10 Dec Tell me about yourself and other questions you shouldn’t panic over
Today’s blog is brought to you by what is, probably, the most career-related Google search of all time: How to answer when an interviewer asks, “tell me about yourself”. For some of us (me), the thought of talking about ourselves in a professional context is as terrifying as finding out your car rego is due (read: worst fear). It’s a simple question that often feels like it needs a complex answer, but taking the present-past-future approach routine will ensure you’re a better smooth-talker than Ryan Gosling. Here’s how to talk about your interests and skills in a professional context, and why you shouldn’t panic the next time a prospective employer says, “so… tell me about yourself.”
“So… tell me about yourself”
- Start with the now: Give the interviewer a chance to understand what your day-to-day looks like, including parts of your role that won’t be immediately obvious in your CV.
Talking about what you do for a work is a common conversation starter and something that most of us feel comfortable doing, even with someone we’ve just met.
- Whether it was a promotion, career break or an opportunity you couldn’t pass on, talk through any previous professional roles, making mention of skills and career highlights.
This will give the interviewer a sense of who you are, what drives you and what you’ve enjoyed. Showing passion for your industry, role and team will make a positive impact.
- Think forward: Mention any areas of interest you want to explore and what you think might be next for you, including how the role advertised will fill that void.
Ideally, this part of your answer will show your desire to step outside your comfort zone, upskill, take on a challenge and grow professionally.
Of course, you can also talk about yourself in a non-professional context and mention any volunteer work or extra-curricular activities you have participated in that might be relevant to your role.
Remember, there is a reason for each question in an interview and you are always being observed so make sure your answers add value to your CV submission. At Mint Talent, we use a psych-based approach to recruitment – which means we absolutely love figuring out what makes people tick and what kind of role is going to be best suited for them. We meet a variety of industry professionals from graduates to c-suite; hearing lots of different answers and tales. Even if you think you’re not an interesting person, chances are we will find you interesting! (and be able to articulate that to the prospective employer).
Some other tricky questions include:
- What is your biggest professional weakness?
The key to successfully answering this question is your ability to turn a negative into a positive.
- Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Think about the role you have applied for and how this company will be able to provide that in the long-term.
- Why are you looking to leave your current role?
Avoid giving your employer red flags by focusing your answer on where you want to be. If you want to lead a team and there’s no opportunity for that in your current role, talk about how you are passionate about people management – maybe you’ve volunteered as a coach or a mentor – take the opportunity to show how the advertised role will allow you to follow your desired career path.
- Why are you the best person for the job
Loosely reiterate your skills, experience and goals and how this will be beneficial to the company.
Congratulations! Hopefully with these tips you can be on your way to a post-interview flat white and chocolate chip muffin, AND a Masters in Answering Tricky Interview Questions. As we hear more, we’ll add more – but in the meantime, feel free to share your experiences with us.