The first open-ended question every employee faces in an interview is “Tell me about yourself”. If you see it from the employer’s perspective, the question is pretty simple. There is no requirement of technical skills, real-life examples, or job-related knowledge. As much as this open-ended question seems easy, it can be the most challenging part of your interview.
If you are giving the interview for the first time, chances are you already have plenty of thoughts running across your mind. But, what do you say? How do you know what exactly the employer wants to know about you? Is it better to explain your job history or your unique talents? Or, should you stick to your personal details and life story?
In a little amount of time, you need to grab the employer’s attention by surprising them with a clear-cut introduction. A brilliant introduction can get you your favourite job. The question is “How do you come up with an introduction that is neither too ambiguous nor too short?” Let’s find out.
Nailing Your Interview With a Perfect Description About Yourself
An ideal answer to this question should be around 1-2 minutes long. The last thing you want is to have the employer stop you in the middle as you are going too far with a simple question. Sure, fitting all your great calibres and amazing portfolio in a 2-minute answer can be a challenging task. But, it gets easy when you only highlight the essential points, i.e. your achievements. A great reply to “tell me about yourself” will cover the following factors:
- What is your USP for the job: The employer receives hundreds of job applications. It gives them a large number of candidates to choose from. When an employer asks “tell me something about yourself”, they are expecting an answer that covers your knowledge and expertise. You need to convince the employee that you are the right fit for the vacant position by highlighting your skills, qualification, and training. Before you go for an interview, have a look at the job description and note all the qualifications required in your mind.
- Why do you want this position: Wrap up your introduction by answering why you are interested in a particular job position. There’s no need to stretch this part by explaining why you resigned from your previous job. It should only say how you feel this role is a perfect opportunity for you.
Tips to Answering ‘Tell me about yourself”
Whether you are appearing in your first job interview or you have been giving job interviews for a while, the following tips will help you to nail the interview with a perfect introduction.
Start With Your Introduction
You must start with a few sentences about yourself. Who you are personally and professionally. The statement should describe your personality and strengths. The most common mistake in this part is giving too much information about yourself. Instead of talking about your childhood and how you grew to become a technical professional or engineer, you need to keep it precise.
Share all Your Strengths and Qualifications that are required in the Job
You should never memorize the answer to this question. The best thing you can do is read the job description carefully and match your talent and knowledge with the required skills. Your employers are more interested in knowing how you stand out from the other applicants.
Make sure that your unique qualities and strengths can allure the employer into hiring you. Your employers focus mostly on your strengths and qualifications. So, make the most of your strength. Spell out all your skills, training, qualifications, and achievements.
Employers are way too smart not to catch you lying. Candidates get quite overwhelmed while answering this question. As a result, they end up sharing the attributes that they don’t actually possess. Sure, you want to answer the questions as brilliantly as possible. But does that mean you can add extra qualities and qualifications in your answer?
Well, no! You should never do that. Even the candidates with only a few qualities can attract the employer’s attention by presenting their answer confidently. Your interview will end the moment the employer catches you lying about your strengths.
Share Examples from Your Previous Jobs
To make your point more clear and genuine, you can share a few examples stating how you achieved your goals. Tell the employer about your accomplishments in your profession. Sharing your past work isn’t a bad idea as long as you don’t stretch it.
Mistakes to Avoid in the Introduction
So, the employer has asked ‘tell me something about yourself”. You prepared the answer well, but it couldn’t draw the employer’s attention. What could possibly be the reason for your rejection? Let’s find out:
- You shared your weird personal habits: Do you really think the employer is interested in knowing that you have a weird habit of chewing your nails? If that’s what you planned to speak in an interview, be ready to get kicked out.
- No generic responses: Why should the interviewer trust your word when they have other candidates sharing proofs of their skills? Responses like “I’m good at technical stuff” is not sufficient.
- Avoid Rambling: Another thing that frustrates the interviewer is rambling. Sure, you have achieved so much in the past. But that doesn’t mean you need to stretch your example and bore the interviewer. The interviewer must not think your qualifications are “talking too much”.
Remember that you have to finish the answer in 2 minutes and cover all the points. The only possible way to do that is by sticking to the mains and skipping the rest. Employers have a lot of candidates to listen to. They wouldn’t like you sharing your life stories for a simple question. The more precise and to-the-point you are, the higher the chances of your recruitment. Good Luck!