So why do hiring managers ask this question? Do they really want to get to know you better? In fact, there are two much more practical reasons why hiring managers ask this question: But why would they want to throw you off your game?
Anyone can prepare for a situation that they know is coming, much like anyone can prepare for an interview question that they know is coming. By asking an unstructured question like this the hiring manager is able to get a good idea of your ability to think and adapt on the fly. You pass the test. So how does one answer this question? The best way to understand this is to first talk about the common mistakes made by most job seekers.
Common Mistakes Okay, so as you might have guessed, this is one of the job interview questions that most people get wrong. This is not an invitation for you to simply list off your past accomplishments. I was born in and spent most of my childhood hunched over a piano, striving to become a concert pianist which I now am. I really love working with my hands and spent a lot of my time in the woodwork shop.
But save it for after you get hired. You just lost the job. There are going to be a lot more questions coming down the pipe that will allow you to elaborate on your various experiences, skills and accomplishments. So what is the most important thing to remember? We here at The Interview Guys Headquarters would have to strongly agree! Which is why we are always harping on our catchphrase: You need to customize or tailor your response to the question to the needs of the organization.
We like to call these Qualities. But how do you find the Qualities they want and how do you incorporate them into your answers? But how exactly do you do that for Tell Me About Yourself? The best way to do it is to provide a Success Story that highlights the Quality that you are trying to demonstrate. A Success Story is an example from your past work experience that clearly demonstrates you succeeding in some way. For example, a time that you solved a problem, excelled in a difficult situation or used a certain skill to get the job done.
You still need to be careful to answer the question. But then transition into your success story by saying something like "But the best way to emphasize who I am and what I'm about is reflected in this story I'd really describe myself as a person with a versatile skill-set, a lot of integrity and a willingness to go the extra mile to satisfy a customer.
Perhaps the best way to let you know what I'm about is to share with you a quick experience I had. Recently while working at a location with a client, they mentioned that they had just purchased some software that I was familiar with but that their computer systems were having some difficulty integrating the program.
I offered to take a look at the install and found that there was a step that had somehow been forgotten. I told him I would be happy to wipe the system and reinstall the software correctly. At first the client refused and when I asked him why, he told me that it was too expensive and that they were just going to learn to work around the problem. When I told him it was a simple matter of wiping the previous version and reinstalling it, he was stunned.
And there you have it…the perfect wrap up. For example, if you are a new graduate you can reference your academic achievements, athletic endeavors, charity and volunteer work. If you had to work in any kind of group for any activity you can use these experiences as an example. So reach back into your past and find some Success Stories to help answer the question.
It could be leadership, it could be collaboration, or it could be literally any other Quality you come across. The point is, once you discover what that Quality is, it will determine the Success Story that you pull from your past to help support it. So whether it is from your last job, or a previous job, or not from a work scenario at all as stated above; your academics, your athletics, etc.
An interview is really just a long sales pitch. People who talk only about themselves are boring. In it you'll find answers to fit a variety of scenarios including: