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Open with a bang

Published on Friday, 03 May 2013
Marc Burrage

So often we see candidates tripped up by the common job-interview opener: “Can you tell me something about yourself?” For such a seemingly simple question, it often poses difficulty and it is easy for candidates to get lost and end up rambling. With some simple tips, the question should become much easier to answer.

Firstly, view the question as a golden opportunity to make your case as to why you are a good fit for the role on offer. It may be a cliché, but you only get one chance to make a first impression.

Before the interview, think through three or four of your strengths that directly relate to the role. Rehearse talking about these strengths in just a few sentences using a conversational style. Include a quantifiable achievement if you can. You don’t have to remember what you’ve drafted word for word on the day, but working it out ahead of time will enable you to speak with more confidence.

Let’s say, for example, you are going for a marketing role in a digital company that requires someone able to consult and collaborate. You might say something like: “I have strong communication skills developed through roles both here and in London, working in online retail and digital media. My greatest successes have come from engaging with colleagues. The team I worked with at XYZ Company increased traffic to the website by 35 per cent after one campaign and sales by 29 per cent. I also pride myself on paying attention to the small details as a way of building the big picture.”

End your answer by returning to the job at hand: “I have been looking for a role that will utilise my relationship-building skills.”

Marc Burrage, regional director, Hays in Hong Kong

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