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- Why is this question so important?
- What could be an easier question than "Tell me about yourself”? What is the big deal about it?
Let’s find out.
We have also explained the importance of this question in our article on Job Interview Tips for College Students. About 80% of HR Interviews start with this question. It’s very important to get it right as the first impression you make depends upon how you answer this question. And several surveys have revealed that Interviewers decide whether to hire a candidate or not, in the first few minutes only. So be prepared.
Don't worry. After reading this article, you will understand how to easily deal with this question.
What happens is that most people, when asked this question, take it as chance to start talking casually about their life, their religious / political views, their last summer vacation and all. However, the interviewers just need to find out whether the candidate is qualified enough to handle the position he has applied for.
Here’s an example:
- Rahul is quite a deserving candidate an possesses all the qualifications required for a position he has applied for. He goes for the Interview. As he enters the room, the interviewer asks him “Tell me about yourself”. But guess what, Rahul has no idea about what to reply to the question at that very moment. So he panics a little. He starts talking about random things in his life such as his last summer vacation and his political views. But the interviewer has no interest in all that stuff. So he’s not impressed and interrupts Rahul in the middle for the next question.
You can see how Rahul’s casual approach has jeopardized his chance of getting selected.
On the other hand, if one is prepared for this question, it’s like the “Ball in one’s court”. The point is that this question can be used by a smart candidate, as an opportunity to prove how he can be beneficial for the organisation. And that is where the research which you have done about the company helps you. You have to demonstrate the qualities and skills possessed by you, which the company is looking for.
- Keep it short: Keep your answer to a minute or two at the max. Speak to the point. Don’t keep talking for too long otherwise you might be interrupted. If the interviewer pauses for a while after you finish your answer, wait for the next question. It doesn’t mean that you have to keep on talking in order to to fill the silence.
- Don’t memorize: It should not look like you have memorized the answer. Speak in a natural way like you are having a normal conversation. Think and then speak. Mugged up answers are not going to help.
- Research the company: Try to find out as much as you can, about the company, such as the work culture, the kind of work it does and the skills required. Read the job description. It will tell you the skills which the company is looking for.
- Be honest: You don’t have to lie in order to create a good impression. Remember, the interviewers are quite experienced in their field and competent enough to find out if you are lying. So be honest with them. Honesty and integrity are the qualities which are always preferred.
Okay. Let’s see how to do it:
- Start with your introduction (your name and the place you are from).
- Then you can tell them your academics i.e. educational qualifications, degrees, training and projects (starting from the highest and moving in descending order). Again, focus on skills required for the role/position.
- Then speak about your achievements in the field of extracurricular activities, including technical as well as non-technical areas.
- Highlight your strengths and achievements. You can bring up any specific personal attributes, not listed in your resume or things which you are good at and want the interviewer to probe more about.
- Then you may tell about your family and hobbies in brief.
So that was all you need to know about answering the “Tell me about yourself” question. Hope it helps you in your preparation. Start practicing.
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