Are you ready to “Tell me about yourself”?
True story: I was speaking with a man who is the Chief Financial Officer of a company in downtown Chicago. We were talking about interviewing and he told me that he had recently conducted interviews to select and hire a Controller. He said he always starts interviews with “Tell me about yourself,” and to his surprise, a couple of the candidates weren’t prepared for this very predictable question. In his memorable words, their answers were “piles of mush.”
Don’t let this happen to you.
Everything you say in an interview should be a “commercial” for product “You,” building your case for why you’re the perfect candidate for the job. The “Tell me about yourself” question at the beginning of an interview is your first chance to begin selling yourself to your potential future boss. Don’t squander the opportunity by being unprepared. Don’t just wing it.
Although the question may feel like an ice-breaker, not part of the “real” interview, preparing your “Tell me about yourself” answer is just as important as preparing for the rest of the interview.
Get the interview off to a great start with a strong, positive statement about your professional qualifications, specifically tailored to the requirements of the job you’re interviewing for. What are the most important things you want the interviewer to know about you? Incorporate those things into your answer. And once you’ve got a great answer written, memorize it and practice saying it out loud. Really. You want to be able to deliver a memorized answer that doesn’t sound memorized and that takes practice.
Having a great answer for the “Tell me about yourself” question will get the interview off to a great start and create a positive first impression in the mind of the hiring manager. Plan what you’re going to say, prepare the answer carefully and practice, practice, practice. It’s an investment in your success!
Kimberly Hanes is a writer with a passionate love for words and ideas, with extensive experience in business communications and event planning.
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