We all know the dreaded HR interview question..."Tell me about yourself"
What the heck does that mean? It is probably the broadest question in any first stage interview and one of the hardest to quantify, unless of course, you are prepared. I have read several hundred articles of varying opinions on the best way to answer this & this is my take.
Remember that first 2 minutes is the most crucial of any interview.
1) Do your research on the job itself.
Summarise yourself with distinct reference to the vital skills cited in the job brief. Let's use a Senior Account Management role with man management as an example.
"After graduating in XXX with a 2:1, I started my career with XXX. This is where I first experienced exposure to p&l c£3million responsibility. Working in collaboration with cross functional teams I started to build on my commercial skills. This was also my first taste of external customer involvement with XXX at Buying Manager level involving developing my new business & account management skills.
2) Don't be afraid to highlight your achievements
Too often we play ourselves down! Don't do it - be proud of what you have done.
"In 2014 I was promoted as a result of my excellent results, winning Account Manager of the year at our annual awards. With my promotion to Senior Account Manager came increased responsibility. This is where I started to learn about longer term strategic partnerships with my customer's exposure to building JBP's, while also becoming responsible for a much bigger slice of the p&l. I also had to present internally at senior strategy meetings, which gave me my first C-Suite level exposure gaining me recognition within my organisation on the Leadership Team."
3) Wrap it up & keep it relevant.
At this point usually we have been waffling for 10 minutes about how we have progressed and the interviewer's eyes are starting to close. Keep it short, punchy and relevant guys & girls!
"This leads me on to my current role. I am now part of a much larger organisation where I have developed my broader skills across Category Management/Insights, Marketing & latterly man management. For the last 12 months I have managed a team of 3 people which has developed my softer skills in coaching, mentoring & development which I thoroughly enjoy."
"Not only have I had to set overall team strategy and target my team to achieve, I have had to coach them, consistently review our successes and learnings and flex my style to adapt in order to inspire my team to win. This has led to one of the team being promoted, which I am particularly proud of. I am now also involved in wider team development as part of the Senior Leadership Team working with our business Directors on bringing talent through our business."
I have put the typical HR relevant skills an employer will hear in Italics.
This summary should take no longer than 30 seconds to 1 minute to go through roughly 5 -10 years of your career.
It leaves you the opportunity to go back and expand on areas of achievement while displaying your clear relevance to the role and the business. Make sure the values the business emanates are highlighted.
Keep it simple and succinct - you can go into the detail with the questions later on!
Plan to articulate how you meet the employer’s needs You probably spent a lot of time working with the job description when you put together your cover letter and resume. Now that you’ve gotten an interview, you’ll want to review it—pay close attention to the qualifications and job duties—these are essentially lists of the employer’s needs.