For any applicant, being asked to describe yourself may seem like an open-ended request. It can be daunting, causing you to feel trapped and confused by such an inquiry by your interviewer. When everything is on the line with your upcoming interview, it is better to be prepared than to have no idea of potentially good answers.
For this reason, it is always good to be aware of how best to answer all ambiguous questions that may come your way. Luckily, we have a couple of tips that may help you out in answering the universally vague question of "So, tell me about yourself”:
Do not set the bar too high when it comes to satisfying the expectations of your interviewer and the company. Understandably, you want to impress them to land the open position, but doing more than necessary can actually do more harm than good. Be honest, stick to the facts, and mention only the qualities you currently possess, thanks to your past jobs. Impress them with what you actually have rather than the things that you don’t.
Specific laws prohibit companies from discriminating against their applicants according to race, age, religion, and gender. However, this doesn’t mean that you should go telling all your interviewers about your religion and family status.
Remember that these are very personal information, and more often than not, they’re not relevant elements to the interview proper. Unless you are applying for a job that requires a clear definition of your relationship with your family—such as jobs that deal with social issues—you should keep such details to yourself.
Your CV serves not as a script but as a summary of your skills and experiences. When asked by the interviewer, make sure to elaborate more about them and not just repeat what’s written. Expound about your job experiences and how they were able to help you in developing your current skills.
Let them know of the challenges and victories you have encountered during your past jobs. If they were to ask more about the details of your tasks back then, feel free to talk about it — so long as it is relevant to details in your CV.
Let your interviewer know that you are the missing piece of their company puzzle. Talk about your skills and experiences, and make sure to paint them in the light stating that they are very much a perfect match for the open position. If you don’t have much of what they need, don’t lose hope. Let them know that you are willing to learn and that you would be more than happy to match the needed skills in no time.
Answering vague questions like "tell me about yourself" can be somewhat intimidating. It causes confusion, makes you feel like you are being tested, and tends to catch you off guard, well enough to make you lose your focus on the interview. So long as you take note of the tips above, however, you’ll be on your way to landing that well-deserved job to help you further your career.
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