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by Paddy Collins on April 27th, 2017


This is the first of the series of typical interview questions. For each question we will outline why the interviewer is asking the question and how the interviewee should respond to it.

Our suggestions should be treated as guidelines, always adapt them to your personal judgement of the situation and to your own particular experience and individual style.

Tell me about yourself

Why is this question asked?

 – To start the dialogue, relax into interview, put you at ease  and ‘break the ice’

– To get to know you in a less formal way, to build rapport and to see if you can connect with interviewers in a human way – can you create ‘rapport’ at an early stage?

– Observing your friendliness and confidence level

– They are asking ‘could we work with this person’?  How have they progressed through their career?

– To find other areas / topics to explore with you later and to verify how they relate to the job (from the job requirements perspective)

– To see whether you are prepared and whether you have clarity about yourself. What do you choose to emphasise, how relevant is it to the role?

– Helps panel get to know you quickly or refresh their memory if they have met you already

– To consider if you have a ‘brand’ and how it sits with the interviewers panel

How to Answer?

 – Ideal max 2 – 3mins input. It’s the first chance to ‘sell yourself’ positively. Be natural  and concise.

– Get to work-related input quickly – focus on your profession, experience, progress of career

– Emphasize your recent experience and key achievements – direct towards competencies required for the job of interest

– Take control by providing ‘relevant hooks’ (linked to job requirements), you have prepared on these topics / competencies and you want the panel to probe on them

– Use aspects of your brand statement – finish with your key differentiators (relevant to the job)

– Optional: Give very short input on personal information at end – e.g. where you are from, your hobby

– Stay calm, be brief, simple, honest – remember to always tailor your message to the specific job


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