Congratulations! The pains you went through to draft a sharp resume have paid off. The organisation wants to meet you. But…. now you are nervous all over again. Face to face or more challenging still, a telephonic interview, naturally you want to be well prepared. After all, this is the opportunity for you to give passion to your voice, to portray conviction, to engender confidence in the employer’s mind – that yes, you are the right person for the job.
So, why don’t you tell me about yourself?
Most hiring managers open with this question as soon as the exchange of pleasantries is over. Why do you think he/she asks this? Do you think it is viewed as an icebreaker? A way to make the interviewee feel at ease – after all the interviewee is talking about the subject he/she knows best – himself/herself
Beware, as an interviewee – don’t fall into this trap. A historical rendition of your biography will ensure your interviewer is nodding off in the first 5 minutes. Sentences like … “I grew up in…..” or “I completed my graduation in ……” are definite off putters. Jump in to the reply in a way to grab the interviewer’s interest. Create a unique situation in the mind of the interviewer – whether he finally hires you or not – he must remember you. Make an impression. Use those precious first 5 minutes doing that.
Look for examples in your past work experience where you can describe yourself through a specific example.
Make a list of qualities you would like the interviewer to see and use these 5-7 minutes to showcase them. A few examples could be:
Communication – practice and structure your thoughts so there is a good rhythm when you speak
Confidence – this attribute can be displayed through body language
Passion – most employers look for passion in a candidate – your style, conviction and confidence will show your natural passion. If you convey this to the prospective hirer he will feel confident in reposing responsibility in you.
Clarity of thought – how do you structure your thoughts and words – the flow – the way you link event
Skills – use one or two real examples to show relevant skills based on the job you are applying for – selling, leadership, motivation, execution, timely delivery, problem solving.
Remember – Be yourself – a skilled interviewer has the ability to sense good qualities in an applicant.