Or, how should you be answering the “tell me about yourself” question in a job Interview (and basically, all questions the employer asks)?
“So tell me about yourself.” Could this question be more vague? Does the employer want me to talk about my education or work experience? Or childhood? Am I a cat person or a dog person?
Fear no more! We will clear that up, so you never have to give poor, too-personal, boring, over-long, off-topic or monosyllabic answers to this fateful first interview question. Because, yes, there is a way to prepare your answers to that type of question that will not only impress your employer, but also elevate your candidacy above the other applicants.
Here’s a big secret about the job market: just because someone is interviewing you, does not mean this person is a human resource professional. Meaning, they may not know how to ask good interview questions, and how to reach the information they need. If you want to stand out, you need to feed the interviewer with quality answers so they can see how great an employee you would be, because chances are they won’t be able to see it with their questions printed off the Internet. Shocking revelation you think!!!!? Well, it is not for nothing that most universities offer a bachelor’s degree in HR…
There should be three parts to your answer:
- Statement of your professional situation and your career objective.
- Mention of a relevant professional accomplishment
- Ask a question for the employer
Ok, let’s take a closer look.
1. Statement of your professional situation and your career objective. Tell the employer who you are… as a professional. Use qualitative information. You are an accountant, what kind? What makes you superior? How do you do what you do? Then, add what is your professional objective. Why do you do what you do? What are you looking for in this career? Why do you want that job you are being interviewed for?
“I am an administrative coordinator focused on efficiency improvement techniques looking for an opportunity where I can use my exceptional organizational abilities.”
“I am a solution oriented sales analyst with a strong retail background. I just graduated from my master’s degree in marketing and am looking for a new opportunity in a growing organization.”
2. Mention of a relevant professional accomplishment. You are an administrative assistant who answered the phone and managed the mail? Well, guess what, all administrative assistants do those same tasks. What is interesting for an employer to know, is what have you accomplished for your former employer by doing those tasks. What’s an accomplishment? It can be a project, an activity, a way of working, but it’s either one those three things:
– You made the organization gain money
– You prevent the organization from losing money
– You created or changed a process making the organization save money or time
“During the first six months that I was working there, I completely changed the internal communication system, making the office general productivity increase by 10%.”
“We had an objective of increasing sales by 5% every year. In 8 years, I managed to get my department to an average of 10% growth per year, which really impressed my employer.”
3. Ask a question for the employer. As seen our previous article “How and when to ask question in a job interview”, you need to ask questions to the employer from the start of the interview. You want to create a dialogue in order to gain confidence, interest your interviewer and discover if the job is really what you are looking for. You can refer yourself to the full article for a long and wide explanation on the topic.
“So, I am interested to know what percentage of this job regards general management?”
“Can you tell me more about the growth potential and objectives of this company?”
Simple and efficient. You can now prepare in advance some answers for those tricky and vague questions. By using these simple techniques, you ensure that the interviewer – qualified or not – will have plenty of tangible material to remember your candidacy and why they should hire you.