27 October, 2022

How to Answer the Question: Tell Me About Yourself | Video

Most people dread the question, ‘now, tell me about yourself?’

This question feels very open and very scary. However, it is THE BEST question to get. This is a question you can 100% prepare for. It’s your pitch. And many of your competitors will mess this up and set up a poor first impression.

This video is safe for viewing in the workplace.

This is learning, so, sit back and enjoy

Tell Me About Yourself: First Impressions

First impressions are what this question is all about. It’s an easy way for the interviewer to get the interview started and make a quick assessment of you.

So… They don’t want to hear your life story.

They want to put you in a pigeonhole. And the one you are aiming for is:

  • Focused
  • Relevant
  • Capable
  • And a good fit

That is what you need to practice for. And it’s well-worth practicing this one because it is a crucial differentiator among candidates and there is also a very decent chance you will get this question.

What NOT to Tell Me About Yourself

In a while, I’ll give you my four-step structure for a great answer. And here’s a clue. It doesn’t include: 

  • your family life 
  • your social life 
  • friends 
  • hobbies 
  • sport
  • your early life 
  • or your ambition to climb Mount Everest or to write a novel

The Four Ps for How to Tell Me About Yourself

Your first task is to analyze the job description. What are your skills, strengths, and powers, that give you the best possible fit for the job description requirements?

Now build a narrative based on the four Ps of:

  1. Powers
  2. Proof
  3. Position
  4. Pairing

How to Use the Four Ps to Tell Me About Yourself

When you get the question, thank them for the opportunity to answer it and then spell out the 4 Ps. And, when you do, frame everything in terms of the employer’s needs and priorities. After all, they only want to know one thing about you: ‘what’s in it for me?’ (ie for the interviewer).

Powers (What you Offer)

Let them know what you are good at – the strengths you have that will best help them. Your skills and capabilities and any qualifications that back them up.

Proof (That You Can Deliver)

But qualifications aren’t proof: they are just supporting evidence. You need to choose a relevant example from your experience and show the success you had and what the outcomes were. Business achievements always trump certificates.

Position (The Role You are After)

Now you can get onto why you are here. You need to demonstrate to them that you understand what really matters to them in this role and what it would take to make it a success.

Pairing (How You Fit the Role)

And this will allow you to show how you and the role are the perfect pairing. How do your powers fit their purpose? Show you are enthusiastic about the position and let them know what value you will bring to it that makes you an ideal candidate.

After ‘Tell Me About Yourself’

If you do all of this well, it fits you into the select group of candidates they will really want to hear from for the rest of the interview. And it’s in the body of the interview when you will have the chance to take yourself from being an ideal candidate to THE ideal candidate.

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Mike Clayton

About the Author...

Dr Mike Clayton is one of the most successful and in-demand project management trainers in the UK. He is author of 14 best-selling books, including four about project management. He is also a prolific blogger and contributor to ProjectManager.com and Project, the journal of the Association for Project Management. Between 1990 and 2002, Mike was a successful project manager, leading large project teams and delivering complex projects. In 2016, Mike launched OnlinePMCourses.
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