Often times, the first question asked after taking a seat to begin your interview is the dreaded “Tell me about yourself” statement. It becomes a question because it now requires that you give an answer. Often times, how this question is answered determines the whole outcome of the interview, either positively or negatively.
This open ended question is tricky because the job seeker is now thinking of what about. Do you talk about your time in secondary school, or how you grew up in Ibadan? Do you talk about where you worked before and why you are here now?
What exactly do you talk about? You do not know what the interviewer wants to hear, so it’s almost difficult to have the right answer. We’ll share a few tips on how to go on answering this awfully dreaded question.
- Talk about what makes you stand out, what’s unique to you. Talk about your intellectual ability. If there’s any training or certification that you have, here’s where you talk about it.
“I have a great affinity for details and I also possess excellent written and oral communication skills. My cognitive flexibility also makes it easy for me to learn and execute tasks. I’m all for personal development, that is why I have taken courses in project management and I have certificates to show for it”
- Talk about your experience, or specialization or skill that you might have.
“I have an accumulative one year experience in the fashion industry and I have a good knowledge of a wide range of used for effective service delivery”
- Focus on your strengths and abilities and support them with examples.
“I have excellent drafting, presentation, contract documentation and negotiation
skills. During my time at XYZ, I was in charge of a communication channel which the company used and I also supervised the execution of a company project. ”
- If you have personal achievements or awards, talk about them here
“In 2015, I was staff of the year at XYZ”
The Idea is to keep it short and simple, so use a TWO-MINUTE rule when you want to answer this question. It helps you summarize your sentences and talk about important things only.
What are the things you should avoid talking about?
- Avoid personal information. No interviewer wants to know the number of your siblings or the size of your family.
- Avoid any talk about political views or sensitive issues.
- It’s not the time to tell the company how they can greatly benefit from you.
It all boils down to what you want the interviewer to remember about you. Don’t forget to send an email after the interview.