It is a dream for many people to have a job of choice with a good compensation package and an ambient atmosphere to work in. Academic excellence, extra-curricular activities, and certain achievements bring one step closer to the dream job. However, even after having all the requirements for a job, one always tends to fall short due to some faults.
Most of the times, people tend to lose the opportunity of securing a job at the personal interview. Generally, it is because of nervousness and anxiety that one feels before and throughout the interview. Carrying the domain knowledge may help one about 40%.For the rest of the 60%, the key is to be confident and be prepared in advance. But then, one never knows the questions that one may be shot with. One guaranteed question that is asked at the beginning of every interview is “Tell me about yourself”.
How to Answer “Tell Me about Yourself”?
The first and important question that is asked in every interview is tell me about yourself. The motive behind asking this question is to break the ice and make the interviewee comfortable to speak with ease. Simultaneously the interviewer goes through the Curriculum Vitae or the resume of the candidate. Also, from the first words that the interviewee communicates gives the interviewer a general picture of the candidate. It gives him a benefit to make decisions about hiring (for a fresher) or promoting (for existing employees). He is extra careful as his poor choice of a decision will leave a mark on him and the wrong employee becomes a bad influence on the development of the organization.
It is often tricky to answer the question. One never knows what exactly does the interviewer wants to know. Every single detail on the education and other required things are on the resume, what else does the interviewer want to know? Is it about childhood, family, habits, hobbies that should be said? A total dilemma and this one answer could make or break the interview.The ultimate goal of answering the question is to create a strong impression on the interviewer. So, including that information that leaves an imprint is imperative.
What to avoid while answering tell me about yourself?
Whether one is a fresher or an experienced one, everyone, in general, has to go through this big hurdle at the beginning of an interview. So, before understanding how to answer, a brief detail on what not to include is necessary.
1. The Resume in a Nutshell type
Very often candidates respond to the question by summarizing the resume or CV in a nutshell. This turns out to be a monologue and recited boring the listener within just two sentences. By the time the candidate reaches the end of the answer, the interviewer would have zoned out.
2. The Humble Human Type
Sometimes, the candidates feel expressing their talents and achievements may seem like bragging and assume that the interviewer may not be a fan of it. So, they try to be too modest and don’t put out their positive points. They don’t go by the “selling themselves” concept and fail to show the potential, passion, desire, and the spark in them.
3. Personal Life Peek-A-Boo Type.
Some candidates react to this question by giving the interviewer a peek into their personal life. They answer starting with- what they love doing in free time? About the habits and hobbies they have, their pets, sibling and friends etc. all of which is irrelevant to the interviewer.
4. The Naive Type
Some other candidates fail at answering the question due to their confusion. They become clueless as to what exactly the interviewer is interested to know and start rambling. Some even end up asking back the interviewer what information is he/she looking for which is a huge blunder.
Tell Me about Yourself for an Interview.
At the interview, there are huge chances of going completely blank even at those times when the answers to the questions asked by the interview have been known by-heart. And a question like tell me about yourself feels like facing the moment of truth where one realizes that they have not done anything in life that could be expressed with pride. For the interviewer, the question is an open-ended way to accept the answer but for the interviewee, the question is like walking on a rope.
1. Understand the job profile
Before going to an interview it is important to understand the job profile and know the requirements of that job and duties that are to be carried out. Once that is understood, one should try to match up to the requirements of the job. A brief walk through the career must be given with all high points and achievements. Adding details that could go along with the job profile that is offered.
2. Being precise
Although the question is an open-ended one, the answer given by the candidate has to be precise and not long-winded. Just focusing on all the high points of the career and the academic achievements must be included.
3. Communication; not a monologue
The candidate must answer in such a way that it should seem like a communication and not a monologue that has been mugged-up by heart. The answer must grab the interest and attract the interviewer to listen. The interviewer must be shown that the candidate is articulated and has the ability to think quickly and communicate confidently as well.
