What we’re really asking when we say ‘So tell me about yourself?’

interview questions

-By Hannah Clarke, Head of People, Oyster Partnership-

You’ve done your research on the business, you’ve memorised the website, checked Glassdoor, read the reviews, stalked social media, and found some interesting article the interviewer wrote as ammunition to secure a second interview. You arrived 1 hour earlier, and you’ve been sat in the coffee shop and have read and re-read the questions you want to ask at the end of the interview. You could not be more prepared.  

This is it. You’re ready to smash that interview.  

The interview starts and the first question you’re asked is ‘so tell me about yourself’. Your mind goes blank. You literally have nothing to say. About yourself. You murmur something about ‘not being that interesting’ and the interview from that point goes from bad to worse. You’re embarrassed about your faux pas, and you forget all you’ve prepared for. You leave deflated, where did it all go so wrong?  

For some people, this is the hardest question to answer in an interview. Why is this? It’s because it is so open, and you really have no idea what you’re supposed to say, but I’ll let you into a secret, there is no right or wrong answer, there’s no pass or fail.  

The main reason I ask this question is to make you feel comfortable, and of course to put you on an even ground by talking about something (anything!) that I don’t know about.  

Here are some tips that you should think about when answering this question;  

  • Take a second before you start answering and have an idea about what you want to say. 
  • Only talk about things you want the interviewer to know. A good interviewer will probe into what you say!  
  • Talk about something you’re passionate about – this will come through in your body language and communication. It’ll also make you feel more relaxed for the next questions.  
  • Keep it positive, talk with a smile!  
  • Don’t ever say ‘I don’t know, I guess I am a bit boring really.’ You’re not boring, everyone is different.  
  • Don’t lie! As per my earlier point, a good interviewer will ask probing questions around your answer so if you say you love to read, be expected to be asked questions such as what genre do you enjoy? What was the last book you read? What did you like about it? Who is your favourite author? 
  • Don’t talk for too long. But make sure you give some substance to what you’re saying. 

Get in touch with Hannah to find out more…

We’re now hiring for our next Academy, if you’d like to find out more about joining Oyster Partnership as a Trainee Recruitment Consultant, contact our Head of People, Hannah Clarke on 0207 766 9005 or send your CV directly to HC@oysterpartnership.com.  

The Author…

Hannah Clarke

Head of People, Oyster Partnership

Hannah responsible for not only attracting talent for all Divisions within Oyster Partnership, but also ensuring that we develop and retain the employees who make Oyster Partnership the successful company that it is.

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