Job interview: how to naturally answer the question “Tell me about yourself” – Forbes France

This is one of the most dreaded job interview questions: “Tell me about yourself. » Paradoxically, recruiters often ask this because they think it’s an easy way to establish rapport and facilitate a conversation between both parties.

Article by Mark Murphy for Forbes USA – translated by Flora Lucas

While this question may sound like an invitation to tell your life story, the recruiter is generally looking for a concise and professional summary of your background as it relates to the position. But how can you achieve this in less than a minute?

If you want to summarize your journey without going into details about your personal life, without unnecessarily exposing your weaknesses, or without asking questions, you need to have a simple framework for structuring your answer. The best structure to tell recruiters about yourself is: where I’ve been, where I am, where I’m going.

“Where I’ve Been” gives you a chance to reflect on your past roles, your achievements and the great things you’ve learned. “Where I am” prompts you to describe your current role, its scope and what you bring to it. Finally, “where I’m going” allows you to share your aspirations, why the proposed position interests you, and how it fits into your career trajectory.

Don’t try to do too much

A sample answer for a mid-career professional can be written using this structure:

“Early in my career, I immersed myself in the media industry, developing systems for various forms of content creation and making them faster and better. Through development in several functions, I was promoted to Marketing Director at DEF. And I’m really happy to say that we’ve had a 317% increase in social media engagement in one year. I currently lead a team of six people who develop high ROI digital strategies on a daily basis. I am seeking a leadership role where I can lead even larger digital initiatives, help the leadership team integrate digital into the company’s strategy and mentor new talent. »

The key to answering this question is threefold. First, don’t try to overdo it with the answer. Remember that it is often used to establish rapport, so you need to appear natural and provide useful information; you won’t get through the interview alone with this question. Second, give yourself structure to keep your thoughts organized and your reactions flowing. Third, provide details for your answer. The key to avoiding clichéd and generic answers is to incorporate elements specific to your career. Studies Words that cost you a conversation (Words that cost you an interview) showed that poorly rated interview responses contained few details but a lot of adverbs and absolutes (such as “always” and “never”). In other words, poorly graded answers give the impression that anyone, regardless of education, could have given such an answer. Here’s an example of a cliche and generic answer:

“I’m the type of person who is passionate about everything I do. I have always worked hard, am a team player and a quick learner. I pride myself on being able to wear multiple hats and juggle multiple tasks effectively. Throughout my career, I have always been one to get things done efficiently and with a positive attitude. I thrive in a constantly evolving environment and always strive to contribute to the success of my team. »

The golden rule for answering the “tell me about yourself” question is to speak authentically. It’s about painting a vivid and concise picture of your career path and adding details that make an impact. And avoid the all-too-common trap of vague and general terms that can make your answer completely irrelevant.

Also Read: Five Strategies to Survive the Endless Interview Process

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