Whether it’s a phone interview or an in-person interview one of the most common first questions a hiring manager will ask is “tell me about yourself.” It can be a terrifying open-ended question that makes any job seeker nervous. My initial reaction was always, “how do I sum up my life and career in a few sentences?” By preparing yourself for this anticipated question, the nerves will be pushed aside and you will be able to show the hiring manager why you are the perfect candidate for the job.
While outside of an interview this question would usually be answered with fascinating life stories however, hiring managers are looking for you to answer what about you is right for the role. It’s up to you to highlight what you want them to know about you.
It can be difficult to talk about yourself and why you are the right choice in a short few sentences without rambling on and giving unnecessary information. You do not want to overwhelm the hiring manager with too much information. I highly recommend practicing your answer and breaking down the different parts of what makes you the right candidate. If you are interviewing for several jobs, be able to cater your answer to the different roles.
Start by making a quick reference to your personal life such as hobbies or interests, as the organization will be looking to see if you are suitable for their team on a personal basis as well. For example, if you enjoy reading, volunteering or like to run marathons. When mentioning your personal life, keep it very brief. You want the hiring manager to gauge your personality but they do not need to hear about your weekend activities or your political or religious views.
After briefly speaking on a personal basis, transition into what you can bring to the table professionally. Explain your current role and give a short overview of the organization itself. Highlight your responsibilities and skills that really correlate to the job and company you are interviewing for. You should pull relevant information from the job description’s body and mention specific requirements you possess.
A tip is to pick two – three strengths that you are comfortable describing within your current role. For example, if you are interviewing for a sales role bring examples of the revenue you were able to bring in for your company or how many new clients you brought on. Relate back to the hiring manager how your skills have helped your employer in the workplace with a specific example. Include metrics or success stories that highlight these strengths.
Once you have described a few of your strengths that are best suited for this role, transition into what the future has to offer. You can explain how it is time for a change from your current role and are excited about the future and to further enhance your skills. Maybe mention a particular skill in the job description that you are not quite familiar with but are really interested in developing. Tie in how this organization can offer you that development but reiterate that you have a lot to offer the organization as previously mentioned.
Being prepared for this answer and keeping it concise and relative to the job will definitely impress the hiring manager. I know it can be hard at times to talk about yourself but practice does make perfect. At the end of the day, you want to best showcase what about you makes you the perfect choice for their organization. No one knows what you can bring to an organization more than yourself!
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