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Tips for Describing Yourself During an Interview

During the interview process, the hiring manager almost always asks, “How would you describe yourself?”

It can be a scary question and a balancing act. It’s tough finding the line between self-confidence in your abilities and coming across as arrogant. How do you describe yourself to someone who has a real influence on whether you get the job!

Yes, it’s a challenge, but it is an important question. When an interviewer asks you to describe yourself, they’re searching for the answer to a more profound question. They want to know if your character traits and skill sets match what’s required for the role. It takes a balance of bold confidence, honesty, and humility to answer this question well. Consider this –

Desired qualifications vary from job to job, but hiring managers are generally looking at three key areas:

  • Your personality
  • Your work style (and results)
  • How you interact with others

Your response should shed light on these areas, so prepare accordingly.

Do Your Research

Spend time studying what the company is looking for in a candidate. First, look closely at the job posting and their listed keywords as desirable or necessary traits. Next, determine which skills are your strong points and weave them into your answers.

Ask Yourself Some Questions

“Tell me about yourself” is an open-ended question. Ask yourself some questions beforehand and formulate an organized response.

  • Why does this role interest you?
  • What stands out about this company?
  • What personal qualities make you a good fit?

Use your answers to help structure your frame of thought ahead of time.

Create an Elevator Pitch

Using your research and some self-examination, create an elevator pitch. Just something 60 to 90 seconds long that accentuates one or two of your key qualities, tying them with quantifiable examples and results from past work scenarios. Practice your pitch until it becomes comfortable and natural. Remember, you’re trying to show them you’re the best man (or woman) for the job!

How You Answer is Important

Experts agree that how you describe yourself is just as important, if not more so than what you say. You could say all the keywords and list all the qualities, but it doesn’t do any good if you don’t present yourself well. Likely, you’ll have more than one opportunity to describe yourself, so it’s essential to be self-aware during the whole interview.

  • Be confident — but not cocky.
  • Speak clearly.
  • Be personable and relevant.
  • Maintain eye contact and keep your shoulders straight.
  • Stay positive.
  • Don’t drag out your answers. Keep them short and sweet.
  • Avoid slang as well as filler words like “Um,” “Just,” or “Like.”
  • Avoid talking about your personal life (your kids, marital status, political or religious beliefs). These things should have no bearing on your qualifications.
  • Don’t “copy and paste” straight from your resumé. It comes across as generic.
  • Be honest! It’s tempting to rattle off some buzzwords, but if they hire you and you don’t prove true to your description, it won’t be a pleasant experience.
  • Always tie “keyword descriptors” to examples and real situations and results.

At Hamilton Connections, we call ourselves placement professionals. We love placing the right talent with the right opportunities. So if you’re on the lookout for a new career opportunity, contact us today or apply online!

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