On the surface, your response to “tell me about yourself” should be the easiest of all responses to come up with during the interview. However, a surprising number of people struggle with responding to this request. At Baker Tilly Search & Staffing, we recommend candidates stick to two key ideas: keep your response professional and walk through your resume. Here are a few thoughts on how to do just that:
“Tell me about yourself” provides a great opportunity to give your thirty second elevator pitch. During this time, consider answering these questions: Why are you in this profession? What have you accomplished? Why are you looking to change jobs? Why are you interested in this specific position or company? Remember, employers are interested in who you are at work, so keep the focus business-related and avoid personal topics.
While personal information is sure to come out during the interview, it should do so organically and be relevant to the job or company. Though it can be tempting to share personal information about family, religion or hobbies, it’s best to stay on topic and keep the focus on why you are the best candidate for the position.
Being able to effectively walk through your resume is both important and difficult. The traditional way to walk through your resume is to start at the beginning and move to the present. As you walk through each position, you want to share your job responsibilities, accomplishments and why you left previous employers. You also want to identify whether or not you managed staff, who you reported to and the size of companies you worked with in the past. Remember, you have a finite amount of time to sell your skills, so you want to be as efficient as possible and spend the majority of your time highlighting relevant experiences.
Interviewing is a learned skill and the “tell me about yourself” response is one of the most difficult to master. The more time you prepare and practice your response, the better chance you’ll have of separating yourself from the pack and landing your dream job.
For more information on this topic, or to learn how Baker Tilly search and staffing specialists can help, contact our team.