The granddaddy of job interview questions is still surprisingly the one proves most difficult for most job seekers to answer. That question is “Tell Me About Yourself”. It’s really more of a request than a question but can put you on the spot that knocks you out of contention entirely for the job if you don’t respond appropriately.
The most important thing to recognize is what the interviewer wants to hear. They don’t want to hear about your childhood, your college years, your hobbies or interests. They want to get a feel for your skills, experience, talents and your accomplishments. Don’t ask the interviewer for the clarification on the question or whether they are interested in your personal or professional life. You are not responding to a Match.com as you are in a job interview. You ought to know what they are interested in and sure enough they would like to know your technical writing skills and not your tennis.
You should be walking into every interview ready with a 90 seconds or 2 minutes response that contains the key elements that the interviewer wants to hear.
Start out with a brief introduction, and move on to your key accomplishments, primary strengths which are demonstrated by those accomplishments, the importance of these strengths to the company’s employer and how it fits the employer wants to do, and finally how you see yourself developing these talents further for the employer.
Assuming you are interviewing for a position as a project manager for a software development company, you will need to convey concisely on how your skills, talents, experiences and accomplishments can help the employer achieve their business objectives by hiring you. Below is an example of the structure:
Sample Answer with Breakdown
1. Brief Introduction:
I spent my entire career in software development, loving the challenges of staying on top with all the latest technologies in creating thoughtful software solutions to help business perform better.
2. Personal Strengths:
Although I always love the process of coding applications, I discover early on that I enjoy the strategic elements of software development even more.
3. Link your strength with their needs:
I’m always been extremely organized and discovered my ability to envision and organize complex tasks is crucial to successful software development.
4. Specific example of accomplishment:
At my last job, I was responsible for the mobile applications group that was preparing to launch mobile application for the Blackberry and iPhone that wil synchronized with the company’s desktop software.
5. Stories are memorable:
When I got there, the software was already 3 months late and causing the company both in lost revenue and damaged reputation. With help from the marketing group, I established new priorities, set benchmarks for developers on both platform, creating a reporting system to let everyone see daily progress and we finally delivered the new mobile apps in 45 days.
6. Provide measurable evidence of success:
These mobile apps have now been adopted by 60% of the company’s client and generated over a $150,000 dollars in revenue.
7. Summarize your key attributes:
As a leading software in social media space, I’m running the same commitment organization structure to your development projects to ensure you maintain first move of status.
8. Show interest in current projects:
By the way, how are your new mobile applications coming along?
As you can see, I have demonstrated my primary professional strengths. illustrated how those applied to my previous position, displayed the value of my experience and open the interview to discuss specific projects to explore how I can contribute to their business objectives. If they want to know more about my tennis game, we can chat about it over lunch after they hire me.