Most people get nervous before interviews. And nerves can cause you to stumble through even the most fundamental interactions.
That’s why the tell me about yourself interview question is the hardest part of the interview for some job seekers. It often comes first, and it’s mystifying.
That’s why you need to prepare. It bothers so many people in the interview process as a lot runs through their mind, as they wonder what the interviewer really wants to know and what information they should include.
When an interviewer says, “Tell me about yourself,” the interviewer wants information that is pertinent to the job you’re interviewing for.
While it may sound like the hiring manager has asked for your life story, they don’t want to hear a long-winded, aimless tale. As they already have the bulk of your professional narrative in front of them, in the form of your resume.
A formula I really like to use is called the Present-Past-Future formula. So, first you start with the present—where you are right now. Then, talk on the past—a little bit about the experiences you’ve had and the skills you gained at the previous position. Finally, finish with the future—why you are really excited for this particular opportunity.
Let me give you an example:
If someone asked, “tell me about yourself,” you could say:
“Well, I’m currently an account executive at Philips industry, where I handle our top performing client. Before that, I worked at an agency where I was on three different major national healthcare brands. And while I really enjoyed the work that I did, I’d love the chance to dig in much deeper with one specific healthcare company, which is why I’m so excited about this opportunity with Ogsone Health Centre.”
Remember throughout your answer to focus on the experiences and skills that are going to be most relevant for the hiring manager when they’re thinking about this particular position and this company. And ultimately, don’t be afraid to relax a little bit, tell stories and anecdotes—the hiring manager already has your resume, so they also want to know a little more about you.
While this is often among the first questions asked at the start of the interview, the goal of the interview is not to become best friends. The goal is to determine if you are good, fit for their job.
This question may come disguised as, “What should I know about you?” or they might say, “What would you like me to know about you.”
Like the “Why should we hire you?” question, this is an opportunity to market yourself, presenting yourself as the solution (right candidate) for their problem (a job to fill). So, tell them the things that emphasize how your accomplishments and experience make you an ideal candidate for the job you are seeking.
Author: Temitayo Olojede | Career Advisor | Job mandate | email@example.com