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What Does ‘Tell Me About Yourself’ Really Mean in a Job Interview?


Posted on September 3, 2015 by Butch Reiser '89.

Courtesy: Butch Reiser ’89 Butch Reiser ’89 presents a talk about interviews

In order to hit the ground running when it comes to finding a job upon graduating, Delaware Valley University students need to know how to nail the sit-down interview with a prospective employer. To give you some insight into how you can impress hiring managers, read on to learn from Jim “Butch” Reiser ’89 what “Tell me about yourself” really means in an interview.

The Real Meaning

As you know, you don’t get a second opportunity to make a first impression during a job interview. So it’s extremely important how you answer the commonly posed “Tell me about yourself,” which really means “Tell me about your qualifications to perform this job.” Often the icebreaker for an interview, your response to this will help to set the tone for the rest of your interview.

So how do you structure your response? How long should the response be? What do you want to communicate?

I always start with what you are or what you want to be (the position you’re applying for) followed by education and expertise:

·      I’m a sales manager and I have more than 19 years experience in manufacturing sales. I received my bachelor’s degree in business administration from DelVal. My expertise is in selling equipment to labs all over the country.

Incorporate Top Skills

The next step is picking your top skills and then, looking at the job description for those nuggets that tell you what key factors the interviewer is looking for. Hopefully, your skill set will match theirs.

You might see key words or phrases such as sales, communication, organized, detailed, teamwork, or relationship builder:

·       I have the competency to listen to my customers and really hear what they’re saying. I consider this a key sales trait. I have the ability to communicate and relate to others, express myself clearly, and do it consistently, especially under extreme pressure.

·      My previous VP would tell you that my strengths are my persistence and relationship-building skills. I’m able to communicate with and win over the most challenging customers. I’m able to connect with them at their level and listen with empathy. I take a very personal approach when meeting with clients, and I follow up with prompt service. I work well independently or as a member of a team.

·      I’m very detailed oriented and have a strong work ethic. I have a talent for identifying opportunities and setting priorities. I can juggle a lot at once without missing any details or making any mistakes.

·      How I can add value to your company is that I was the top sales person in my company two out of the past three years. I doubled my sales goals in 2014 from $1 million to $2 million. I have a passion for sales, and I’m very familiar with your products and competition.

How Long Should My Answer Be?

The “Tell me about yourself” answer should last one to two minutes. This will give the interviewer a general idea of your strengths and set the tone for the rest of the interview.

If you’re interested in learning more about DelVal’s various programs, you can plan a campus visit today.

“Preparation is the key to success.”

Butch Reiser ’89, Head Coach, All Pro Interviews

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