The one interview question everybody dreads

The one interview question everyone dreads

By far the most difficult interview question is “can you tell us a little about yourself?” These eight words can be terrifying if you’re not sure what to say. Relax – here are six tips to help you respond:

What do recruiters really want to know? 

Keep in mind that the interviewer is using this enquiry for a couple of reasons. The first is as an ice-breaker, but more importantly, the way you answer gives them a better sense of who you are. If you mumble, fumble or ramble your way through this answer, it generally does not leave a lasting impression.

So what should you talk about? 

The best thing to do is stick to business-related topics. Give a brief summary of your career to date, your education and any highlights along the way. Don’t just run through your resume again – your interviewer already has it. Use this as an opportunity to highlight your key achievements, particularly those that relate to the position on offer.  

Breathe before you respond

You should be proud of what you have learned and achieved so far and feel confident discussing it with your interviewer. Be engaging – remember to take your time, speak clearly, maintain good eye contact and smile. If your recruiter likes what they hear you’ve set the tone for a successful interview.  

Display confidence not arrogance

Your interview is a chance to sell yourself, but remember to do it in a way that doesn’t come across as arrogant or obnoxious. Confidence and arrogance are very different, so focus on your strengths, but not in a way that makes you appear to have no weaknesses. It’s not a good look.

How much detail should you go into?

Not much is the short answer – you have the rest of the interview to expand on anything the interviewer would like to hear more about. Keep your answer brief but friendly – you don’t want to come across as too shy or defensive. Leave your recruiter wanting to hear more, not less!

It’s not personal, it’s business

Only comment on personal topics when asked, and keep your reference to them general. This is a job interview after all, so keep your answer focused on what you could bring to this role. If the interviewer wants to know anything more than that, they’ll ask, and will appreciate your professionalism.

Don’t try and be someone you’re not, and don’t overthink it – just be your professional, wonderful self and you’ll always have great interviews!


CPA Career Mentor


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