“Describe yourself” or “tell me something about yourself”.
This is the first question which is asked in most of the interviews. This question is asked not only HR interview, but in technical interview as well. Interviews are like speed dating. This question decides how long your interview is going to be. If you do not look impressive enough to interviewer he might call for next candidate.
What is the purpose of this question:
- These questions are meant to be ice-breaker.
- Interviewer wants to know what you have been doing with your life so far so that he can ask more questions. Next few questions depends on the answer to this question.
- Interviewer is looking for something impressive.
What you could include in ‘about me’ answer:
Ideally you should include –
- Your name.
- Describe your educational background. Achievements in academics.
- Most significant work experience or achievement.
- Hobbies. Emphasis on your passion. Support your claim with examples.
- Things you are looking forward to in life. What matters you the most.
- Why are you interviewing for this company.
- End with your life motto. A one liner.
Break the answer into 3 parts:
- Describe your past : Where you have been. Where did you go to school? where have you worked? How long have you been in the industry? Interviewer may ask questions along the way. So make sure you listen to him and respond.
- Your present: Where you are now? where you are working now? Why are you looking for a new job? Why are you leaving the last one?
- Future: Where you want to be? Are you motivated enough? Are you ambitious? What are your goals? Employer can tell a lot about candidate when they talk about their future goals.
- Keep it brief. Don’t stretch more than 4-5 minutes. This question is just to start the things. Don’t take over the interview. Also if your story is not super exciting and full of twists, it could be a little boring.
- Tailor your story according to the job needs. You might have lot to say. But do not get tempted to narrate the whole story. Choose points which are relevant to the job requirement.
- Address negative things proactively. If you have gap in your education, address it first.
- Connect the dots. Your stories should relate to one another. “I did thing XYZ so that I could do ABC and hence I learned PQR in the process”.
- Finally conclude the story by speaking to the current moment. “….and this is why I was look for job in this XYZ fields”.
Interviewer is looking for something interesting. Focus as much as you can on your passion and achievements. It could be going to a great college. Building some project from scratch. describe about some certification you did. NCC or scouting. Awards and recognition.
Create a motto for yourself. A one liner which can define you, which you can use to sum up your purpose of life.