not to memorize it as you don’t want to sound stiff and rehearsed. Make it sound natural and conversational.

 

It is also important to keep in mind that you will get a chance later to walk through your CV so use the 2 minutes in hand to give out information that will make you stand out the most.

Take some time and plan how you will respond to this question in your next interview.

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