The job interview you’ve been waiting for is finally here, and you’re all smiles until the hiring manager says, “So, tell me about yourself.” You’re stumped, unsure about what they want to hear and where to start. How do you choose the right answer to show them you’re the right person for the job?
5 tips for answering the question
Putting together an appropriate answer to this question is a lot easier than you might think. Follow the tips provided below to fashion your response:
- Think in terms of past, present and future. This is a simple formula that will help you structure your answer:
- Present: Talk about your current job and present a recent accomplishment.
- Past: Explain how you got there or mention a past achievement that’s relevant to the job to which you’re applying.
- Future: Transition your answer to dive into what you hope to accomplish in the future, particularly at the new job.
I’ve been a creative copywriter at my current employer for four years. I’m in charge of developing original concepts and writing all the texts for major retail brands, like Pink & Co. and MIRA. Before that, I worked at an agency for two years where I created social media content for two cosmetics brands. Working with clothing and makeup brands the last few years is something that I’ve enjoyed, as it has allowed me to develop so many creative skills, from photography to art direction, that I now hope to put to good use with one single brand. That’s why I’m excited and grateful for the opportunity to interview with LUNA.
“Personally, I recommend on focusing on how the past learned experiences will add to the present job they are applying to, but to also keep in mind what their future goals are,” says Pabon. “Even though future goals can change, showing that you are thinking ahead lets the interviewer know that you are committed to do what it takes in the present to reach that goal.”
- Tailor your answer to fit the job and company. Do research on the job, and pick out skills and experiences from your background that fit the position and can be included in your answer.
“If you don’t study the company values and the job description the interviewer will notice and will not be impressed,” adds Pabon. “Job titles only tell you part of the story.”
Also, pinpoint unique attributes you have that match what the job needs.
- Be concise. Work on summarizing your answer before your interview, and aim for keeping your answer within a specific time (e.g., 2 minutes). Remember: You don’t have to give them every single detail. Let the conversation flow. As Pabon states, “If the interviewer wants to know more about a specific skill or job, they will follow up with another question later in the interview.”
- Practice makes perfect. While we can’t know for sure the questions that will be asked during an interview, there’s a high probability that the interviewer will want to know more about you. Have mock interviews and go over your response.
- Stay positive yet professional. This is your chance to make a good first impression. Smile when you introduce yourself and thank the interviewer for their time. Be confident and friendly, but present yourself as reliable and professional to everyone you meet.
“Interviews can be nerve-wracking and that is completely normal, but it’s good to try to control those nerves. It is easier to be more personable when you have a sense of control,” says Pabon. “A few key things to keep in mind when interviewing in person is to be polite to everyone you interact with in the office. One of the things I do the most is ask our receptionist how the candidate interaction was. Were they rude? Did they acknowledge other people around them?”
More interview tips and resources
As we said above, preparation is key. Get ready for your interview by checking out other interview questions — such as “Why do you want this job?” or “How do you deal with conflict?” — and learning how to properly respond to them.
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