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Most Frequent Interview Question: Tell me something about yourself

The traps behind this question are lack of preparation and the tendency of candidates to launch into a long description. Always keep it simple and crisp, because we are non-native speakers of English, so the more we talk the more mistakes we may make. Nervousness makes people talk more than normal and the interviewer knows this too. Keep calm and be crisp.

Alternative, related questions:

  • If your references were asked about you, what do you think they would say about you?

  • What kind of person are you to work with?

The meaning behind the question:

Whether through the disguise of others or directly through your own internal lens, the intent is to see how you perceive and regard yourself— both as to how you think others see you and how you see yourself.

It is the classic opener and gives the interviewer time to size you up and to make you feel comfortable at the same time. While answering this, you can refer to the following:

  • Family background

  • places you grew up in

  • Schooling and further educational background

  • Skills

  • Specialization (take the opportunity to link up your specialization background with the job in view)

  • Strengths relevant to the job

  • Any significant projects, assignments, extracurricular activities where you excelled and the responsibilities involved

  • One or two major achievements

  • Hobbies / Interests

  • If you have had an internship in any organization. An internship is usually the first job exposure of any candidate; hence interviewers arc often keen to learn how you performed. Mention the nature of work or project you did and what are your achievements. You should mention how the experience gained could be of great help to you in performing the tasks of the job for which you are being interviewed.

  • Keep a few well-chosen qualities and adjectives up your sleeve to respond to this; eg, dedicated, independent, ambitious, loyal, motivated, determined, understanding, dynamic, credible, diligent, courteous, steadfast, adaptable, able, self-assured, courteous, steadfast, etc

Your reply should not exceed a time limit of 2 minutes in all Remember, whatever information you volunteer, ensure that you can take care of further questioning in those areas. Many a time, the remaining set of questions will stem from this one answer you give.