Tell me about yourself

Such an innocent sounding question…No! It is a trap, and one that most people fall into. This common opener in interviews is not an invitation to recite your resume. Nor, spend 2 minutes talking about your favorite hobby.

This is an opportunity – a predictable opportunity, to craft an engaging, intriguing executive summary of who you are and why you are there in the interview. There is no hard and fast rule as to how long it should be, but let’s say up to a minute.

  • Interviewers are known to make up their mind in the first few minutes of the interview. Start strong and relevant.
  • Momentum is important in building and carrying your confidence. If you are given this opportunity, turn it to your advantage to establish momentum at the outset of the interview.
  • Make it relevant to the job you are being interviewed for – the stronger the connection you can make about your background, knowledge and interests to the job you are interviewing for, the more compelling you will be as a candidate.
  • If there is something notable about your personal life that adds to your candidacy or helps explain your career trajectory, add it. Otherwise, leave personal details out at this stage.

You want to craft a short statement that makes sense of where you have been so far in your career and where you are going. Rather than ground level, think 20,000 feet level.