There is one question that you will get asked in almost every interview. You know it. It is the notorious “tell me about yourself.” There are several other versions such as “walk me through your resume” or “introduce yourself”, but the essence is the same. It is usually the first question in an interview, and arguably the most important one. Failing to effectively answer this question will lead to a quick rejection by the interviewer. The good news is that you can fully prepare for it in advance.
I want to first show you some common mistakes that I have noticed over the years:
Too long: Most interviewees have the tendency of talking too much during an interview, especially when answering this question. 90% answers I have heard are longer than 3 minutes and some even last for more than 5 minutes. That is way too long! They seem to hold the view that the longer the answer, the better. But that is not true for three key reasons:
1. You will likely bore the interviewer with your life stories. You may think your stories are exciting, but the interviewer usually is not as interested in them. They are more interested in quickly assessing if you are a good fit for the role they are hiring.
2. You end up repeating yourself in the subsequent interview questions when you have to draw the same experience that you have already talked about in detail earlier.
3. You come across as someone who lacks communication skills and emotional intelligence.