“So, tell me about yourself.”
This is a very common interview question regardless of your industry, your experience level and job type. It is one that many people find difficult to answer. The ultimate goal of an interview is to find out enough information about you to decide if you are a good fit for the job.
There are many ways to answer this question in a satisfactory manner, but the worst way is to dive into a recitation of your resume or your CV, as the interviewer can already see this. The question is an opportunity for you to set the tone of the interview, as your answer creates the first impression the interviewer will have of you.
To answer this question in the best way possible, think about it as your elevator pitch. It should be focused and short and address who you are. You should give an introduction to who you are professionally and a concise summary of your background. Tell the interviewer the details of your backstory that are most relevant to the job and the organisation. Try not to share personal information.
Share your primary selling points for the job. Highlight special training, strengths and technical skills that are relevant to the qualifications of the job and show how well you meet and exceed the requirements. Also talk about your passions and your personal philosophy.
You should also talk about your future career prospects. Explain why you applied and how the job best fits you. Explain what you would hope to achieve in your career. It is important that you ensure that the information you proffer is relevant to the position you are interviewing for.
Think of the answer to the question as your personal statement. It should cover where you currently are in your career path, a little about your experiences, relevant skills, and your future expectations regarding the job. Do not give a broad overview of who you are, but show how you specifically fit into the job.
The best thing to do is to write out your answer before the interview and practice until you feel confident about your statement. Do not try to memorize your answer as this makes you sound stiff and rehearsed. It is also important to note that the key to successful interviewing is to match your qualifications to what the interviewer is looking for.