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Tell me about yourself
Interview questions, insights, and tips to help you prepare
The phone rings and it’s the recruiter contacting you about the position you applied for a few weeks back. You feel like it would be an ideal fit and could be a truly rewarding role that you’ve been seeking for some time.
You have an interview scheduled early next week. One question that you feel you need to better prepare for: Tell me about yourself. This one seems to leave your heart racing and palms sweaty and in past interviews you felt like you’ve stumbled a bit in answering it.
It’s natural to feel a little case of the nerves as you prepare for an interview. However, one of the keys to overcoming nervous energy you may feel is preparation.
According to Lead Recruiting Specialist Elizabeth Quancard, Deloitte Services LP, many interviews are segmented into understanding your skills and past experiences, as well as personal characteristics. What she suggests is actually studying up on potential interview questions that may be asked, starting with the first one most interviewers ask at the beginning of an interview: Tell me about yourself. One of the most constructive ways to prepare for this question is to have a strong elevator speech ready.
While the elevator speech will help with one question, here are some other common questions to think through prior to your interview:
- Why are you interested in working here?
- What are your strengths?
- What are your development areas?
- Where do you see yourself in five years?
- What has been the best position you’ve held and why?
In addition to evaluating specific interview questions, Quancard strongly suggests that you reflect on two or three past projects and then frame questions with these projects in mind. The more specific you can be about how, what, who, when, and where you respond about skills and past experiences, the more adept and comfortable you may be at answering interview questions.
Here are some questions to help frame specific experiences and projects:
- Who was on the project?
- What were some of the business issues you faced and how did you overcome them?
- If you had a lead role, how did you build a team?
- How did you select specific individuals for certain roles?
- How did you manage the budget?
- Can you discuss the timeline and technology you used?
- What was the outcome of the project?
- What did you learn from the project? What would you do differently?