“Tell me a little about yourself.”
That’s a common line in any job interview. It’s something you should know is coming and something for which you should prepare. You should have some idea as to how you are going to answer such a question, so you’re not left stammering or giving a rambling, hard-to-follow answer.
If you are not sure how to answer the question, here are a few tips on how to approach it.
When the interviewer asks a question like this, he or she is trying to determine how good a fit you will be with the company. The hiring manager is trying to get a sense of your personality and attitude. If, for example, you come across as a sober and straitlaced type, and the company or department has a more informal, relaxed atmosphere, that might raise some reservations in the hiring manager’s mind as to whether the company/department is the right place for you.
The irony of the situation is that a hiring manager doesn’t really want to know a lot about you personally. You can save the biographical information for another time.
What an interviewer is most interested in hearing about is what you’ve achieved in career or job history. And now is a good time to expand on what you have on your résumé, to go beyond the bullet points and talk about what you have done, the contributions you have made, and to do it in a bit more depth. The interviewer wants to know what kind of job you are going to do in his or her company/department and telling him or her what you’ve done in the past will give the hiring manager an idea of how you’ll be able to contribute in the future.
You can also add a little information here about your attitude and personality, how you see yourself, what personality traits define you.
And, while many job applicants are under the mistaken impression that they need to be as brief as possible in their answers, you do need to watch so that you don’t wander off topic. Before you answer, take a little time to collect your thoughts and come up with a general plan as to what you are going to say. And again, it’s perfectly acceptable to talk for a few minutes about your background and experience, but watch that you don’t take any detours from your main point.
Got the job interview jitters? We’ll help calm you and give you some great tips when we send you for an interview with one of our client companies. Call RealStreet Staffing today so that we can help you find temporary and direct-hire positions with some of Washington DC’s top architecture, construction and engineering firms. We look forward to hearing from you!