April 4, 2016 | Barb Carr

Career Development Tips: When the Interviewer says, “So tell me about yourself!”

What do you think when you hear “so tell me about yourself!” in an interview?  Do you start to panic?  Do you wonder how much personal information to give? Do you wonder if the interviewer even took the time to prepare for the interview (after all, you sent him your resume that tells everything about your experience).

When an interviewer asks that question, he is often using it as an ice-breaker to find out if you will fit into the culture and perform well on-the-spot.  Here is how to use this question to your advantage.

  1. Take the opportunity. While you may feel awkward talking about yourself, it’s really a golden opportunity. Think of it as an invitation to tell your potential employer what you want them to know about you and what makes you unique.
  2. Steer toward your personal strengths. Instead of waiting to see what the interviewer will do, you can steer the discussion toward your strengths and concerns. A good opening will prompt the interviewer to ask follow-up questions about areas where you shine.
  3. Determine your fit. Remember that you’re evaluating the company while they’re screening you. Do you sense a connection with the interviewer, especially if they’ll be your supervisor? Are they listening attentively or shuffling papers? Your initial rapport may suggest what your working relationship will be lik
  4. Tell stories. You’re more than a list of keywords. Share interesting anecdotes that will make the interviewer remember you in a positive light.
  5. Create interest. Your self-description is like a movie trailer or the first chapter of a novel. Instead of trying to cram in your whole life story, make the interviewer want to hear more.

Walk into your next job interview ready and eager to talk about yourself and why you’re an outstanding candidate for the position. Focusing on the intersection between your strengths and the interviewer’s needs will help you to find a job you’ll love.

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