It’s a common interview question, and if you’re on the search for a new job, you’ve probably answered it many times. Interviewers ask this question to get a sense of how you answer unstructured questions. It also gives them an opportunity to see how articulate and confident you are. The best way to answer this question is to focus your answers on what interests the employer and highlight your most important past accomplishments.
According to Jane Cranston, a career coach from New York, “The biggest mistake people being interviewed make is thinking the interviewer really wants to know about them as a person.” Do not answer this question by telling the interviewer your whole life story. Nancy Fox, of Fox Coaching Associates recommends starting with your most recent employment and that explain why you are well qualified for the position. Demonstrate your strengths, with brief examples. Many employers will ask more about your strengths later, but this is a great time to give an overview. The interviewer is interested in your previous work experiences and how they will benefit their company.
The best way to answer this question is to highlight your most important work-related accomplishments. Greg Maka, managing director at 24/7 Marketing, advises job seekers to “tell a memorable story about your attributes.” For example, if you tell an interviewer that people describe you as tenacious, provide a brief story that shows how you have been tenacious in achieving your goals. Stories tend to make a powerful impression and stick with employers. You want to make yourself stand out so the interviewer will remember you. Be sure to make yourself stand out in a good way, though. Don’t go on for too long answering this question. It is just one of many and you don’t want to waste the interviewer’s time telling them every past work accomplishment.
While you don’t want to waste the interviewer’s time by telling them your whole life story, you should allow them to get a sense of your personality. Often the interviewer wants to get a sense of you as a person as they will work very closely with you. You need to be able to talk about yourself in a succinct and personal way that doesn’t go on and on but gives them a flavor for your interests. Start with work but end with 2-4 well-crafted sentences about you as a person. Give examples of your volunteer work or sports and hobbies that interest you.
Talking about yourself in an interview can be difficult. Be sure you focus on your work-related experience while still giving the interviewer a feel for your personality. If you are searching for a role in accounting, administration, finance, human resources, marketing or operations in the San Francisco Bay Area, call us today. Menlo Partners Staffing, a Peninsula based temporary staffing and employment agency (650)752-6193.