If you have ever been on an interview, chances are you have gotten the "Tell me about yourself" question. Typically, this is one of the first questions you are asked and it really sets the tone for the rest of the interview. In the interviews I have conducted, I find that most people do not know how to answer this question and that is why I think it is worth an overview.
Why does an interviewer ask you this question and what kind of response are they looking for? Before I give you the right answer, let me tell you how not to answer the question!
The person interviewing you is not looking for information on your children, pets you have or where you have lived for the last 10 years! They want to know why they should hire you! Make sure you are telling your audience about your professional self, not your personal self!
When formulating your answer to "Tell me about yourself," you want to be sure that you are tailoring your response to how your professional background, skills and experience match the specific needs of the company you are interviewing with. You will want to include information on what skills makes you unique and best qualified for the job. An appropriate response could be...
"My professional background includes over 11 years experience as a successful retail manager. My strengths and areas of expertise lie in developing training programs and loss prevention techniques. As a result of my efforts, I have a documented history of revenue savings of over $2.3 million for ABC Company during the past 11 years."
Since I can almost guarantee you will encounter this question on your next interview, please spend some time (ahead of time) thinking of the best way to answer this question.
If you are not familiar with the term "Elevator Speech" or what your "Unique Selling Propositions" are, please consider attended our Marketing Yourself in a Highly Competitive Job Market Workshop offered at 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 16.