How to handle the “Tell me about yourself” interview question

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tellmeaboutyourself | Teamrecruit

Have you ever been in an interview where the interviewer takes a seat and says, “Tell me about yourself?” For many job seekers who are early in their careers, this can be a daunting question!

While your response is important, don’t believe the Linkedin posts that claim this question will make or break your interview. This is completely untrue – but it definitely helps to be prepared for it!

This question, at its core, is an ice breaker. A way to start a conversation that is on-topic and designed to get you talking. It is not a secret way to judge you in the first few minutes, so don’t let it stress you out. Instead, use it as an opportunity to put forward a strong argument for why you should be considered for the position.

But how should you prepare?

Like all interviews, preparing a story you can easily recall is the easiest way. Like all good stories, you need a beginning (your career), a middle (why you’re here) and an end (why this job is for you/what you are looking for).

Often a good structure is to talk about where you started and a summary of your work history, the role you currently hold, and then your reasons for wanting this particular role that you’re interviewing for.

For example: “I began working in a truck dealership as an apprentice straight out of school, but after doing my time on the tools, I have been the Workshop Manager for the past two years in a hands-on leadership position. I love the work and the challenges that go along with it, because mentoring and seeing the team grow is rewarding for me. I have the opportunity to use my skills to help them learn and take on new responsibilities.”

Be sure to stress your strengths and commitment to your role

“I really take pride in my work and make sure that I spend time with each member of the team in a hands-on situation, because I’ve found it to be the most effective. My Service Manager and Dealer Principal are really happy with the growth and knowledge within the workshop, and we have low staff turnover.”

Then mention why you are ready to move on

“But after a few years leading the floor, I think it is time to move forward in my career and work towards a department management position, like a Service Manager. I understand the industry, have solid experience, a reputation for good work and I am quick to learn new skills.

I really care about my team and customers and have no issues in always going the extra mile. I think my curiosity to learn, interest in mentoring and my tenacity all serve to make me good at my job.”

Finish up by talking more about what it is you are looking for

“What I’m now looking for is a company that values its employees and customers, where I can join a team with a great reputation and continue to learn as I contribute to the company’s growth.”

And there you go – it is that easy!

Write your own story based on the outline above. And then re-write it again and again until you are really happy with what you’ve said. Time it to make sure it fits between 2-3 minutes and practice, practice, practice! Not just alone, tell your story to anyone who will listen.

Remember to always deliver your story enthusiastically and with a smile.

This way, the next time someone says to you “Tell me about yourself”, you’ll be ready, willing and very able to do just that!

Teamrecruit is Australia’s most established recruitment agency specialising in truck, earthmoving and agricultural machinery dealerships in Australia, New Zealand, the South Pacific and Southeast Asia. Find out more about Teamrecruit and how we support employers and candidates in the dealership industry.

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