Start Your Interview off Right
By Amy Meier
Whether you consider yourself an expert at interviewing or recognize that you need some help, how you answer the first question can set the tone for an entire interview. We have all been there and have heard the most common first question – “Tell me about yourself?” While this seems like a question that should be easy to answer, this opening question can be daunting and catch you off guard if you are not prepared. Instead of freezing up, having an answer ready to go in your mind beforehand can help. Read through the tips below for help on composing your first answer in an interview.
- You do not need to re-state your name and where you are from or where you live. The company already has this information on your resume and application.
- Although the interviewer is asking about you on the whole, you should never include any personal information in your answer. This includes your marital status, if you have children, hobbies, interests, etc. Focus only on your professional side: Work history, professional and relevant skills, education, career goals, etc. as this is all that the interviewer is really interested in.
- Always try and tailor your opening statement to the specific job and company. If the posting states that 3 to 4 years of experience in a particular field or environment is required and you have that experience, mention that you are looking for a position where you can utilize that experience.
- Maybe you are open to positions in different areas or fields right now. While this is a good thing, you want to always make the interviewer feel that you are most passionate about the field that the position is in. If you say something like you are just looking for a job, this can make you sound desperate and no employer is attracted to that. They want to know that you will be motivated and successful in this position.
- Sometimes you might be called in for an interview when you don’t have the required experience listed in the posting. Don’t be nervous! This should build your confidence because they saw something in your resume that they liked. In your opening statement try to focus on the skills you can bring to the company and your desire to learn, instead of mentioning your lack of experience.
- If you have completed your degree within the past year, this is always good to bring as it makes you more marketable. This shows that you are updated in the field and have furthered your skills. Focus on how you desire to utilize the concepts and things you’ve learned in your program.
- If your employment history and background are unrelated to the position, explain your desire to transition into the industry and explain why you desire that change and what makes you passionate about that field.
For more career search advice, please contact the Career Services Department at 877-221-5800 ext. 15060 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.