Tell me about yourself

The Guardian:

This is one of the most popular questions asked at interviews, and your response will probably set the tone for the rest of the interview. It is the most challenging question for many people, as they wonder what the interviewer really wants to know and what they should include. How would you respond? One thing is for sure: the interviewer doesn’t want to know your family details or personal background. What he is interested in are your achievements and the milestones in your career. As you cannot afford to get your answer wrong, here is how you should start preparing yourself for this question. Focus List five strengths you have that are pertinent to this job (experiences, traits, skills). What do you want the interviewer to know about you when you leave?

Scripting Prepare a script that includes the information you want to convey. Begin by talking about past experiences and proven success: “I have been in the customer service industry for the past five years. My most recent experience has been handling incoming calls in the high tech industry. One reason I particularly enjoy this business, and the challenges that go along with it, is the opportunity to connect with people. In my last job, I formed some significant customer relationships resulting in a 30 per cent increase in sales in a few months.”

Mention your strengths and abilities: “My real strength is my attention to detail. I pride myself on my reputation for following through and meeting deadlines. When I commit to doing something, I make sure it gets done on time.”

Conclude with a statement about your current situation: “What I am looking for now is a company that values customer relations, where I can join a strong team and have a positive impact on customer retention and sales.” Practice Practice your script until you feel confident about what you want to emphasise in your statement. Your script should help you stay on track, but don’t memorise it — you don’t want to sound stiff and rehearsed. It should sound natural and conversational. Even if you are not asked this question in the interview, this will help you focus.