Lee Miller, Adjunct Professor at Columbia University, says, “Rather than dread this question, a well-prepared candidate should welcome this inquiry. Properly answered, this question puts the candidate in the driver’s seat. It gives her an opportunity to sell herself. It allows her to set the tone and direction for the rest of the interview.”

Do’s and Don’ts:

1. DO prepare for this question. Practice your answer to this question and the top ten interview questions. This preparation will serve you well for any question you get asked.

2. DON’T answer a question with a question like, What would you like to know? Not being able to summarize your professional expertise in a few minutes without pushing back at your interviewer says all the wrong things about your confidence and ability to handle an unstructured situation.

3. DO tailor your response to the job you are interviewing for. Talk about the professional experience you have had that prepares you for this job. Highlight your most important business accomplishments. Focus on what you think the interviewer is most interested in.

4. DON’T ramble on for more than a few minutes. Give them plenty of relevant information but not your entire work history. Leave them wanting to know more about you.

5. DO end your answer with an interesting personal tidbit. An unusual hobby or volunteer activity ends your serious answer on a lighter note inviting continued conversation and continued interest.

Pre-interview preparation and believing in yourself both go a long way to successfully fielding the interview question, “Tell Me About Yourself.” Executive Recruiters, Smith Hanley Associates, would love to assist you in all of your interviewing and job search needs. Contact Jacque Paige at [email protected].

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