Career Advice Career Guidance and Counselling

Getting the best out of that most common interview question

By its very nature, the “so, tell me about yourself” question is an extremely broad one, and can prompt candidates to start telling the interviewer every single detail about themselves. However, what the interviewer really wants to know are a few key points.

The first is your educational and professional background. Provide the interviewer with a brief overview of your educational and employment history. For example, if you are applying for a role as a senior digital marketing executive, your answer might be something like the following:

“I am a business management graduate with a master’s in digital marketing. Since leaving university I have enjoyed a two-year marketing career within the sports industry.”

The next thing they want to know are the key skills and expertise you have which directly relate to the job. Talk about the relevant experience you acquired throughout your education and career so far. For instance:

“During my time within this industry, I have been able to apply what I learned during my master’s, while building upon my digital marketing expertise further.”

 The interviewer will also want to know what you are looking for in your next job and why this role appealed to you. For the final part of your answer, it’s time to explain what your career ambitions are and what you want out of your next move.

“My previous organisation has helped me develop the digital skills I have today. However, I believe it’s time to move on. So I’m looking for a more challenging role within a fast-paced global organisation.”

“Tell me about yourself” is a deceptively tricky question to answer, and will more than likely be one of the first things you get asked.

Get your interview off to a strong start by planning a concise, relevant answer which tells your interviewer why you are sitting in front of them, and why your skills and experience make you the best person for the job.

This article appeared in the Classified Post print edition as Telling signs.