One of the Most Dreaded Interview Questions and
How to Prepare For It
“So, tell us about yourself” Argghhh - you practiced for this, because you knew it would happen, but now you’re clutching!
This is the easiest question, you know yourself better than anyone, right? The interviewer has a twofold reason for asking this question - they want to see your organized thinking and they want to help you relax a little. Your organized thinking shows when you don’t hem and haw with your answer and can show a natural progression of thought.
Go online and look at the website of the company where you will be interviewing. They should have an “about us” page where they talk about their company philosophy, their priorities, and how they support the community. See if you have anything in common with their community giving (Boys and Girls Club, School math clubs, robot clubs, or Goodwill, etc). How does your philosophy about work (ethics, responsibility, inclusion) jibe with the company’s? Use the common ground you find as part of the “about me” answer.
You can think of your answer in three parts - Past, Strengths and Current
Past - Start by linking your answer back to your resume. You could say, ‘I've got a couple of really interesting past experiences that I think are relevant to this position and I've outlined them in my resume, but let me just tell you a bit about myself in those roles.” Brief is the key word.
Strengths - The company’s mission, vision and values will be on their website as well. Mention that your core values (ethics, responsibility, inclusion, transparency) align well with the company’s.
Current: You could include a very short, high level bio. Married with 2 children - Enjoy my volunteer work at Kids Komputer Kamp (because this is something the company works with as well), Lived here x number of years and love the town (or looking forward to moving here because of the great community). Nothing extremely personal, negative or untruthful.
Conclude your answer by mentioning your current status for example: “ What I am looking for now is a company that values customer relations, where I can join a strong team and have a positive impact on customer retention and sales."
You can then ask your own question. “Do you have any questions about what I have just told you?” Why would you do that? It gives the interviewer a chance to ask - “How did you like the Kids Komputer Kamp last year?” or “How do you define transparency?”, which could help the interviewer to become a little more invested in your interview.
Now that you know what to include in your answer - write it out like a script and practice it. Don’t learn it by rote but be sure you have it in the right order and will sound natural. Your answer shouldn’t be more than 2-3 minutes in length. Edit, Edit, Edit - Use the KISS principle - Keep It Simple and Short!
Don’t forget when you go in for the interview that one of the last questions you will be asked is:” Do you have any questions for us?” It’s your turn - be sure you have some.