4. Be in a time frame
An experienced employee may have a lot in his basket of achievements to tell the interviewer that may go for a while. But the trick here is to cover all the achievements in less than 2 or 3 minutes. Any answer that goes for more than that may seem like the candidate is just roaming around the bush looking for a worthy point.
5. Prepare in advance
It is always suggested to prepare for the answer in advance with a timer so that the candidate understands the points that can be gathered in the time-frame of 2 to 3 minutes. This can be done by noting down the points that must be included. By doing this the most important points may be focused on.
An experienced candidate need not start from the day 1 of their career as there is nothing that important to be told. So starting the answer from the time the candidate has actually shined in the career is essential.
In short, the question tell me about yourself has the questions like these hidden behind them.
- Tell me about yourself in terms of profession.
- What according to you is essential for the job?
- How will you be fitting in the firm and prove to be an asset?
- How efficient are you in answering an “unstructured” question on the go
“THE STAR APPROACH “
This is an approach that helps the candidate to answer the question precisely. STAR is an abbreviation for Situation, Task, Action, and Result.
The answer to tell me about yourself must begin with a real-life professional situation that required the candidate to solve a problem using a skill or by coming up with a new idea.
Next step is todescribe the scope of action that is allowed on the job in such a situation.
After describing the action that was taken, if it is different from the required usual task it is better to justify why the different path was chosen.
This is the point to leave a real impression. Illustrate the success that came up after the action on the situation. It the best if the success rate is associated with numbers and details. Also, the number of times the candidate has acted in such a situation and has solved the problems faced by the firm.
The STAR approach gives a clear detail of the ability and technical know-how of the candidate.
Tell Me about Yourself Answer for a fresher
The question is common to any candidate facing an interview, whether an experienced one or a fresher. A fresher faces more dilemmas that an experienced candidate as the former doesn’t have much to say about any professional achievements, career path or the projects they have handled successfully.
The interviewer, when interviewing a fresher,is aware of the fact that the fresher has no professional experience. Yet asks the question to check the level of confidence, their desire to be a part of the firm, and the way the question is answered.The question sets a milestone for the rest of the interview, and if the question is answered right could work wonders for the rest of the interview.
Before going to the interview, it is necessary for the candidate to know about the firm and the job applied for. Prepare well with the required documents and certificates.
1. Brief on the Academic details
A fresher could start answering the question by giving a brief of the education background since plus two. Also, very minute info about family, place of living, and hobbies may be included
Apart from academic details, the fresher should include enough details about the major and minor achievements. It may include prizes won in various competitions at various levels, seminars and workshops attended, paper presentations etc.
3. Project and internships
Details on completing various assignments and projects with its title, duration of the project, methods used, and effort involved must be included. The fresher must tell about the internship undergone if any, and the role played in it, duties & responsibilities, practical experiences etc.
4. Volunteer work
It is essential to include any volunteer work in the answer.This shows some knowledge of work ethics and also gives a picture of seriousness and commitment in the character of the candidate. Adding information on volunteer work or any part-time jobs taken up adds up to necessary skills essential for the role.
5. Justify strengths
It is very common to include the strengths in the resume. So, at the tell me about yourself question, it is an opportunity to justify whatever strengths are written on the resume.This could be done by giving a real-life example.
Whatever information has been included in the answer it should be under 2-3 sentences and around 2-3 minutes and not more than that. Avoid stretching the answer too much.
7. Keep it simple
Generally, fresher tries to over exaggerate and try to show off the English speaking knowledge they have. They tend to use sentences like “I am basically from…” “Initially I belong to…” to seem cooler at the interview. But that is not really required. The trick is keeping the language simple so that the focus can be maintained on the answer.
8. Avoid controversial topics
References to controversial topics such as religion or politics are better if avoided.
Also you can check out this video to get more tips to answer tell me about yourself interview question: