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Common Interview Questions - Tell Me About Yourself

By Edited Oct 13, 2016 0 3

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Certain common interview questions, like tell me about yourself, are going to come up every single time. If you know they're coming, there's really no excuse for not being prepared. You really don't need to do much studying for this one, but there are some things you can say to help make you stand out from the crowd. Common interview questions are used to separate candidates. As someone that's conducted hundreds of interviews, I can assure you that there are some things you can say to make yourself stand out. Tell me about yourself is one of the most open ended questions there is, and it's usually the first one asked. For this reason, tell me about yourself is one of the most important answers you can give, it makes a lasting initial impression. Let's take a quick look at how to answer one of the most common interview questions, tell me about yourself.

Grab their attention:

Try reading interview tips

">interviewing guides to start out. Unfortunately, many interviewers simply ask this common interview question to give themselves time to go over your application or resume. You'll likely notice that there is much less eye contact during this initial question. For this reason, you need to grab the attention of the interviewer. Maintaining good eye contact is among the most important things you can do. When you answer common interview questions, you will want to have the full attention of the interviewer. There's really no best way to accomplish this, and in some cases, the answer alone will need to do the trick. If you can get eye contact, you'll get the attention of the interviewer. Tell me about yourself is often the most important of the common interview questions because only a select few actually get the interviewers attention during this initial question.

Recap your experience:

As noted, the interviewer usually used this as a chance to review your resume or application. Use this to your advantage. Tell me about yourself is really open ended, so it's okay to reference past work experience and state why you want to work here. In fact, if you can do it right, you can actually direct the eyes of the interviewer to the portions of the resume you want them to scan. Successful interviewers can often use this lead the interviewers eyes to strong points on their resume, and more importantly, away from the weak points. It's been said that the person being interviewed is actually capable of being in much more control of the process than the interviewer. I can assure you from past experience that this is accurate. Why do you want to work here is one of the more common interview questions, but it ranks among the most important.

Avoid the temptation to overdo it in the experience recap. A few statements to direct the eyes of the interviewer will suffice. Common interview question by design are canned, meaning the same ones are asked over and over again in the same way. If you give a very long, detailed recap of your experience, you'll keep your interviewers attention on your resume and away from you. Tell me about yourself is a great example. How about something like this: "I've worked at company x for over ten years in the accounting department. I was promoted several times over the years. As you can see, I went to school locally, at college x, where I was president of school activity x." If you answer tell me about yourself this way, you will get the interviewer to scan your resume in the areas you are currently speaking of. It's a very effective way to answer one of the most common interview questions.

Company research:

Common interview questions will generally make a better impression if you can reference specifics about the company you're interviewing with. Tell me about yourself is a great example. Using the example listed above, you can add a little to it: "I've worked at company x for over ten years in the accounting department. I was promoted several times over the years. As you can see, I went to school locally, at college x, where I was president of school activity x. Since you have over 5,000 offices nationwide, I know I have room to grow with your company." In this example, you've pointed out something very positive about the company. When your asked the common interview question tell me about yourself, and you give an answer like this, you are likely to make a good impression.

Personal information:

It's really okay to reference some personal information when asked common interview questions like tell me about yourself. While you don't want to get into too much detail about your personal life, in many cases, it helps you make a bond with the interviewer. Don't go overboard. "I have three teenagers that keep me really busy. In many ways, keeping them under control is more difficult than my current position." You've given a little personal information and hopefully made a connection of some sort with the interviewer.

Interests:

It's okay to reference hobbies or personal interests when asked common interview questions like this one. "I love fishing and gardening in my spare time." Again, you don't want to give them your life story, just a few tidbits. Tell me about yourself can mean so many different things.

Tie it together:

"I've worked at company x for over ten years in the accounting department. I was promoted several times over the years. As you can see, I went to school locally, at college x, where I was president of school activity x. Since you have over 5,000 offices nationwide, I know I have room to grow with your company. I have three teenagers that keep me really busy. In many ways, keeping them under control is more difficult than my current position. I love fishing and gardening in my spare time." By answering tell me about yourself like this you'll make a good impression.

Control the interview:

By following the order listed above, you can successfully control the interview, giving you a better chance to land a new position. By focusing on experience first, you give the interviewer a chance to review the resume. With some luck, you'll regain eye contact when you get into your personal information. Tell me about yourself is one of the most important of common interview questions.

Why do you want to work here?

Will you relocate for the job?

What do you dislike about your current job?

What is your biggest strength?

What is your biggest weakness?

More Common Interview Questions

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Comments

Oct 31, 2009 6:44am
anuramn
Nice article.
Dec 13, 2009 6:54pm
aguy
The interview is such an important thing. It is great to have these kinds of tips to prepare for interviews.
Jul 10, 2010 6:45pm
x3xsolxdierx3x
People need to approach the interview process like they are selling themselves....do it professionally, yet tactfully and humbly....go the extra mile to show why you are unique, versus all the other candidates...
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