“Tell me about yourself,” This question might sound easy on paper, But when you think about it, it’s really an open-ended and a tricky question. Unsure of how to answer? Relax, you’re not the only one! Most people struggle with this question.
Here’s some good news, there’s an easy way to answer the dreaded interview question.To better answer the question, you first need to understand why it’s asked in the first place.
Hint: the interviewer isn’t looking for your life story, or what you had for dinner last night.
But rather, it allows the interviewer to hear a short, summed up version of your career background and skills, it gives them insight into whether your experience and qualifications are most relevant to the position you’re interviewing for.
So, what’s a “good answer?”Well, it’s actually pretty straightforward. A good answer should be have the following elements:
- Tailored made– Take a scenario where you are applying for an accounting job, The recruiter doesn’t care about your work experience as a real estate agent. Your answer must be tailored to the job you’re applying for which in this case is the ‘Accounting Job’
- Focus on Experience & Achievements – Your answer should consist of background (what did you study?), top achievements (how do you stand out from the other candidates), and interests (why are you applying for this job?).
- Structured – For your response to be clear and concise, you’ll want to make sure you organize your answer following a format or formula. There is a common formula you may consider: Past, Present, Future
- The past – What is your career journey and past relevant work experience ?
- The present – What are you currently doing before you applied?
- The future -Why are you interested in the position?
Need some inspiration? Here are some sample answers for you to look at:
“I began my career in accounting, 3 years ago, I was drawn to the healthcare space. I’ve always been skilled at bringing people together and working towards common goals. My experience successfully leading teams and managing stores led me to consider administration, since then I’ve been building a career as a driven health administrator for the last four years.”
Past: “I’ve been passionate about design since I was a kid. I knew then that I wanted to pursue interior design as my career. I studied Interior Design at Nkumba University- Art and Design and graduated 2 years ago.”
Present: “Since University to date, I’ve been working at an interior design company in Zana. My experience at the organization has built up my skills in billing and cutting edge technologies, and also allowed me to build strong relationships with local suppliers.
Future: Moving forward I would love to work at a design firm such as yours that specializes in the design and preservation of historical buildings. I believe my experience and passion for preservation will allow me to be a great asset to your design team.”
To recap, make sure you stick to the past-present-future format , Keep it relevant and brief (1-2 minutes max). No one wants to hear your whole life story, Mention any of your top achievements and relevant work experiences and you’re all good!
Since this is just the start of the interview, the next phase is where they ask a bunch of other questions.