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Answering the Tough Question: “Tell Me about Yourself…”

By Denisa Baltat on October 22nd, 2014 in Employment Tips | Join the conversation

The questions “Tell me about yourself” or “Walk me through your resume” are all too common in most interview scenarios. It may seem simple; since no one knows more about yourself than you, but make no mistake, you should build a strategy even when answering these types of questions.

We all know how easy it is to ramble and quickly loose the interest of our audience. It’s very important to stay on point and have a list of categories you would like to support and emphasize in your answer. No matter the job or the industry, every employer wants to know if you are a good fit for the company and if you are capable to do the job. Therefore, the two main categories that every answer should emphasize are:

Fit:

This is the part where the interviewer wants to know how you fit in with the company’s current team and if your goals and values are in line with those of the company. Building rapport with the interviewer may show them that you are a candidate that will fit in well with the rest of the team. Showing you are flexible, approachable and a team player can also help you in this category.

Capability:

Showing you are capable to do the job and have the right qualifications is one of the most important categories of your answer. It’s the whole reason you are interviewing for the position; to show you can do the job and do it well. This is where you outline some of your education and the most important skills you have and that are needed for the job.

Other categories that should be included in your answer will vary by industry and will depend on the type of position. To determine these categories you will need to do some research on the company and the requirements for the job. Overall, here are a few tips you should remember:

Keep it short and to the point – You don’t have to tell the interviewer your whole life story, so make sure you stay on track with you categories. The ideal length for these answers is up to 5 minutes, so if you are a student or a recent graduate your answer should be roughly 3 minutes long.

Predict shortcomings – If you have a gap in your experience that you think may raise concerns during your interview, take time to refute those concerns during your answer. Give examples that show how you overcame those gaps in the past.

Build a story – Just because the answer is concise, it doesn’t mean it’s supposed to sound like a recited list of points. Your answer should sound like a story and captivate your audience, in this case the interviewer.

Ask for the job – Make sure you clearly express your excitement and eagerness for the job right from the very beginning. You have to remember you are competing with other candidates for the position.

For more help with your interview preparation, contact your employment coordinator today.


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