Question Guide: Tell me about yourself

people-apple-iphone-writingAfter the handshake, quick chat about the weather and first sip of coffee, in 99.8% of the time an interview will start with: So, tell me about yourself. You’re laughing now, but it could be the most important question thrown at you. Some of us don’t really know what the interviewer wants to know about you. Do they want to know about what you like to do socially or about your career? Do they need to know about that time when you– no, no they don’t. In this week’s question guide we’re going to give you a few tips on how to answer this obvious question.

Timing is everything

Keep it short, sweet, and chronological. It’s a good idea to prepare an answer of a minute to a minute and a half. The information should be in organized timeline form, start from point A and stay on track until point D, avoid wandering from one bit of information to the next like this: A – C – D – B. It may confuse the interviewer, as your CV is in front of them and if your information doesn’t stay consistent, it won’t look good.

Keep it minimal and relevant

Details aren’t needed, your grey tabby cat with a left green eye and right blue one is not as important as that company and position you held in the past. Drop subtle hints by talking about previous experiences which will be a great contribution to the job your discussing.

Don’t be negative

We all go through hard times, and after being pulled down so often you can feel like telling the story of you hardships and almost begging for the job – but this is never a good idea. Showing interest and enthusiasm is more important than the reasons you haven’t been able to get settled in enough. Negativity always brings a bad feeling, and starting the interview off with it can set an awkward or more negative impression.

Don’t think it’s all business

Your personality and interests are just as important as your work experience. Tell the interviewer about your love of adventure and hiking whenever you have time off. A brief history of how you ended up where you’re sitting now is what is needed.

While the interviewer is reading you, make sure you try to read them. How are they reacting to your responses? Do they look distracted or are their eyes wide in excitement with the story your telling? Reading their expressions can help guide your answers in the right manner.

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