Tell Me About Yourself: How to Answer this Standard Interview Question

Job Interview Etiquette, etiquette expert tips on job interviewsYes, you can count on the age-old question: Tell me about yourself, at your job interview. It really is a standard, (albeit boring) question that allows the interviewer to evaluate you based on several factors, including your communication skills and your ability to handle uncomfortable conversations. A well-turned answer will set the stage for a successful interview. Tip number one is to answer this question from the interviewer’s point of view, focusing on how your attributes will benefit the company and what makes you the best candidate for the position.

Keep your answer pertinent to the job you applying for, answering with information that will give the interviewer insight into what kind of employee you would be if hired, and how hiring you would benefit the company. I’m sharing a few Do’s and Don’ts below on how to respond when asked the “Tell Me About Yourself” question during a job interview.

Don’t:

  • Ask “Well, what would you like to know?” or say “I hate talking about myself!”
  • Assume he or she is interested in where you went to elementary school.
  • Ramble about your favorite high school experience or how you miss your college physics professor.
  • Discuss how long your parents have been married or how many kids you hope to have some day.
  • Talk about what car you intend to buy if you land this new position.

Do:

  • Prepare for this question. You know it is coming, so make your response short, concise and targeted to your goal – securing the job.
  • Think about what skills you possess that would make your interviewer interested in hiring you.
  • Use words that will enhance your potential to secure the job, such as “cooperative”, “determined”, “focused”, “driven”,  “analytical”,  a “relationship builder”, “reliable” and “tenacious”.
  • Put emphasis on your strong professional skills – what sets you apart from your competition.
  • Cite your previous accomplishments and how your efforts made an impact on the company’s bottom line.
  • Keep the answer to 60 seconds.

Example:

“I am a stickler for meeting my deadlines. I work until the job is done, regardless of the time clock. I easily pick up new direction and I am capable of working alone or on a team. I pride myself on accuracy and attention to detail. As a matter of fact, in my current position at XYZ Corporation, my most recent project resulted in securing 30 new clients in a 6 month span of time.”

Bingo – you are hired!

Best of Luck,

Signature

Diane Gottsman

Diane Gottsman is a national modern manners and etiquette expert, sought out industry leader, accomplished speaker, Huffington Post blogger, author, and the owner of The Protocol School of Texas, a company specializing in executive leadership and etiquette training. Diane is routinely quoted in national and international media including The New York Times, The BBC, CNN, Bloomberg Business Week, Kiplinger’s, Huffington Post Canada, U.S. News and World Report, and Forbes. Her blog has been named by Forbes as one of “The 100 Best Websites for Women, 2013.” She is a regular guest on two popular morning talk shows, SA Living, NBC, and Good Day Austin, FOX. She has been seen on TODAY with KLG and Hoda, HLN Headline News, and CBS Sunday Morning. Her clients range from university students to Fortune 500 companies and her workshops cover topics ranging from tattoos in the workplace to technology at the dinner table and the proper use of social media.

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