This question invites you to summarize your strengths, weaknesses, experience, skills, and knowledge. It isn’t a casual question. It can trip you up if you decide to tell the interviewer your life history, and lose focus. Keep it brief, concise, and finish with an open-ended question.
If you are asked this type of question, you can qualify it by asking, “What would you like to know first?”. The interviewer’s response gives you clues to what they want to talk about. You can then tailor your reply to the areas of interest indicated.
Briefly, tell them how your industry experience, credentials, knowledge, and track record represent the value you bring as your unique contribution to the employer. Highlight the personal values/standards that you work from in your business life. Tell them what you believe is the foundation for your success Describe your professionalism, flexibility, and why people like working with you.
1. Summarize your industry experience and credentials – this serves as the basis for why you are applying for the job.
2. Link that experience to what the job requirements and duties are – create the basis for mutual interest.
3. Explain how you conduct yourself in business terms – what is important to you in working with people; your business personality.
4. Transition to a personal interests statement:, “On the personal side, I am / I believe __________”.
Here’s an example of a brief introduction:
“I’ve been in the ___ industry for the past 10 years, starting in the ____ department, then worked my way up through the ranks to the position I have now where I’m responsible for ____, _____,____, and _____. Along the way, I learned the importance of continuous learning and always being open to new challenges. That’s why I’m here today to see if there is a good fit between my experience and what you’re looking for. I’ve read the job description carefully and I think I can bring value to the organization. On the personal side, I believe in going that extra mile for the customer to solve their problems. Joining a company that shares that approach is the kind of opportunity that I’m looking for.”
Follow up your 60-second introduction with an open-ended question to gather information about how your thumbnail sketch compares to the background, experience, and business values the employer is looking for:
“What would you like to know about my job at _________?”
“What do you think of my experience and how it fits your needs?”
Your passion, enthusiasm, confidence, and focus create a positive initial impression to build on with the interviewer.