Tell me about Yourself
Most of us think we know exactly what to say when an interviewer asks “Tell me about yourself”. After all, we know about ourselves for quite some time now, isn’t it? Don’t believe me? Try answering the question in your head right now. Stop reading and do it. Seriously.
Though the question is simple, it is painfully difficult to verbalize it clearly and briefly, isn’t it? I know. Interviewers and hiring experts opine that most unsuccessful candidates utterly disappoint them with a bland answer to this question.
Keep the following guidelines in mind and you can fare through it.
1. Know what not to tell
We all feel sentimental about our mother, our pet dog and the beauty of our hometown. But, some of us include that information while telling about themselves. Don’t.
You have to sell yourself for a potential employer. Remember that you are in a professional setting and need to stay relevant. As friendly as the interviewer seems to be, do not give irrelevant information.
The answer must be relevant to your professional life. Don’t go into unnecessary details about every career step. Answer the question briefly and correctly. Give clues to the employer about what you want to be asked.
Listening is a rare skill, but during interviews it becomes more important. It helps you in answering the question being asked instead of blurting out random sentences. You may think the question is just ‘Tell me about yourself’.
Pay close attention. Every question is asked differently. You need to respond relevantly.
Did they just take your name and say your internship is interesting and then proceeded to ask you to tell about yourself? Then you should not start with “My name is blah” because, they already got that.
You can talk briefly about the things they mention before they ask you the question. Then proceed to give an introduction.
Most of us underestimate the effect of nervousness on our ability to answer a question under pressure. Rehearsing the answer will help you navigate the question flawlessly despite being stressed.
‘Tell me about yourself” will be asked within the first few minutes of the interview. Rehearsing will enable your subconscious to say something proper when your conscious brain will not be able to handle things under pressure.
If you have experienced stage fright at least once in your life, you know what I am talking about. You and I know that there is a lot of difference between knowing the answer to a question and flawlessly verbalizing it to an impressive degree.
Rehearsing will ensure that most of your mental energy is not spent in trying to frame your thoughts into intelligible sentence structures. You can then pay attention to the content of what you say and pay attention to the interviewers.
Besides, there are a million things about the job process that we can’t control. But one thing you and I know for sure is that, there is going to be a ‘Tell me about yourself’ question. If you don’t show pro- activeness and at least prepare for it, then you are not giving your 100%.
4. Many versions
The answer to the question must look unrehearsed and natural, even though you rehearsed it with a script. When you by heart only one answer, you can’t stay relevant if the situation or question is slightly tweaked.
Never forget that your answer must be relevant to the question being asked. That is why you must practice multiple ways of answering the same question.
While practicing different answers, think of different ways in which the questions might be posed to you. This will help you in becoming mentally prepared if the interviewer tweaks the question a little.
5. Style of delivery
No matter how prepared you are, if you don’t concentrate on the style of delivery, you might speak like a robot who by hearted an answer or worse- appear under prepared and incompetent.
Style of delivery includes good body language and diction. Be audible and speak clearly without speaking too fast or too slow. Maintain eye contact and make sure your hand gestures are neither too loud nor non- existent.
This comes naturally with years of practice. Otherwise it needs conscious mental attention which you can give only if you followed all the previous steps.
6. Know how to end
The most awkward part of answering “tell me about yourself” is when a candidate doesn’t know how to end it perfectly. There is a sweet spot where you must stop to nail the answer.
Dragging it beyond a point or abruptly pulling the breaks on your answer will make the answer weak. You can end it in a couple of ways:
1. Tell them you can speak further during the course of the interview. “That’s it. I’m hoping we’ll speak a bit more in a moment.”
2. Ask them if they want to know anything in specific. “Do you want me to speak about anything in detail?”
As unpredictable as the interview process might be, you must always do your part. Leave no stone unturned. You can read about the tips to ace a telephonic interview, your resume blunders and general career guidance tips at All India Jobs Page.
All India Jobs wishes you all the best!