Tell Me About Yourself?? How To Answer One Of The Most Asked Interview Questions..
As a professional recruiter who has been working and recruiting professionals in the environmental, engineering and construction industries for over 18 years now at Webuild Staffing, I have talked to many candidates that have no idea about how to answer one of the most simple and most often asked questions during an interview..
“Tell a little about yourself….?”
The question is a little cheesy in nature as the interviewer most likely has a copy of your resume and can clearly see your professional qualifications. The questions objective is not really about your skills and qualifications though, but rather how you present yourself and can communicate with a potential employer.
Your communication abilities or lack of during an interview will be the most important factor in succeeding or failing to have a successful interview. How you communicate your education, career history, objectives, skills, accomplishments and failures are what they are seeking in this questions response.
So when answering this question you want to present yourself in the most basic terms for a potential employer to understand. Why you chose this profession, How your career has evolved, how you have advanced, what responsibilities you have undertaken, projects you have succeed with, obstacles you have overcome, where you are looking to advance to now; are all important factors that need to be considered when answering this basic question.
So what is your story? Do you know? Have you sat down to think about it? Practice it? Well let’s start…
First, make sure your resume is complete. Check all your online profiles (blogs, professional associations, social media, etc.) to assure they match up to what you will provide to employers in your resume. Be genuine and make sure you can back up anything you place on the resume or communicate to an employer. Consistency in your story is key. Always make sure you are able to get all of your strengths conveyed with confidence.
Second, sit down and outline what your story will be. It should always be based primarily off of your education and business experience. Walking an employer through our career for the last 5 to 10 years is probably best, don’t overwhelm them with all the details, but focus on how you progressed in the industry, advanced in rank and achieved success in each of the positions you have had. Focus on achievements, projects and how your overall experience has made you a much more rounded and valuable employee.
Do not get bogged down in detailed or personal issues that are not relevant to the position you are interviewing for; however if you have a personal skill that may benefit your potential employer don’t be afraid to share that as well, but make sure it is relevant. If it is a personal, social, or volunteer example, try to use only one scenario and be very specific with what your job was and how it benefited those involved. This is an easy area to start rambling off subject, so be very cautious when relaying personal stories.
Third, practice, practice, practice!!! Write your story down, stand in front of the mirror and present it, video tape yourself, ask a friend or spouse to listen to your story. Get feedback from them. Most of all learn to be comfortable talking about yourself and your career.
Having a story when talking with a potential employer will go a long way to creating a meaningful, two way dialog in an interview setting and the employer understanding how valuable an employee you would be to their organization.
Michael DeSafey is a leading executive recruiter for professionals in the construction, engineering and environmental industries. He is currently the President of Webuild Staffing (www.webuildstaffing.com). To learn more about Michael or Follow his Blog please visit www.michaeldesafey.com