Tell me about yourself (or some other variation) is probably THE most common interview question but many people say it is one of the most difficult to answer.
Why should I hire you?
I recently read an article about rude recruiters. The author went on to say that asking “Why should I hire you?” is rude. My response was why is that rude? That is what interviewers are asking when they ask “Tell me about yourself.” They want to know what makes you different and a better match for them than all the other people that they are interviewing. Here is a tip… most companies want to hire the best person for each and every opening and if they do not think you will be a good match, they don’t hire you.
This is the time for your elevator speech. You want to tell them about yourself, but primarily the most relevant parts of yourself. I also believe it is a good idea to weave information from your research on the company and the position into you monologue.
“I am a life long learner. If I have any free time I spend it reading, listening to audio books, or podcasts around subjects I can benefit from. That is one of the things that interested me about your company, I read how you all are always looking to improve your processes, procedures and people.”
One thing to be careful about here is not to lie. Many people either lie in the interview or it becomes very apparent that they are telling me what they think I want to hear. I want to hear about YOU. But focus on the best YOU. Think of this as a first date. Do you show the REAL (unfiltered) you or the best you on a first date? If you want a second date I bet you show the best you, which should also be the real you.
Why should someone hire me?
If you are having a tough time coming up with things to say about yourself, try asking others about you. Ask some friends, coworkers or teachers “why would someone want to have me as an employee? What are my strengths and weaknesses?” They may be able to give you insight from a different perspective. Start making a list that you can choose from when putting together your answer. You don’t want to tell everyone everything about yourself, just what is most relevant.
Start thinking about who you want to be, then be.