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How To Answer: Tell Me About Yourself

Jun 21, 2018 | Blog

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This might be one of the most difficult questions you’ll be asked purely because it seems so vague. Answering with “what do you want to know?” is a bad idea, so, to give you some help should this question come up (and it will!), we at CA Financial Appointments have put our heads together to offer our own experience of what interviewers want from this question.

It’s likely to be the start of the interview

This allows you to set the tone. Seize the opportunity to do this and gain some control over how the interview is run. If you look like a deer in the headlights and “umm” and “ah” over this this one, you’re showing your interviewer that you are timid, indecisive and probably not a great candidate for the role. No matter what job you’re going for, those are never attractive traits.

It’s not the same as “Why should we hire you?”

It’s not far off, but it definitely does not require the same answer. It is more of an opportunity to present yourself as an individual who would be a good fit for the role and company, not merely a candidate for the role. You do have to keep the role in mind, of course, but it would be a wasted opportunity to answer this question the same way as you would the “why should we hire you?” one, as both are inevitably going to come up and answering the same for both is a bad idea.

Don’t recite your CV

They’ve read that already. You don’t need to regale them in verbal form. What you do need to do is talk about a bigger picture, but not so big that you end up telling them about your passion for online gaming or designer shoes. What you need to do with your answer is give them a picture of you as a person who would be likely to get along well at their company. Talk about things that represent you as outgoing, ambitious, driven, active and interesting. You can mention hobbies or sports, but certainly don’t go into detail, unless you happen to be asked to – you never know if your interviewer is also a secret online gaming fan too! The most important things to focus on are your achievements and it can help to prepare an ‘elevator pitch’ that incorporates them. This is not normally a question that an interviewer will dwell on too long, so coming up with something relatively short, succinct and valuable is key.

Do a social media check

What you say about yourself needs to match what your social media shows. If you choose to have more open profiles, make sure what they can see (because they will have checked) is aligned with what you say.

Often used as an opener, this question is a great way to show your interviewer(s) what kind of person you are from the start. If you can get them on your side from the beginning, you are going to make the rest of the interview much more successful.

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