The first question you may get in an interview isTell me about yourself? And most people dread it.
Let me tell you, its not an invitation to recite your life story or work history in detail. It is, however, the perfect opportunity to pitch yourself to the hiring manager.
A pitch is a concise speech given to persuade someone to buy something. And usually, that something is you!
Usually, candidates say too much, too little or the wrong thing which means they start their interview on the back foot.
Even though this is called an ice breaker question, its critical to get it right. Its your elevator pitch and a great opportunity to tell the panel who you are as a professional and the key skills/experience you can bring to the team and the company to help them succeed.
How to answer Tell me about yourself, in an interview
A personal introduction is a way to introduce yourself to someone, usually in a formal setting. In this section, we will discuss how to write an effective personal introduction.
One sample answer or elevator pitch formula to guarantee interview success is the Present-Past-Future pitch.
Its super-easy. Just speak about yourself in this order:
- Present: Explain what youve been doing recently with yourself.
- Past: Describe your experiences, the work youve done and your achievements.
- Future: Discuss why the role excites you and where you see yourself going with the company.
The first sentence of your introduction should tell the interviewer that you want them to listen and understand who you are as a person and why they should care about what it is that you have to say.
Remember, focus on your skills and experiences relevant to the role. Make it easy for the hiring manager to think about you in this role and the company.
And relax! People dont bite! So tell some anecdotes or stories. The hiring manager wants to get to know you.
What you should be researching before stepping into an interview
- Company Culture/Projects/Service Offering
You must understand what a company represents. Research the company website as well as LinkedIn, Youtube and other websites covering aspects of the companys culture, key projects, clients and what they do in detail. This will help you identify which examples/experience to use in your elevator pitch.
- Research the Interviewer
Make sure you research who youre meeting. Check the persons LinkedIn profile or their profile on the companys website (if they have one). Get an idea of the interviewers background, achievements and what type of person he or she might be.
With information like this, you will be able to tailor your answer to Tell me about yourself to suit the interviewers background.
- Study the job advertisement and position description
If youre stuck on how to answer Tell me about yourself, a good tip is to refer back to the job advertisement. The job ad will provide you with the specific keywords that you need to use in your answer to Tell me about yourself. If the job ad lists specific skills and experiences that the company wants, you must refer to these in your answer.
Talk broadly about your experiences where you used these skills. You can even mention your achievements that these skills have contributed to. Dont forget to quantify them using figures and numbers to sell yourself even more!
How to Answer Tell Me About Yourself
The key to answering Tell me about yourself is in the order in which you answer the question.
In order for your introduction to be the best it can be, you need to know who your audience is going to be and what their needs are. If you are introducing yourself at a job interview, you should have a good understanding of the company and the position you are interviewing for. You should also know what kind of personality they want in the position.
Begin by thanking the interview panel for the opportunity to meet and introduce yourself. Then, start with a power statement i.e. As you know, my names Tim and Im a Business Analyst with three years experience in requirements gathering, business cases, testing and documentation with technology companies including IBM.
After this, provide a brief historical snapshot of what you have been doing throughout your career. Use reverse chronological order. Then finish with making known your enthusiasm for the position, including what you can bring to the role and company.
Tell Me About Yourself Sample Answer:
First of all, thank you for inviting me to todays interview. As you know my names Shen, and Im a Quality Assurance Officer with over 4 years experience in handling manufacturing operations, quality assurance and process improvement. Ive also managed ISO accreditation, written procedures, conducted internal audits and ensured corrective and preventive actions are implemented on-site.
In terms of my background, after completing my Bachelor of Engineering, I started working as a Quality Analyst graduate at Utopia Engineering. I assisted with three major ISO9001 projects with the QA Manager and created several process improvement and quality improvement manuals.
Followingthis, I worked as a QA & ComplianceCoordinator with Brauhn Inspectionsfor two yearswhere Imanaged quality control for three manufacturing plants with over 45 heavy plant machines and over 200 staff. It was in this position that I helped steer the company to obtain ISO9001 certification which is my main area of expertise.
Currently, Im working as a QA & Compliance Officer with Abstract Consulting in Melbourne and manage the entire QA process including documentation, process improvement, staff training and 15 compliance assessments a month across three sites.
Im keen to move into a QA Manager role which is why I applied for this position. I feel that the key deliverables of this position most notably the ISO9001 certification and assessment are areas that I can confidently manage for the team. It looks like an exciting opportunity to continue leading quality assurance in the manufacturing sector and Im really keen to learn more. Thanks.
Why This Approach Works So Well
This type of Tell me about yourself answer focuses on your skill set and experiences relevant to the role. The way you communicate the answer should also reveal what the interviewer is seeking in regards to how you fit the role.
Each candidate is different. Dont be afraid to add in your own examples and anecdotes relevant to the role. Though, most interviewers would ask you for examples of your achievements, skills and knowledge in relation to the role, regardless of this.
The interviewer already has your Resume. So, this Tell me about yourself opportunity is the perfect chance to explain to the interviewer who you are and why you would be a great fit for the company.Be yourself, relax and smile! (Yes, smile even if its a phone interview!)
Need More Help With Answering Tell Me About Yourself?
We know how tough the Australian job market can be and how difficult this question can be to answer. If you need help developing your answers to the opening interview questions, please feel free to contact us.
We wish you all the best in your job search.
Careers Team, Career Success Australia