The corporate world is full of opportunities. It is also saturated with relevantly experienced professionals seeking those opportunities. Landing our dream jobs is getting more competitive with every passing day. In such a landscape, landing a job interview seems like a victory of sorts. However, this is only half the battle won. After all, your resume can get you only so far. Cracking the interview requires an intricate blend of communication skills, self-confidence, and knowledge. Today, I am going to talk about the most mystifying interview question – Tell me something about yourself.
Usually asked as the ice-breaker by the interviewer, this question is considered as the hardest part of the interview by most job seekers.
- What am I supposed to say?
- Which aspect of my life do I talk about?
- What is the ideal length of the answer?
- Should I talk about my strengths and weaknesses or family or education?
The list is virtually endless. In this article, I will try to de-mystify the ‘Tell me something about yourself’ question and give you some tips to offer an impactful answer to the interviewer.
What does the interviewer mean when he says – Tell me something about yourself.
Before we analyze the question, I want you to understand that your entire interview is nothing but an elaborate answer to the question: Tell me something about yourself. Think about it; the questions asked during any interview surround details regarding your previous experiences, education, family, hobbies, skills, etc., right? In essence, the interviewer is simply trying to know more about you?
Why do you think this question is asked upfront then?
First, this is an unstructured question. This means that there is no right answer for the: Tell me something about yourself question. Hence, the interviewer assesses your ability to create a structured answer about your life.
But, does he want to know about your entire life?
No. He wants to know about your professional personality and understanding of the role that you are applying for. Remember, the answer to this question requires a balance between WHAT you say and HOW you say it.
WHAT should the answer include?
Remember to talk about your professional life with little anecdotes from your personal life sprinkled in to add uniqueness to your answer. Here’s an example:
If you are applying for a Regional Manager – Sales (Gujarat and Maharashtra) position, then you can add some information that can help you explain your understanding of the region. So, you can say:
‘I have traveled Gujarat and Maharashtra extensively during my college days since I was the captain of the college football team.’
This sentence establishes the fact that you are aware of the culture of the region + you have been a sportsperson + you have managed people before + you know how to structure your answer based on facts.
Remember, DO NOT MAKE THINGS UP in your answer. Honesty is the best policy while answering the question: Tell me something about yourself. Some tips:
- Focus on your professional life
- Talk about your achievements in context to the answer. Don’t fill the answer with a bullet list of success stories from your life.
- Prepare your answer to be in sync with the skills and requirements listed in the job description
- Add a personal touch to your answer
HOW should I answer?
Since it is an unstructured question, many interviewees fumble while answering it. This happens when they are not prepared for the question. On the other extreme, some interviewees memorize the answer and recite it like a robot. Not good.
We all know that the first impression is a long lasting one. The answer to this question will establish your first impression on the interviewer. Here are some tips:
- Sound articulate and confident
- Ask for clarifications, if needed
- DO NOT repeat the information from your resume
- DO NOT sound robotic
- Smile – it goes a mile
- Maintain a relaxed body language
The interviewer is trying to assess many aspects of you like
- Professional expertise
- Interpersonal skills
- Team player qualities
- Communication skills
- Can you think on your feet?
Your answer to the question – Tell me something about yourself – should help him identify these aspects in the least possible time.
Change Ur Story Interview Coaching
At Change Ur Story, we understand the importance of the dreaded question – Tell me something about yourself – during an interview. Our Interview Coaching program helps you create a personalized plan to deal with questions about yourself along with a coaching session, mock interview session, feedback, follow-up, and assistance on the day of the interview. Our experts can guide you to assess the interviewer’s mind when he asks you questions so that your answer hit the bull’s eye.
If you want to make a lasting impression in your next interview and land yourself the dream job, then drop us a line and let’s get started.
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