Finally, the recruiter calls you in for an interview with the hiring manager. This is not the time to be shy… now is the time to illustrate relevant skills and work experience to get to the next stage.
First things thing, make sure professionally written copies of your cover letter and resume are readily available in your portfolio… a simple common sense mistake many partake in.
After days of mentally and physically preparing, you walk into the conference room anxiously waiting for the interview to begin. Hiring manager, Tom, introduces himself and starts the session. After a typical introduction, Tom looks up and asks: “tell me about yourself.”
Suddenly your hands begin to sweat profusely because you didn’t anticipate on being asked this question. Crazy and doubt-adding “self-talk” bounces around, only to make matters more stressful.
Before “telling more about you,” and potentially embarrassing yourself, let’s take a moment for a quick course on how to respond effectively. After all, there is a specific way to answer the question “tell me about yourself.” There’s also a few not so-good ways.
When it comes to the not-so good ways, you need to know what’s really going on. First of all, do not give personal information such as age or number of children. Don’t mention any hobbies that are NOT related to the job or company. “Tom” does not care if you enjoy cocktails by the poolside or perform karaoke on Friday nights at Applebee’s.
Truth is: Too much or irrelevant information rarely results in positive outcomes.
On this note, Tom definitely wouldn’t want you to answer his request by asking one of your own: “What do you want to know about me?” Answering in such a way portrays unprofessionalism and a lack of confidence. This is a for sure way of getting a “we’ll call you” at the end of the interview and probably getting your resume thrown in the trash seconds after leaving. We don’t want that now do we?
Keep in mind—the company wants to know how you can benefit them. In other words, when it comes to responding to the “tell me about yourself” question, highlight your most important achievements that are relevant to the position.
With that said, follow these five tips to keep the interviewer engaged in the conversation:
Tip #1-Introduce yourself (Who are you as a professional)
Tip #2-Explain your current status (last job position, degrees (if any))
Tip #3-Describe your current experience and transferable skills related to the position
Tip #4-Describe accomplishments directly related to the position and/or company mission
Tip #5-Explain why you want to work for the company
One more thing… all the above information must be relayed under a minute or two. In other words, don’t become a chatter… less oftentimes can mean more. By way of example, Here’s my response to this challenging interview question:
I am a recent graduate from City College with an Associate’s Degree in Business Administration. I have over 5 years’ experience in coaching individuals, problem solving and time management in the health insurance field which has allowed me to excel in previous leadership roles. In my last position monthly quality scores increased 20% because of my persistent coaching techniques which improved product knowledge and confidence in representatives. My skills provide excellent customer service and truly define who I am and what I will bring to this company.
This is a lot to remember…but…if you practice, practice, and practice, answering the “Tell me about yourself” question will roll off your tongue naturally. Just follow my advice and you’ll be on the way to a well-deserved career. I’m rooting for you…fingers crossed.
One more thing, keep me posted on the outcome!
Your CC Connection