We all agree that most of the interviews start with the question “Tell me about yourself.” Many might think to use of this question when the hiring manager has your resume in front of them. This open-ended seems to be straightforward but is somewhat nuanced. You aren’t supposed to recite your resume. The interviewer here wants to understand how self-aware you are. Do you know your strengths and weaknesses? (Which is another open-ended question you can answer before being asked) What motivates you? What are your goals and does it align with the organization’s goals? Ultimately, are you a culture fit?
The above reasons are why this critical question needs to be answered carefully. There is, of course, no incorrect and correct response to this subjective question but here are few tips on how to answer “Tell me about yourself.”
A) Personal/Professional experience: What personal/work skills you can bring on the table and how have you utilized them in the past. The interviewer gauges your adaptability and capability and more importantly will if they are beneficial for the role you are interviewing. So it is important to prepare for this. Make a note of any applicable volunteering or community work you have recently been a part.
B) Establish your brand: Rather than rattling out the same old adjectives (hard-working, excellent communicator, etc.) show how self-aware you are. Explain how your qualities have benefited previous employers and it can also add value for your prospective ones. Give real-life instances to support your argument.
C) Why you choose this profession: Very important to demonstrate your passion and why you are what you are. Here is a good time to include relevant personal details in the form of a little backstory. What brought you here and why have you stayed in this career?
D) Goals: Showcase your ambitions and professional goals and how they align with your personal goals. Throw some light on what direction you wish to head. Again, prepare for this question by researching the “company ladder” and what steps they have for you to climb.
One mistake to avoid while answering this is divulging too many personal details. It is ok to give some insights which are relevant to your professional life. Keep it light, short, and simple.
All the best.