As easy as it sounds, many professionals get stuck and aren’t sure how to respond. Find out what you could be doing wrong and why you could possibly be failing the interview even before it starts.
Photo credit: Pch.vector
It’s almost a guarantee that the question “How would you describe yourself?” or “Tell me about yourself?” will be asked whenever you walk into an interview room. As easy as it sounds, many professionals get stuck and aren’t sure how to respond. The answer you give not only sets the tone for the interview but also gives a good first impression. It’s your elevator pitch, so make it count.
Read on to find out what you could be doing wrong and why you could possibly be failing the interview even before it starts:
The wrong way to answer
Sharing your personal details isn’t advised. It could be a unique story but the interviewer has no business in knowing about your personal life or in knowing your family background, opinions on matters like politics or religious affiliations. Don’t say things like, “I am the firstborn...” or “I recently got married...”
Avoid listing vague strengths without supporting examples. Just saying that you worked in marketing without highlighting the projects you executed and the skills you gained isn’t satisfying to the interviewer.
Memorizing your resume word for word sounds safe but it actually shows just how unprepared you are and how you aren’t creative in coming up with answers on your own.
Don’t attempt to answer the question with another question. For example, “What do you mean?” or “What do you want to know?” This shows you aren’t sure of how to answer.
The right way to answer
If you intend to begin by mentioning your name, ensure it is your official name.
Keep your response short. Take at least 3 minutes or less.
Focus on details that highlight your professional experiences in relation to the job you are interviewing for. Mentioning 2 or 3 examples is enough.
A good strategy is to state your past work experiences and how you have transitioned, your present qualifications, and how you hope to advance in your career in the future.
You are more than just your job. This is optional but you can briefly (note I said briefly) state your hobbies, intellectual development, or any volunteering you’ve done.
Here are two examples to guide you;
Interviewer: Tell me a little about yourself:
Interviewee: “My name is Mary Mukami Omondi and I hold a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management. I have worked as a Business Manager for the past x years. In my current position at company B, I (highlight your skills and experiences here). I believe I would be a great asset to your team as (state your value proposition here).”
Interviewer: Tell us your story:
Interviewee: “I’m a Customer Support Specialist with 10 years experience at the executive level. Throughout my career, I have focused on the customer service industry delivering exceptional customer experience and ensuring the clients come back. I’ve been responsible for leading teams and the successful launch of X in my career. I’m excited about this role as I would be of great value to the team in the following ways (state your value proposition)”
Take a few moments now to think about how you would answer this question based on what you’ve just learned. Go ahead and share your response to this question in the comments below. Let’s learn and grow together.
Interesting read: 16 common interview questions you should prepare for