Tell me about yourself - a question that is being asked at almost every interview. It should be the easiest question to answer, yet it’s usually the hardest one.
What, exactly, should you share - not just to build rapport, but to show that you’re the perfect fit for the job?
I want to start with 3 most common mistakes most people make when answering this question.
REHASHING YOUR CV
It’s important to remember that tell me about yourself is not an invitation to recite your entire life story or even to go bullet by bullet through your CV. I’ve heard so many people answering this question by launching into a recitation of their CV from the very beginning. That can turn into a very long monologue that starts with one’s oldest (and probably least relevant and impressive) experience. And by the time you get to the important information, your interviewer is probably thinking about something else. Keep in mind that the interviewer has already looked at your CV, so it’s a great idea for you to add some new points or expand on certain experiences.
BEING TOO MODEST
Many of my clients make the mistake of being too modest. They reply with a humble or vague introduction that fails to clearly communicate their strongest skills. As you know the competition for any job is fierce, so don’t want to rely on the interviewer to see past your humble exterior and figure out how great you are.
NOT HAVING A PREPARED ANSWER
I have watched a surprising number of smart candidates completely struggling answering this question because of overthinking. Their answers sounds something like this: “Do you want me to talk about my job experience or about my academic background or what kind of information are you looking for?”
Yes the question tell me about yourself can be interpreted in many different ways. However, asking for too much clarification only makes you look hesitant and confused. You need to have your answer prepared in advance and practice before the interview until you feel confident about what you want to emphasise in your statement.
OK, so now when I covered the most common mistakes, let’s talk about the perfect way to answer this question. First of all, you should think about it as a sales pitch. Keep it focused and short, ideally no more than 2 minutes.
I want to share the Tell Me About Yourself answer formula that I teach my clients.
Your answer should contain these 3 components:
Start with who you are — your first sentence should be an introduction to who you are professionally, an overview statement that shows off your strengths and gives a little sense of your personality too.
Next highlight your skills and abilities but make sure you are only mentioning the skills are relevant to the job position you are applying for.
And finally add something that makes you unique, think about your unique experience and what you can offer that others can’t. Follow this formula and you will be well on your way to creating a perfect answer to tell me about yourself question.
If you wish to learn how to answer other tough interview questions (including what is your weakness? and what makes you unique?) and increase your chances of passing an interview, download a FREE GUIDE below.