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Attending an interview? How to answer the question tell me about yourself.

Attending an interview? How to answer the question tell me about yourself.

Tell me about yourself/talk me through your CV/Resume Don’t be offended when asked this question – some senior people see this as being quite basic.

However, many interviewers find this a great way to see how well someone can account for themselves, how well they can project themselves and that it’s a good way to get to know a candidate’s abilities, and motivations. Most people struggle when answering this question, regardless as to how senior they are. Our pointers are:

• Firstly turn the table on the interviewer ~ find out what they want you to cover and how long they would like you to spend talking through it.

• Most interviewers will expect this to take up to just 20 minutes of an hour meeting. We stress those words “up to”!

• So it’s important to keep yourself on track. It’s easy to drift off the subject and give long answers. Not answering the question will irritate and bore the interviewer.

• What’s the interviewer looking for? For senior management positions they wish to satisfy themselves that you have the background and skills to do the job.

• So where appropriate make certain what you say is relevant to the company, its line of business and the requirements of the role.

• You should be careful not to place all your emphasis on making what you have done seem relevant to the job. Don’t go over the top because the interviewer might easily think you’re saying what you think he wants to hear, rather than the real you!

• Where appropriate align your experiences, skills and achievements to the nature of the opening for which you are interviewing. Be sure to communicate things which you consider particularly relevant, and understand recent experiences and achievements are more meaningful than those which happened a long time ago.

• Include facts and figures which show you in a good light. The balance of what you say should be on the positive.

• Early career experience should be covered quickly since it has least value and more recent experience covered in more detail.

• If you’ve had considerable experience and a large number of previous employers, it’s important to keep your answer brief – you may wish to think of your career in three short chapters to bring the interviewer up to date. So for example, you could say “following graduation in Economics, I joined one of the big four and for the next 10 years spent time as an auditor, and accounting supervisor” i.e. This would represent the first chapter of your career.

 •Whatever you do, don’t go into ‘broadcast mode’ and ramble on at length about things in your past employment history which have little or no relevance to the current situation.

• Throw the question back to the interviewer as appropriate – ask him or her if there is anything else they would like to know about you.

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