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Tell Me About Yourself Interview Question – Advice For 2020 Grads

By Debra Bullmore-Dunn on

At the start of your career, you won’t have an abundance of skills and experience so naturally, employers will want to know more about you, and this is here to help you handle this sticky question as surprisingly few candidates give this question the time it deserves.

Interviews are simply an array of questions and answers, and are the only real way an interviewer can get a handle on you. Overall, an interviewer will want to discover your willingness and ability to take direction, your integrity and character, your work ethic, and will want to find the person that will fit seamlessly into the role and team culture.

Bear in mind that this question can come in many different guises but, no matter how it is worded, do take great care in how you answer it because it will arrive very early in an interview. Anticipate it, think of your positive traits such as your ability to solve problems, your desire to do well and learn, and think about those admirable traits you have as well, such as honesty decency.

It is important to keep the answer as light and relatively brief as possible. It doesn’t need to be a long dialogue of your life history to date. Imagine it’s as brief as a TV ad, you’ve got to capture someone’s heart and mind as quickly as possible. Companies are looking for people that are aligned to their culture and beliefs so you want to blend in as much as possible. I’ve hired a lot of people based on their upbringing, life choices and how they’ve reacted to different challenges in their life.

When you start to answer this question, keep it lighthearted, honest, open and interesting. Everyone is unique and has their own story, it’s worth putting across your roots and your journey to date – it’s what makes you interesting. May be keep your weekend habits a bit quiet or weird trait’s that have zero correlation to the job. Word of caution – I’m all for being positive and self-belief but not at the expense of honesty. You must be truthful with yourself about what you have in the skills bag and what you can offer. Big yourself up but don’t lose sight of who you truly are because it will never end well.

An employer will also be looking for someone who is going to stick with a problem and solve it, as well as someone who has commitment and will not jump ship at the first inconvenience you encounter. It’s also a fantastic way of being able to delight someone, more than anyone else can. It’s about thinking of little, emotive and interesting aspects of your life that makes you stand above the crowd.

Don’t be afraid to admit to your mistakes as well – hand on heart, I’ve never met the perfect person and every employer will want an altruistic version of you. Mistakes happen all the time but it’s how you respond to them that makes you stand out. Also, what you’ve learnt from them.  You must make mistakes to learn and grow and to find out what life is all about.

Preparation makes all the difference on this and if you can show your life experience is tuned into the needs of the role and culture of the company, you won’t go far wrong. After relaying the interesting facts of your background, a few pertinent bits about your commitment, work ethic, curiosity, and drive will enlighten the best bits of your personality.

Be lucky!