Acing the Interview – How to Answer the Dreaded Question
We’ve all been there. Nervously awaiting the beginning of our first interview, when the interviewer starts with the dreaded: “So, tell me about yourself.”
First of all, let’s discuss a few reasons why they chose to open the interview in this manner. Perhaps they haven’t had a chance to review your background yet. Or maybe they are testing you to see how you represent. Or, maybe they haven’t prepared a purposeful set of interview questions and prefer to fly by the seat of their pants.
Regardless of the reason, it’s up to you to respond in a professional, intentional way. To prepare in advance for this type of introduction, consider what YOU want your interviewer to know about you. Here are some ideas:
- A brief summary of your background as it relates to the open position
- Why you’re interested in the company and position
- What you’d like to know from the interviewer during your time together
- How you feel you could contribute to the company/department
It may seem like a tall order, but here is an example of what you might say:
“Well, I have 5 years of designing electronic parts similar to your products, with an emphasis in project management. I have been following your company for a while now and I feel like I would be a good fit based on the job description and my background. I’d really love to hear about your experience at the company and learn about your vision for the position.”
With this approach, you carefully lob control of the interview back to the interviewer and hopefully, it will prompt additional, productive conversation.
Interview preparation is key to acing an interview. Don’t assume the interviewer knows anything about you yet. Prepare your mindset for the unexpected and approach it with confidence. You got this!
By preparing in advance, you can be ready for the dreaded question. We don’t recommend you memorize your response; only be comfortable with what you would say if the conversation opens with “tell me about yourself”.