“Er, what do you want to know?”
If you do not know what the interviewer expects from you at this point, maybe you shouldn’t be at the interview at all.
Most people do not like to talk about themselves and end up rambling, in hope that the interviewer will interrupt them quickly and ask the next question.
But what if they don’t? If your interviewer is a good listener, he or she may wait until you finish, taking note of not just what you say but how you say it.
Communication is one of the most demanded skills in companies today. It is also a key factor in gaining or retaining clients if you are freelance or you have your own company, Overall, in life, communication is one of our best allies.
Recurring questions related to “Tell Me About Yourself” are: Should I learn the answer word for word? Wouldn’t it be better to just be relaxed and improvise?
These are the same questions we face any time that we speak in public.
The answer is: Neither one nor the other.
Preparation and practice are key to success in life. It is worth investing time in knowing what you want to highlight about yourself and the company, organizing your thoughts, trying out different ways of expressing yourself (including stories and anecdotes, for example), and recording yourself to hear and see how you sound and look to other people.
Uncomfortable? Only if you focus solely on “what you can improve”. There is another part before that: Identifying what your natural communication skills are.
Therefore, I recommend these 3 steps to giving a solid and appropriate answer:
1) Highlight the main points you want to include.
Identify (and express concisely) your main achievements.
2) Deal with your psychological barriers.
Learn to de-dramatize and focus on your message. Thinking that you have to communicate perfectly and give a particular image are barriers to communicating effectively.
3) Practice. Again and again.
Set yourself the challenge to improve without laying on the pressure. Although it might feel hard, awkward and boring to practice at first, the more you practice, the more you will get used to talking about yourself and your aspirations, and the more you will enjoy it.
All of this can be done with the help of a coach, who will make sure that you go through all the steps necessary to “Tell me about yourself” with more ease and enthusiasm.
Preparing this question will give you material for most interview questions. As such, you can pause to think and answer the questions with a smile, rather than knee-jerk reacting with, “Er, what do you want to know?”.