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How to answer “So Tell Me About Yourself” and More Common Job Interview Questions with Answer

March 11, 2015
I believe one of the most common job interview question will be “So tell me something about yourself”. It is like the greeting that the Hiring Officer will tell you on the day of the interview. Though the question might seem simple… most job applicants including me find this hard to answer.
Here are two reasons why I believe most applicants find this question hard to answer.
1. Over thinking of the best answer to the question. All of us has our own story to tell and sometimes when people especially stranger ask us this question we feel the pressure of selecting the best possible answer. This make you stutter at first and make you say “ahhmmm” the most. 
2. Afraid to go into details. We all feel that shyness talking to people about details in our life without over doing it. Thus when a job interview with that said question may seem harder to answer. It will either be your answer is too short or your answer is too long.
But more than seeing this question hard and intimidating, job applicants should view this as an opportunity to sell yourself positively to the hiring officer. This is a free moment for you to talk and you want to seize that moment to fully give information about your strengths  and your experiences that could make you closer to getting the job.

Do’s and Don’ts of Answering “So tell me about yourself?”

  • Do prepare for your answer. You might want to write a simple template on how you will answer this question before the interview.  However, do not memorize the template as is. You want to be natural in during the interview and if it seems like you memorized your answer… you’ll be stiff or awkward. My tip is to write your “would-be” answer via bullet points. This way you remember the key points that you have to say to the Hiring Officer but still you can construct a complete and thoughtful answer.
  • Don’t answer with another question. Avoid answering, “What do you want to know?” or “What is it about myself?” for this could make you look unprepared for the job interview.  This is the reason why being prepared beforehand is the best solution.
  • Do focus in giving the strong points about yourself that could be very unique but still close to the job that you are applying.
  • Do highlight your qualities and show your personality with your answer.
  • Don’t lie. Do not tell things that are untrue or far from possible to be true.
Remember that once asked with this question, the interviewer do not really “want to know you” but more on “what is it about you that could be beneficial to the job”. Thus, always relate your answer to the job you are applying. Try not to do the usual, “…My name is… I am a…” and try a cooler approach in answering. 
For example if I will be applying as a Writer for a magazine then I could answer the question, “So tell me something about yourself” with
“Taking up journalism has always been my first choice. I knew from the young age that I want to write. I graduated in Polytechnic University of the Philippines and was part of the Editorial Board from first year to fourth year during high school years. Also most of the people around me knew that mass communication is my thing. On my past time I blog and it is my way of de-stressing. I am also into makeup, fashion and lifestyle.”

Other Common Interview Questions with Possible Answer

The recommended answers are based on research.
  • Where do you see yourself in this career five years from now?

    • You may want to share your career goal here as a response. Make sure that you win the hiring officer by an answering a smart goal. For example your answer could be “In five years, I would want to have gained the skills and the experience that could a possible promotion and able to lead my own team for success.”
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?

    • This is a tricky question as you have to have two answers for one question. Also you have to see it that your flaws won’t be the main focus of the interview rather your strong points should be the big deal. One way to answer this is to start with your strengths. “I am someone who favors quality over quantity. I love performing my best at work in every possible way that I can. However, people feel like I sometimes go over the top to the point that I forget to have a social life.”
  • How would you describe your work ethic?

    • The Hiring Officer would like to know how well you can handle work. You might want to impress the Hiring Officer by telling a story of how your work ethic in the past. If you don’t have a working experience then answer, “At home or in school I am always someone whom people depend with on their needs. I am not a quitter and I try to really answer the need on time”.
  • Why should we hire you?

    • This question provokes an answer that should be believable and with conviction. Try to convince the Hiring Officer that you best fit for the position but do not tell too much that may cause for high expectation. “I believe that I have the skills and knowledge that makes me a good investment for the job. I know that I am ready to work and to prove my worth to this company”.
  • How do you free yourself from stress?

    • This question is most commonly asked especially on fields that known to have a chaotic environment. The hiring officer asks this to know whether you easily feel stressed and how you deal with the situation just in case there are too many work to do with so little time. A safe answer with this question will be, “I try to always be productive at work and achieve a work life balance in order to avoid being stressed but if ever I feel stressed, music had constantly help me get trough stress. I just have to listen to my favorite to a certain playlist that I have on phone and I will feel alright.
Acing your job interview is just a matter of preparation and knowledge. There are those who don’t make a big deal out of it but if you are not that confident then make sure that you prepare for common questions so that you don’t feel that anxious. 
I hope this post helps you. 
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Clariza Glino

Izza of SavingsPinay promotes financial literacy for the young and young at heart by providing insights and tips on budgeting, saving, investing and online entrepreneurship. Aside from this blog she also writes at www.izzaglino.com, a beauty and lifestyle blog for frugal Pinays and manages, www.izzagevents.com, a wedding and event business since 2011. For inquiries, topic suggestions or future collaborations email her at izza@savingspinay.ph

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