HOW TO ANSWER THE TELL ME ABOUT YOURSELF INTERVIEW QUESTION
As a young person or fresh graduate from school, securing a job might be difficult especially if you do not have connection or know people in high places, it becomes a situation of being the best in the pool. Due to this, you begin to scout and search for job vacancies in every way possible, you make your CV look great and you begin to go from one organization to another dropping a copy of your CV because you never can tell which will work out.
If you’re not lucky enough, this search for job can take years, but if you are, you can get called up for interview within weeks of submitting copies of your CV. This is when the big task begins. Getting called up for interview is just a tip of the iceberg of your job scouting process, acing the interview and securing the job is the deal itself. How then do you pass the interview questions thrown at you like darts from the Human Resource Manager or whoever the interviewer is.
One of the questions that seem so simple yet difficult to answer in an interview is the question “Tell Me About Yourself” or “Let’s Meet You” or “Introduce Yourself”. This question has posed problems for interviewees especially fresh graduates who are just launching into the labour market. This question is quite tactical and will require you to do some practicing and thinking before going for the interview.
This is a question you would definitely be asked, so to better prepare you to give the right answer, you should first provide answers to these questions:
✓ What skills or qualities do you possess that will make you the best fit for the role you’re applying for?
Think on it and be able to point out these things that stand you out. To better help you note them, take a good look at the job description and it’s requirements then mark the ones you possess and be ready to build on it and pitch it as much as you can.
✓ Why do you want to fill the position?
Think on why you applied for the role and how it will help you in your career pursuit.
✓ Why the organization or industry?
Take time to research and know about the industry and the company, understand it’s visions and goals then be able to relate with your goals as an individual. Sell the story of how much you are interested in the organization or industry and how it aligns with your career goals.
How then do you answer the question?
✓ Talk about your professional self.
This question is not asking about your name, state of origin, country, age and such kind of personal details. It requires you to tell the professional story of who you are and what you’ve got that makes you a fit for the job. Talk about your experiences, your skills, your achievements and results to show at your past experiences and how they relate with the role you’re applying for.
In telling your professional story, ensure that whatever you say connects with the role and no matter how much experience you have, only speak about the ones that connect with the job. If you’re applying for the role of a Customer Service Representative and you have once worked as a teacher, sales representative and customer service agent, you should only talk about your experience as a customer service agent and perhaps as a sales rep too, the teacher role does not relate with the current role you’re applying for.
Also ensure that you do not sound programmed like a robot in telling your story, your interviewer is a human just like you are, so talk to him or her like one, give examples, be relatable but do not waste time.
✓ Talk about your strengths and abilities with examples.
You want to focus on your strengths and abilities, however, do not be vague in doing this, give examples to show that you have these strengths and have put them to work with quantifiable results to show.
✓ Start with your present or most current role as it relates with the position, this is because you do not have the luxury of time to tell long stories and as such starting from your first experience would be a bad idea especially when you have accrued many years of experience.
As earlier mentioned, you don’t want to bore your interviewer with long stories, this will be a bad omen for you. Starting with your most recent experience lets you talk on why you are capable for the role and also lets you display how you have grown and garnered skills over the years to apply for the job, so, even if you don’t eventually get the time to talk about your past experiences, you will have been able to do justice to the question.
Basic Dos and Don’ts to answering the Tell Me About Yourself question.
- Do not give a summary of your CV. Your interviewer has a copy of your CV handy already, you shouldn’t give the same content as contained in your CV, this is why you have to be human.
- Do not give personal details like your marital status, origin, etc.
- Do not give vague strengths and abilities.
- Do not sound rehearsed or programmed like a robot.
- Do ensure everything you say is connected with the role you’re applying for. Do not sound aloof.
- Do tell your professional story and be relatable.
- Give examples of instances where you have displayed your skills and abilities with tangible results.
- Avoid long story telling and wasting of time.
- Start with your most recent role as you do not have the luxury of time.
- Prepare and practice. This is necessary for every interview no matter the stage.