A while back a friend of mine attended a job interview with one of the top notch consulting firms in the country, and right off the bat, the first question was “So, Anne, tell us about yourself,” It was a panel interview, hence the “us”. Job interviews are somehow new to her, having worked for a family business close to 2 years.
She decided to wing the whole interview. Went in unprepared, needless to say, she didn’t get the job. If you are new to job interviews, the questions can sometimes catch you off-guard or think, “Wait, is this some sort of a dinner date,” or worse, go off and start yammering about things which the interviewer doesn’t really care about.
To help you get on the right foot, here are 3 tips to one of the most common job interview questions, “Tell me a bit about yourself,”, I have seen your CV, but I would like to know about you, tell me about yourself,” The question can be phrased in so many ways…and most times, as it should be, it’s obviously the first question…the ice breaker…so here you go.
- Focus on “Who You Are”
Your introduction should be to focus on who you are professionally (key word here is, professionally) and what you’ve accomplished for the past 3 years or so. It should be an overview statement that shows off your strengths and gives a little sense of your dope career journey.
Something to pique the interviewer interest and say, “When can you start?”
Good Answer: “I’m an innovative PR Consultant with 3 years of experience managing top marketing firms in the country, some of which have been featured on Business Daily Leading Marketing Firms in Kenya…..
Bad Answer: “Well, I grew up in Lodwar. As a child, I originally wanted to be a Teacher, then later became interested in farming. I excelled in the sciences early on. But I later found out that farming in Lodwar is not conducive…bla bla
- Focus on Your Expertise Highlights
What most people assume is that the interviewer has thoroughly read their CV’s and knows their qualifications in details. Remember you are not the only candidate who’s applied for this particular job. So, how do you position yourself to be not only the right but best candidate for the job?
This is where to briefly highlight 2-4 points that you think make you stand out.
Good Answer: “I have spent the last 2 Years developing my skills and expertise as a customer service manager for ABC Company, where I have won several performance awards and was promoted twice. I love managing teams and solving customer problems.”
The emphasis here is to focus on experience, enthusiasm, and proof of performance.
Bad Answer: “My first job was as an administrative assistant for XYZ Company in Kajiado County. I learned a great deal in that role that served me well over the 6 months. At the time, I wasn’t sure about my career path, so I next took a position as an Administrative Clerk. The job only lasted for six months, but it was fun.”
The second answer doesn’t help your case and matter of fact, it reflects on your indecisiveness or non-committal tendencies to sticking to a job based on feelings.
- Why Are You Here?
Why are you interested in this job?A good way is to end by telling them why you want this position.
Good Answer: “Although I love my current role, I feel I’m now ready for a more challenging assignment and this position really excites me.”
Concise and positive.
Bad Answer: “Because of the company’s current financial problems, I’m worried about my job’s stability and have decided to start looking for new opportunities. I don’t want to be caught up in all that mess when things go south”
Realize how that second answer sounds. It might be your honest answer but it shows that you are willing to jump ship at the first sign of trouble aren’t you? The interviewer is not interested in your money woes or personal reasons.