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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.

Question 1:        Tell me about yourself

Why is this question asked?

– Starts the dialogue, relax into interview, put you at ease – ‘break the ice’
– Get to know you in a less formal way to build rapport and to see if you can relate / connect with them at an early point in a human way – can you create ‘rapport’?
– Observing your confidence level – and friendliness
– They’re asking ‘could we work with this person’?  How have they progressed through their career?
– Find other areas or ‘hooks’ or ‘topics’ to explore with you later  – relate to job (so they can see you have raised important points with them – from the job requirements perspective)
– To see – are you prepared / have you clarity about yourself? What do you choose to emphasise – that might be relevant to the role?
– Helps panel get to know you quickly – or refresh their memory – hear you with fresh ears!
– To consider if you have a ‘brand’ and how it sits with the panel

How to Answer?

– Ideal max 2 mins – 3mins input (first chance to ‘sell yourself’ positively). Be concise.
– Get to work-related input quickly – profession, experience, progress of career
– Career and recent experience and key achievements – map to competencies/experience of job of interest
– Provide ‘relevant hooks’ (linked to job requirements) – take control – you want them to note/probe on these points because you are prepared on these topics / competencies
– Optional: Give very short input on personal information at end – e.g. where from, family, hobby?
– Use aspects of brand statement – Finish with key differentiators and direction (all relevant to the job)
– Keep it positive / keep it concise and punchy (2 mins) – stay calm
– Brief, simple, honest, natural – tailored to the specific job

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