Describing Yourself in an Interview
It’s one of the most frequently asked questions in an interview: Tell me about yourself.
Your response to this request will set the tone for the rest of the interview. For some, this is the most challenging question to answer, as they wonder what the interviewer really wants to know and what information they should include.
The secret to successfully responding to this free-form request is to focus, script and practice. You cannot afford to wing this answer, as it will affect the rest of the interview. Begin to think about what you want the interviewer to know about you.
List five strengths you have that are pertinent to this job (experiences, traits, skills, etc.). What do you want the interviewer to know about you when you leave?
Prepare a script that includes the information you want to convey. Begin by talking about past experiences and proven success:
Next, mention your strengths and abilities:
“My real strength is my attention to detail. I pride myself on my reputation for following through and meeting deadlines. When I commit to doing something, I make sure it gets done, and on time.”
Conclude with a statement about your current situation:
“What I am looking for now is a company that values customer relations, where I can join a strong team and have a positive impact on customer retention and sales.”
Practice with your script until you feel confident about what you want to emphasize in your statement. Your script should help you stay on track, but you shouldn’t memorize it — you don’t want to sound stiff and rehearsed. It should sound natural and conversational.
Even if you are not asked this type of question to begin the interview, this preparation will help you focus on what you have to offer. You will also find that you can use the information in this exercise to assist you in answering other questions. The more you can talk about your product – you – the better chance you will have at selling it.
This answer should always be related to the job. Remember, although the employer is asking personal questions, they are still all related to “what can you bring to the company?” So, give adjectives like reliable, loyal, etc., but make sure you back these with supporting examples. The most important thing is to make sure you boil it all down to presenting the answer in a way that it matches the things the employer is looking for.
Here is more advice:
- Think about what kind of person you would like working for you and convey that to the employer. Be honest about your capabilities, if you don’t know how to do something, say you don’t know but let the employer know you are capable of learning and even give an example of something else you learned to do, maybe at another job or even a hobby. Most jobs will have to train you to their way and processes so don’t undermine your capability and be proud of your accomplishments in life because they will only bring you up.
- Just list off a few characteristics that you see yourself as having. Make all of the characteristics sound as positive as possible. This question is usually asked in order to gauge how a person perceives him- or herself. Just be honest. Are you outgoing? Shy? Diligent? Stubborn? Clever? Passionate? Level-headed? Easy-going? etc., etc. Don’t stress too much.If you can’t think of anything, think of a few people who know you and imagine how they would describe you. Pretend that your mom, a sibling, a good friend, a co-worker, and your spouse or significant other are all sitting down in a room making a list of your characteristics and then use the things you think they would say.
- A job interview is NO TIME to be shy. Brag about yourself. It’s expected. Brag about all of your good points and don’t mention anything negative or anything you “can’t do.” Be positive and upbeat.
- With complete honesty, don’t try to make yourself better than you are, but don’t yourself down, either.
- Employers love to ask you questions that get to your perception of yourself. These may come in several forms – “How do you describe yourself”; “What are the qualities you possess that make you the best candidate for this job”; “What do you bring to this company that will make this company stronger” or a variation on these are commonly asked.
- Your resume should already have a personal statement that discusses your qualities – in the most positive terms possible. Make sure you are familiar with your resume. VERY familiar. This is especially important if you didn’t write it yourself, or if you have multiple resumes tailored to different positions.
- Because this is such a common question, it may be a good idea to sit down ahead of time and list 4-5 qualities and examples in your previous experience where these qualities allowed you to overcome a problem or succeed at a task.
- Remember, the interview is not a “game”
where you are trying to outsmart the interviewer to get the job. Your best strategy is to honestly sell yourself and your abilities to an employer to get a job that is a good fit for you, in a company that is a good fit for you. Outsmarting an interviewer to get a job in a company or position that ultimately leads to unhappiness on either or both sides is really outsmarting yourself.
- Give a fair answer, tell them about your strong and weak points, but try to emphasize some of your qualities. For example, you could say that you are a hard-working, responsible, serious person, you are able to handle with people, able to work under stress, you are an easy learner. Don’t be shy to talk about your creative “side”.But be honest, admit that you also had some “bad moments” in your past jobs.
- Your answer should be relevant to the job for which you are being interviews. Do not start going into your personal life. Keep your self-introduction professional!
- A person is defined in three ways: (1) who he is right now, (2) what he has done in the past, and (3) what he will become in the future.
So, here is how you answer: (1) I am a [the job title for which you are applying or something very close.] (2) I have [how many years of experience] in [what field, what subject]. (3) I want to be [a job title that is a couple or a few levels above the current position for which you are applying in 5 to 10 years.] Close your answer with an affirmative question: “Is there anything else you want to know?”
- You should be very straightforward and honest in replying to this question. The interviewer wants to check if what you have mentioned in your resume is correct or not.
- I would answer the question based on who is interviewing me? If it’s a sales manager/Technical Manager/Human resources manager? Depending on the person’s field I’ll have to mend the answer to please him… I feel that everyone’s goals are different… so analyze that and then answer.
- Answer this question with your 30-second “elevator speech” about yourself. The standard format for this speech is… “I am a (BLANK), who does (WHAT).” In my case… I am a PROJECT MANAGER, who PROVIDES QUALITY MANAGEMENT SOLUTIONS, Blah, Blah, Blah. (you get the idea).
- I suggest you go into the interview with a few “talking points” about yourself, in other words things you want the interviewer to know about you. Then you try to hit those points in response to any questions you are asked, such as “tell us about yourself.” Also be sure to have copies of your resume with you and offer them. In general, interviews go better when you spend them listening and don’t talk. If the interviewer is just telling you about the job, you might have a good shot at it.
- This is the chance for you to run down a 30-60 second sales pitch for yourself. The employer doesn’t want to know that you like gardening or have four dogs. Here’s where you start usually with your education and highlight selling points about your skills, experience and goals.