Question 1. Tell me about yourself.
“Tell me about yourself” is a very common question, but it is also the question which most candidates do not do well on. The challenge is because it is normally the first question asked, job candidates miss an important opportunity to make a great first impression.
The good news is with some preparation and a lot of practice, you make a phenomenal first impression by answering this question well.
First, what not to do:
- Do not recite your resume or academic transcript. The interviewer can read your resumé.
- Do not ramble an answer. Since this is a very common question, candidates are expected to have a good, concise answer. Being caught-off guard with this question without a good answer shows recruiters that a candidate did not prepare properly.
- Do not give a common, boring response. Excite me. Interest me. You’re talking about yourself, so take the opportunity and promote yourself as to why the recruiter should hire you.
So, with that in mind, what should you say? Here are some ideas and tips:
- Talk about your passions. Why did you chose the degree you did at university? Why did you chose this career path. Let me get to know you beyond the resume and academic transcript.
- Talk about your goals. Why are you here? What about you and your personality excites you about my company and this job?
- Pick one or two KEY things and achievements about your background–the things that best define you and put you in the best light–and tell me about it. Don’t take too long, and as I said earlier, don’t tell me everything in your background. Just pick the two things you want me to know about you. What accomplishments are you most proud of? What defines you as a person? What motivates you? What was your best experience so far? Tell me that. And remember, it doesn’t have to be exclusively on the professional front. Some of the best answers I have heard from job candidates is when there were telling me about being captain of a sports team or a community group they were involved in. The important thing to remember is that your examples should show why you are a special and unique person I need to hire.
- Share your dreams and ambitions. Tell me an interesting story.
- Since this is a very common question, practice, practice, and then practice some more. Write out some ideas of key stories from your background, and then practice telling your story in a concise and entertaining manner. I strongly recommend practicing this with friends and family, and get their honest and candid feedback on your response. Be sure to ask what you can do better. Then try again.
- Keep the answer to a couple of minutes.
- Watch the body language of the interviewer. Are they interested in what you are saying? Are they smiling and listening intently?
The most important thing about this question is to make the recruiter like you. By sharing an enthusiastic story, speaking with passion about your experiences and yourself, you will be highly likable and most importantly, memorable.
The good news is since most people give a boring summary of their resume, you really have the opportunity to stand-out by being different and telling a story which is interesting and exciting.
At a young age, I had a passion for technology, so when it came to select a course of study at my university, computer science was a natural decision. I have enjoyed studying for the past four years, and now look forward to not only continuing this education but also delivering world class solutions for companies. Outside of work, I enjoy group activities such as football and music.