Wednesday 15 August 2012

Tell Me About Yourself

Do you hate this interview question?

Well, I do!

A wise man once told me: when you don't want to answer a question someone asks you, either put on a blank face and ask bluntly 'Why?', or ask the question back. I don't know if this is a 'wise' setback or just a last-minute state of panic, but what you should do is, don't be afraid to ask the interviewer questions!

What you can say is...'I'm originally from XXX'. Then follow up with 'Have you ever been there before?' or 'Do you like this town/city'? If you state 'I worked on a consumer marketing project', you can follow it up with, 'Does your firm tend to focus on B2B or B2C marketing projects?' The point of all this is that you have to engage with the interviewer, not just rattle off points. It’s, after all, a conversation.

1. First things first, of course, start with your name. 
Many job seekers panic right off the bat by incorrectly assuming the interviewer asked a loaded question. In reality, the interviewer just wants to see how well you can sell yourself. Just state your name and feel free to include a line or two about your passions and hobbies – but don’t overdo it. You need to pace yourself and save precious monologue time for significant details regarding your career. Your total answer should be short and complete.

2. Follow up with your background.
You should include a brief history of your education and experience. Think bullet points and hard facts – don’t waste time on inconsequential details. In terms of goals and aspirations, mention where you came from, where you are currently and where you want to be. Don’t be surprised if the interviewer starts taking notes while you talk. This is a good sign and means the interviewer is engaged and actively listening. They may refer to these notes and ask questions regarding your statements after you finish talking, so make sure you are honest and that all of your facts line up.

3. Relate it to the position.
This is where the interviewer will know if you’ve done your homework or not. Your goal is to recount specific projects and achievements that are relevant to the position you’re applying for and mix them in with in your background history. You’ll want to research the company beforehand and focus on key requirements of the job description. You need to imply that you are the solution to their staffing need.

4. Avoid overexposure. 
Less is more. Get in and get out. The same rules apply to this age old question. If you sit there babbling on and talking your interviewers ear off with your life story you’re ultimately going to leave a bad impression. Smile, keep a positive and excited tone during your abridged, micro-autobiography and let the rest of the interview commence. You’ll have time to ask your own questions at various intervals throughout the process.

Muovo has found and adapted this interesting article from Your comments are welcome!

Nikita Pisani at Muovo


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Career Counsellor in Delhi

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