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How to answer “Tell me about yourself” in an Interview

There is no doubt that this is the most asked question in almost all interviews. Most of the recruiters use this question as an opening to the interview conversation as it gives them a starting point to know you better.

The good part of this question to the candidates is that, it prepares them to handle the interview well as it help to make them comfortable and keep the flow as more questions comes on their way.

But most people get tongue-tied on this one. I’m just wondering why? But For one thing is that, they don’t know where to start.

They are left wondering on how to start explaining about them — The question is.... Should you go back to childhood? Should you discuss your personal life? Should you give dates?

Well, here use the rule of thumb, “Stick to business,” and emphasize anything pertinent to the particular job you’re interviewing for.

Let’s get back to business;

here is a sample on how to answer to the question:

Hi, my name is Allen Joseph. I am extremely interested in the Marketing Executive position that was recently advertised on Daily News 25th June 2015.

I have master’s degree from University of Harvard and 4 years of experience in sales and marketing research which I attained while working with East African Breweries.

My real strength is my attention to detail. I pride myself on my reputation for following through and meeting deadlines. When I commit to doing something, I make sure it gets done, and on time.

Going forward I want to work in a challenging marketing role and your organization is one in which I believe I could settle down and make a real contribution.

However, you may answer this question in a different way by covering your work experience, educational qualifications and a little information about your family background.

But, the most important part is you should try to focus on key areas of your work while talking about your professional experience.

The best part to this question is that, it’s an open ended question and can help you in taking the interview in which ever direction you want it to go.

Let’s see how other experts have tackled this question;

According to Job-hunt.org in an article written by — Laura DeCarlo. 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).

Then, in the interview, you tell them the things that emphasize how your accomplishments and experience make you an ideal candidate for the job you are seeking.

Read more here on how they answer This Job Interview Question: Tell Me about Yourself

Even Forbes has an article on How to Answer the Question 'Tell Me about yourself!” 
According to them, what do you say when they ask you to talk about yourself? You have to start with your childhood then proceeds with where you are now in your career.

Here's an example from Business Insider on the Best Way to Answer When an Interviewer Says 'Tell Me about Yourself'

"I am a five-year veteran of LAN/WAN administration and systems engineering, with substantial experience using a variety of contemporary business software systems.

"Recently, as a long-term contract employee at a local regional bank, I learned that the bank was about to install a particular software system and was planning to use an outside firm for the project. I let them know that I had done a similar installation at my last assignment, outlined how we could get the job done with in-house staff, and successfully completed the installation for $55,000 to $65,000 less than it would have cost with outside consultants.

"For the next step in my career, I would like to move away from contract work and find myself as a direct employee of a large firm where I can join a substantial IT team and be involved with a group that focuses on email and network security applications, while having access to the knowledge base that would come with a large, diverse IT group."

Tell us, what is your response when asked this type of question in an interview?

For more about handling behavioral interviews, panel interviews, and telephone interviews, as well as preparing for job interviews, click here for more articles

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Jobsinrwanda Blog - is a Job search advice blog from recruiting experts. Learn how to write a cover Letter, Resume and how to answer common interview question.
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