PI QUESTION --Tell me something about yourself? -
July 11th, 2008
When an interviewer asks you this question, it isn’t a polite request for your life story. What the interviewer wants to know is "why should I hire you?" Though you can answer this open-ended question in myriad ways, the key to answering this question is to offer a response that supports your career objective. This means that you should not respond with comments about your family details, hobbies, spouse, or cat but craft a convincing statement that will make the interviewer want to know more about you and what you can do for his organisation.
The following steps will help you grab the interviewer’s attention:
Focus On What’s Important
List down five strengths you have that are pertinent to the job (experience, personality traits, your positive skills, et al). What do you want the interviewer to know about you when you leave?
Keep To The Script
Prepare a brief that includes the information you want to convey. Begin by talking about past job experiences and proven success. Next, mention your strengths and achievements. And then conclude with a statement about your current situation and what you are looking for in your next job.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Practice with your brief until you feel confident about what you want to emphasize in your statement. Your brief should help you stay on track, but you shouldn't memorise it as you don't want to sound artificial and rehearsed. You should sound spontaneous and conversational. Even if you are not asked this type of question to begin the interview, this preparation will help you focus on what you have to offer. The more you can talk about your product (which in this case is YOU!) the better chance you will have at selling it.
Try And Make It Relevant
Introduce attributes that are key to the open position. In fact, answering the question effectively gives you the opportunity to talk about your strengths, achievements, and qualifications for the position that you have applied for.
Be Compelling And Concise
Your career summary is the "meat" of your response, so it must support your job objective and it must be compelling. Keep your response limited to your current experience. Don't go back more than 10 years.
Link Your Response To The Hiring Organisation’s Need
Do not assume that the interviewer will be able to connect all the dots. It is your job as the person being interviewed to make sure the interviewer understands how your experience is relevant to the position they are seeking to fill.
Ask An Insightful Question
By asking a question you gain control of the interview. Don't ask a question for the sake of asking. Be sure that the question will engage the interviewer in a conversation. Doing so will alleviate the stress you may feel to perform.
The best way to end your statement is to put the conversational ball in the interviewer’s court. Listen attentively to the response about the kind of person the company is looking for and determine what part of your experience and accomplishment to mention as the interview progresses. Remember, it is almost guaranteed that when you respond appropriately to the diverse needs of the interviewing person, you will become the standard by which all of the other candidates will be measured.
Though deceptively simple this question can set the tone for the rest of your interview. So take care in answering it. Remember, this question can make or break the interviewer’s interest in you. All the best!