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Sally Chopping
Interview Coach
In Pittsburgh phone
(412) 478-6785

 

interview questions and answersInterview Skills

"Tell me about yourself"

How to answer when the interviewer says this at the beginning of the interview

This is the question that is most often asked at interviews. Often it will be the first question. The general nature of the question can be a trap. Have your answer prepared and do not ramble.

Here is a simple and effective way to prepare your response to "Tell me about Yourself."

Prepare your response in three steps and then put the steps together.

1)  Work out what the THREE most important qualities are for the job. Begin your answer by stating that you have these qualities. For example, if it is a sales job, the most important qualities they are looking for might be:

  • The ability to communicate well with people.

  • The ability to set goals and stay on track.

  • The ability to handle rejection.

So you would say: "I am an extravert who interacts well with people. I like to set myself goals and keep them and I'm very persistent."

2)  Say where you last worked (or say the job that was most relevant to the position that you are applying for now) and pick one or two things you achieved at that job. For example: “I worked as a sales rep for the Savoy Company and I was their top salesman for three years running. Last year I sold over 1 million dollars worth of widgets”

3)  Say why you want to work for the particular company you are applying for. Show specific knowledge about the industry and the company that you are applying for. Show enthusiasm about the company. Example:  “I want to work in pharmaceutical sales because it is an area where I can use my ability to create solid long term relationships with clients. I want to work for your company in particular because you concentrate on gastroenterological drugs which is an area that is growing at the rate of 20% a year. That gives you a solid base from which to introduce new products like Endophine. I’d like to be part of that.”

If you put 1, 2 and 3 together in our example, you get a reply to "Tell me about yourself" that goes like this:

“I am an extravert who interacts well with people. I like to set myself goals and keep them and I'm very persistent. I worked as a sales rep for the Savoy Company and I was their top salesman for three years running. Last year I sold over 1 million dollars worth of widgets. I want to work in pharmaceutical sales because it is an area where I can use my ability to create solid long term relationships with clients. I want to work for your company in particular because you concentrate on gastroenterological drugs which is an area that is growing at the rate of 20% a year. That gives you a solid base from which to introduce new products like Endophine. I’d like to be part of that.”

NOTES FOR "TELL ME ABOUT YOURSELF"

The wrong way to put it is: “I want to work for your company because you have great benefits and pay good commissions” That shows interest in YOURSELF and not interest in the company.

Don’t make the reply to this too long. Two minutes tops. You want to interact with the interviewer as soon as possible and if you go over two minutes you are giving a speech, not interacting.

Don’t forget to make eye contact. You want to look the interviewer in the eye and connect so don’t look down when you give your answer.

THE BIG BONUS

Ask a question at the end of your reply. The key to winning at the interview is to get your interviewer talking. At the end of the reply in our example, instead of just pausing and waiting for the interviewer to ask something else, our interviewee could say: “How are the sales of Endophine going?” This would be a good way of getting the interviewer to start talking.

For interview coaching in Pittsburgh call (412) 478-6785 Practice makes perfect! Schedule a coaching session with Sally Chopping to practice your interviewing techniques.

 

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Sally Chopping
Public Speaking Coach, Pittsburgh
Email: sally@ActingForBusiness.com
Phone: 412-478-6785