This is NOT a trick question…
…many candidates appear bewildered and befuddled because silently they are thinking, “Well, what do you want to know?” or “Where do I begin?” or “Why don’t you just ask me ‘specifically’ what you want to hear?” so let’s review what this question really reveals…
#1. Your Communication Style. If you are unable to clearly communicate about who you are, where you have been and your key skills and abilities in an effective manner; how can the interviewer expect you to clearly communicate about their products or services, effectively, once you are hired?
#2. Organized Communication. When you communicate in an organized, easy to follow manner, this demonstrates your ability to communicate in that same capacity once you are hired.
#3. Confidence. An individual that can exhibit a confident demeanor while expressing their work history will make a more significant first impression.
#4. Extended Conversation. It allows for the interview to take on a greater depth, and allows you to expand on accomplishments that correspond with the job posting. In other words, you get to sell yourself.
Most candidates self-sabotage their ability for success in this all important area by saying too much or saying too little or providing information that is of little value.
One of the most asked questions during the job interview is “Tell me about yourself…”, and it is the single greatest question posed when looking for a job, networking, and when meeting new people.
Maintain a chronological format and keep your reply under two minutes, practice, practice, practice, and continually evolve shorter versions for career fairs and networking events (also known as a 30-second commercial or sometimes called the “elevator pitch”).
Step 1: Start with your most recent position/role, state company name, your title, and job responsibility overview (one or two sentences) and a key accomplishment. Be brief. Your goal is to generate interest and you can expand further as the job interview progresses.
Step 2: Next, take the job interviewer back to the beginning of your career history (How I began my career…) and walk them forward (chronologically) back to your current position/role; (dates in this statement are not required) stating company name, position and job responsibility overviews, add a key accomplishment, here and there, that connect directly to the job posting. Tip: Bring a copy of the job posting with you to the job interview and use it for reference.
Make Connections For The Interviewer. “I accomplished…..and saw that you were looking for someone with this particular skill, expertise, etc., in the job posting…” or “This is where I gained the experience mentioned in your job posting.”
Step 3: Speak with confidence, enthusiasm, and practice so that you sound as though you actually did the work; avoid sounding as though you are uncertain as this will create a “red flag” for the hiring manager, recruiter, or job interviewer.
Avoid talking about hobbies, family matters, where you were in kindergarten etc., keep it professional. If you left the workplace for personal reasons (stay at home mom, caregiver, health, etc.) state something like; “I made a personal decision to leave the workplace to attend to family matters ( to further my education, care for my mother, etc.) .” Keep it simple. Focus on your skill and abilities and the job role. If you are confident about your choice; they will remain confident.