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“Tell Us about Yourself”—How to Craft a Winning Answer

An interview is a chance for you and a potential employer to get to know each other. They will often open the meeting with the familiar invitation “tell us about yourself.” Being prepared for this question means the difference between a meandering answer that’s forgettable and a compelling statement of who you are. Here are four elements to integrate into your self-characterization:

1. Values. Why do you do what you do? What fuels and shapes your approach? Highlighting your values gives employers insight into who you are—and how you’d be a valuable member of their team.

2. Process. How do you approach your work? What practices give form to your work and enable your success? Employers value seeing your initiative and problem-solving skills.

3. Competitive advantage. What makes you stand out from the other applicants they are interviewing? What can you bring to this position that someone else can’t?

4. Experience. Ultimately you want to connect your skill-set to the position they are hiring for. Tailor your narrative to this role with this organization. Help them see how your expertise can enhance their success.

Taken together, these aspects paint a picture of where you’ve come from, where you’re headed, and why you do what you do. That makes a clear and lasting impression.