Interviewing

How to Answer, Tell Me About Yourself

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Everyone know this question is coming and surprisingly, very few people prepare for it. Get your interview off on the right foot by having the perfect answer to: Tell Me About Yourself…

THE BASICS

Your answer should be a concise, carefully planned and well-practiced description of the VALUE you bring to a company. Unless you are interviewing with the hiring manager, your answer should be easily understood by a layperson. In total, you answer should be 45-seconds to minute.

WRITE EVERYTHING OUT

Write a summary of your experience, skills and accomplishments. Include EVERYTHING you would want a potential employer to know about you. Narrow this down to about 3 bullet points to use as the basis of your answer.

V.E.P. (Value, Education, Personal)

Experienced job seekers should spend roughly 80% of the time talking about their work experience with a strong emphasis on Value; 10-15% should be spent on Education and 5%-10% on personal information.

Less experienced job seekers should modify this formula by putting more emphasis on Education.

The order in which you discuss Value, Education and Personal items are totally up to you.

PREPARE TWO VERSIONS

Craft one answer for interviews and another for social settings. For the latter, it is acceptable to include more information about your personal life.

TAILOR YOUR ANSWER

The biggest complaint we hear from recruiters is that job seekers do not take the time to learn about their company. If you think you might be in a professional or social setting with someone from a company at which you want to work, tailor your answer to show that you are knowledgeable about that particular company.

PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE

Rehearse your answer. Practice on friends, in front of a mirror or into a video recorder. Repeat it (out loud) over and over until reciting it is second nature. Assume there will be follow-up questions from the interviewer and be prepared to answer them in a clear, concise manner.

Note: It is important NOT to memorize the answer. Forgetting part or getting things out of order are likely to make you uncomfortable and increases the chances you’ll mess up the rest of the interview.

Chris Kidd

Chris Kidd is the owner of StyleCareers.com, StylePortfolios.com, StyleDispatch.com, FashionCareerFairs.com and FashionRetailCareers.com.