Your Guide to Answering "Tell Me About Yourself" in an Interview
If your goal in an interview is to stand out among the applicant pool and be memorable, tell your story from a passionate perspective, even if that touches on the personal territory.
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This introductory question serves as an icebreaker to lend an easy flow to the conversation. It helps the recruiter to get to know you in terms of hard and soft skills.
It’s a great opportunity to demonstrate that you can communicate clearly and effectively.
Interviewers want to know how your answer about yourself is relevant to the position and company you’re applying for.
This is an opportunity to articulate why you’re interested and how your objective fulfills their goals. In order to do that, spend some time researching the company. If your answers resonate with them, it shows that you really understand the role.
This isn’t the time to talk about your family and hobbies unless you believe that it would be relevant.
The norm in some countries might be to share personal details at this point. In the U.S. you should avoid doing so.
Don’t waste this time repeating every single detail of your career.
Think of it as a teaser that should attract the interviewer’s interest. Give them a chance to ask follow-up questions about whatever intrigues them most.
Think through what you want to convey about yourself ahead of time. See if the answer sounds solid and credible to you. Practice saying it out loud.
Be careful against reciting your spiel word-for-word. You don’t want to sound overly rehearsed. It is a conversation. Imagine yourself telling a story to a good friend.
Make sure you understand who you’re talking to. You might give a different answer to a recruiter than to a prospective boss.
View this as your first impression. Wait for a good time to mention something like being fired or laid off from a previous job. Do not speak bad about your previous employer. It is a big turn-off.
As most hiring decisions are made in the first minute, you might only have one chance to make a good first impression. It includes your greeting, handshake, eye contact, and the first thing you say.
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Interviewers ask questions like "tell me about yourself " to determine if you're qualified to do the work and if you will fit in with the team.
It might be a good idea to share something about yourself that is doesn't relate directly to your career.
For example, interests like running might represent that you are healthy and energetic. Pursuits like being an avid reader might showcase your intellectual leaning. Volunteer work will demonstrate your commitment to the welfare of your community.
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Experts prefer a short answer, as it has less chance of leading the candidate to drift or ramble.
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If you feel there is fog ahead of you due to opacity in the interview process and the multiple rounds, you can simply ask the next steps of the process and the timeline for a decision.
If you think the employer has an elongated set of rounds ahead, request to consolidate them if possible.
Instead of bluffing your way through a question that you are completely stumped with, it is better to be upfront and handle it with honesty and grace. Tell them straight away that you do not know the answer to this question and what similar things you have done which have been effective.
Your life experiences are unique and not identical to what the interviewer is trying to ‘slot’ you into.
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