When interviewing prospective employees, many interviewers form a strong opinion of the candidate in the first few minutes. All candidates want to make sure that they create a positive impression by jump-starting the interview with a powerful answer to the very first question.
Many interviewers begin their interview with the familiar “Tell me about yourself.” The purpose of this question is for the interviewer to get a feel for each of the candidates, to see how they see themselves, how they think and communicate. For the candidates it is a free, unstructured question, that allows them to determine what they would like the employer to know about them, their interest in the position, and their skills and abilities. It can set the tone of the interview and create the positive impression every candidate seeks.
You need to develop a strong answer to this question, practice it until it feels comfortable and unrehearsed, and be able to respond when asked with confidence and ease. Instead of giving an autobiographical tour of your life, develop a flexible answer to the question. This will allow you to use your prepared answer and adjust it as necessary. An answer that you have developed thoughtfully will allow you to use the answer or a version of the answer when you are asked other questions, such as; Why should we hire you? or What makes you the perfect candidate?
What you want the employer to know about you is WHY you are interested in the position and what skills YOU have to offer. You want to begin with a strong statement about yourself related to the job and the type of person they are looking for. Identify the qualities that you have that are important to the employer. This needs to be done by giving an example or telling a story. Select an example of how you have developed the skills and abilities needed. Second you want the employer to know when and where you acquired the interest in their particular type of law. This needs to be succinct and to the point as well as invite questions and further conversation. Remember you are giving the employer a snapshot of yourself that will allow them to see how YOU will fit into their organization. You want them to think at the end of the short minute or two you take to answer the question, “Wow, they would be a good fit in the office.”
While drafting your answer, keep these things in mind:
- Be brief and to the point
- Be memorable, tell YOUR story
- Less is always more
- Let your personality show