This is possibly the most common and intimidating question that comes up during any interview. No other question is as open ended as this one, and therefore it can cause many to become concerned about what the interviewer wants as an answer. Don’t worry – this is one of the best interview questions out there as it allows you to take ownership of your own story.

Here is what you should keep in mind:

  • This is commonly the first question, and is set to find out how well you can open up a conversation about yourself and how you present your story.  The interviewer can ask follow up questions based on your CV and your answers
  • Show the interviewer that what you provide is of value to them. The points you mention here are the most important to you, therefore choose carefully
  • The answer should be short – not so short that no follow up questions can be asked, and definitely not a monologue
  • Never follow up this question with the “what would you like to know” answer – this gives the impression that you are unable to sift through your experience appropriately
  • Your answer should be focussed on your most relevant and important experience. Do not start with what you have done immediately following graduation, if your experience out of university was not relevant to your next job
  • In your spare time, work on your ‘elevator pitch’, answering the question fluently without mumbling or stumbling
  • Instead of mentioning where you worked and moving on to the next one through your CV, start with your most applicable experience and describe your responsibilities and accomplishments
  • Mention your motivations and what you would like to do for the company where you are interviewing – what is it that YOU can provide?
  • Avoid getting too personal, don’t give excuses, or downplay your importance in a company – impressions count – make the most of this opportunity, avoid embellishing the truth and be positive!

Aldrich & Company