‘So, Tell Me About Yourself’: Use This 4-Step Formula to Answer This Dreaded Question
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
” Tell me about yourself. No five words elicit more angst in people than this statement. It is one of the most frequently asked questions at job interview .. Although it can be scary to talk about yourself, it is an essential skill in the workplace. These are the four steps you can take to introduce yourself and share the value that you bring .
Step 1: Build a rapport
Often when confronted with, “so, tell me about yourself,” you’re engaged in a conversation with people who scarcely know you. Don’t talk about the job scope. Instead, try to establish a real connection and build a relationship with those who ask. Tell us about your life and circumstances. Your situational identity is where you are in your life right now, a particular circumstance that shapes how you show up in the world or a community that you identify with that helps to shape your individuality. Some people prefer to talk about their background, such as where they were born, where they went to college, and where they live. Yet, you can talk about a cause or community you belong to or a personal story about a moment in your life that helped to define you. In a recent interview, I asked a client to talk about himself. He talked about his time in the army, how he took responsibility for his younger siblings after his mother died, and what this taught him about leadership. It helps you to understand yourself better by sharing aspects of your identity and background. It can reveal commonalities between you, your prospects, and help you build trust and connection with them. This is a great way to show your interpersonal skills. 55% of employers say they find it very difficult to find qualified candidates with strong interpersonal skills.
People with good interpersonal skills can “build healthy relationships with their colleagues and work better as a team,” says communication scholars Brian Spitzberg and William Cupach. These skills are highly sought after. Indeed, many employers say interpersonal and communication skills are very important to gaining leadership positions in their organizations.
Step 2: Communicate who you are — not just what you do
When people meet you, they do not meet your credentials, experience or expertise. Instead, they come into contact with your personality and social skills (also known as “soft skills,” “human skills” or “power skills”). When you are asked about yourself, focus on your core values and personal attributes. These are your human skills that communicate who you are as a person, not just what you can do. You can, for example, declare that you are compassionate. Then explain why and give an example of a situation where compassion was helpful in your work experience. Employers value human skills because they know that job-specific skills are possible to be taught. They therefore look for skills such as leadership, empathy, communication, adaptability and self-awareness. These skills can indicate your ability to interact with others effectively and harmoniously. Emotional people are more likely to be good leaders and co-workers. They create the right environment and set the tone for employees to flourish.
Your values are a key indicator of your character and a major clue about what you believe in and what people can expect from you when they work alongside you. Companies want to hire hardworking professionals with integrity and good ethics. Your ethos can help you demonstrate your ability to fit in with a company culture, contribute to its mission, and work well with others. To communicate your core values, you might say something like, “I believe in integrity. I approach all things honestly. I am fair in my judgement and mindful of the impact my actions have on others. You can then give an example of how you use your values to help you navigate difficult ethical situations.
Step 3: Communicate your competencies and pain points they solve
Reveal your capabilities, including areas of specialty, technical knowledge and expertise. You should also show how your skills help solve problems in your niche. Also, you should highlight the results you have achieved. For example, you could say, “I’m excellent at marketing. I created a digital marketing campaign for X company and they were able to increase sales by 50%.” This is important because it allows those listening to recognize that you have a strong personal brand that gets results. Communicating the problems your competencies solve also helps you to land roles where your talents are valued, engage in work that sparks your interest and assignments where you can offer the most value.
Step 4: Differentiate yourself
State your point of differentiation. What are you able to bring to the table that others don’t? How can you be different from your competitors? What does the “x factor” do to add value? In today’s fiercely competitive job market, it is crucial to separate yourself from the pack. You could be creative in your approach to solving a problem, or have a better way of doing the job. You can also be different by focusing on human skills such as your ability build positive relationships and being reliable. For example, a client once told me that she gives the same energy and commitment to her clients at 10 pm as she does at 8 am. I was blown away.
Overall, whenever you hear “tell me about yourself,” remember that it’s about making a solid and memorable first impression. It’s an opportunity to communicate clearly, connect with others and show your unique value .. Don’t miss this chance to show off your personal brand. You will feel more confident telling your story. This will build trust and allow others to get to know you better.