One of the most common and trickiest questions in an interview is “Tell me about yourself.” Yet, many job seekers don’t take the question seriously or prepare for it, as they don’t see it making any difference during the interview. But this question is a lot more than just an icebreaker.
Candidates should carefully consider their response especially if they’re freshers, because “tell me about yourself” is going to lay the foundation for the interview. When hiring managers ask this question, they’re expecting an answer in which candidates give insight about their work or educational background, which will give them a better sense of the candidate they’re interviewing.
Interviewers also ask this question to check the confidence level of the interviewee, which in turn gives them a view of how new hires might present themselves to customers, clients, and colleagues if they get the job.
As a job seeker, answering “tell me about yourself” confidently gives a great impression of yours and an opportunity to showcase yourself as the ideal candidate for the job role. And because it’s a question that many hiring managers start with, it's also a medium to highlight your skills and experience as a form of introduction.
Here are a few important factors to remember when preparing to answer the first question during an interview process.
Research about the company/role
In many of our previous blog posts, we have emphasized researching the company first before applying for the position. If the company’s goals and mission align with your personality, it can help you build your answers better. Doing thorough research about the company, work culture, employees, etc. is extremely important before preparing for basic interview questions. No one wants to be stuck in a work environment that makes them uncomfortable. Also, the reason why researching about the company is important before every job interview is because when recruiters ask questions in an interview, they expect that the interviewee is aware of the organization and its work and has clarity on how their future employee can take the company ahead.
Therefore, being aware of the company, its aims, and work culture can help one answer confidently during the job interview as compared to attending one without any knowledge of the company.
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Read the job description
A job description posted by the recruiters comprises all the essential keywords that can help you to frame your answers to “Tell me something about yourself”. Take those keywords listed by the company for the job position, and add them to your introduction part. You have to present yourself as a promising candidate and you have to show that you’re the person who they are looking for. Match and highlight 3-5 qualities that the recruiter is looking for in that role, and leverage your chances of getting the job.
Keep the introduction short and crisp
Long and elaborate answers are a big no for basic questions like “Tell me something about yourself”. There is no need to go on and on with your self-introduction. So when preparing to answer this HR interview question make sure to keep it under 2-3 minutes. Write it down somewhere and then practice it religiously (let me remind you again, Practise it and not memorize it). The introduction should come out of your mouth fluently and not like a parrot reciting a poem. Try avoiding repeating the same things from your resume, instead of focusing on the balance between the qualities that you matched with the job description and complementing it with the skills added in your resume.
A confident sample answer
Here’s one example of a well-framed response to “tell me about yourself” for a job seeker applying for a senior software engineer with a tech company:
“I’ve been working as a software engineer for three years with XYZ company. At my current position in the technical department, I handle data testing, product building, and data analytics for multiple projects assigned under me. I also have some experience in creating technical documentation.”
“I have a keen eye for details and organization. I never miss deadlines, I’m a good communicator and I can also lead any project fairly. In my performance reviews, my manager always appreciates my professionalism and enthusiasm for the work.”
“With my 3+ experience in this industry, I’m in search of an opportunity to take a step up my career ladder. I’m hoping to do so in an organization like yours that matches my vision, which is something I’m really passionate about.”
You can use this example to write your own answer, replacing the job role and experience. Customize it with your own company research and you’ll be good to go.
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