According to Megan Nee, Consultant at Futureboard, the first thing a candidate should do when answering a “Tell us about Yourself” question is applying it to the interview context: the interviewer will want to know more about your academic history and up-to-date work experience than about your hobbies. Megan says: “A good way to start is using your most relevant work experience to showcase your achievements working in such position. Once you’ve done that, you can assess the impact you’ve had on the interviewer and move on, or ask if there are any additional details they would like to know.”
Megan adds that talking about your hobbies shouldn’t always be ignored: “If your hobbies are relevant to the position you’re applying for – say for example you’re looking for an IT role and you enjoy taking part in hackathons in your free time – then mentioning them is a great opportunity to demonstrate your personality and passion for the sector.” According to the Career Thought Leaders website, a good way to answer such questions is to turn them into competency questions: mention some of your key skills and give proof and examples of situations in which you used them.
Joanne Keilt, Consultant at Futureboard, says: “You don’t want to end up talking about yourself for 25 minutes – that in itself could look like a weakness.” Joanne adds it’s fine to prompt the interviewer for more details on what they want to know, but that it is sometimes easier to prepare for such a question with a few key facts about yourself. She says: “Practice a brief introduction about yourself including your working style, what career you aspire to and what you’ve learnt during your education. Think of the question as an opportunity to shape what the employer will see you as and to share your personal brand.” However, Joanne also says the “Tell us about Yourself” question can be a good opportunity to expand on your CV with skills, hobbies and passions – as long as they’re relevant.”
Joanne says another tricky task you might be presented with in a job interview is exposing your weaknesses. She doesn’t believe in answering with weaknesses that are actually positive traits: “Don’t say,’I’m a perfectionist’. It looks like you’re just trying to show off how great you are.” Joanne suggests you should answer such questions by talking about your true, genuine weaknesses – as long as they’re faults you can easily fix or develop with training and guidance from the organisation you want to go into. She says: “Don’t say ‘I’m late all the time’ or ‘I always make mistakes because I overlook the tasks I’m given.’ “But if you say something like, ‘I tend to forget to complete all my tasks when I’m dealing with too many at the same time, but by jotting them down I generally overcome the problem,’ you will look more human.” You can find out more about how to answer tricky job interview questions here. Picture by: careergirlnetwork.com