So you’ve landed a job interview! Congratulations. This moment typically offers a wave of relief. Soon enough, the interview date approaches, and while preparation for a job interview is not required, it can be a wise choice. Aside from researching your potential employer,  knowing how to answer some commonly asked interview questions can ease nerves and help you stand out in the interview process.

When the person conducting an interview says, “Please tell us about yourself,” it seems simple enough. In this scenario, it’s common for people to talk about their education, previous job positions or certifications. It’s important to remember that this information is on the resume that helped you land the interview in the first place. Therefore, this is the perfect opportunity to curate a specific and unique response.

The response formula is 3 steps: 

  1. A Brief Introduction: Briefly mentioning the basics of your background is an effective place to start. 
  2. Get Specific: Mentioning unique projects, accomplishments, or skills provides deeper insight.
  3. Personalize: Wrap up your answer by highlighting personal qualities relevant to the position. 

Sample Question 1: Tell me about yourself and why you applied for the position.

Sample Answer 1: I’d love to elaborate. I have a background working in marketing for the last 7 years. During this time, I’ve managed project teams for my company’s social media ad campaigns. One of my favorite recent projects was a YouTube fundraiser. My experience of managing small teams has helped me learn efficient tools and strategies for diverse content creation. 

Sample Question 2: Go ahead and share your background and interest in applying for this position. 

Sample Answer 2: Of course. I have been a first grade teacher’s assistant at the Day School for the past 3 years as I finish my education degree. This has included months of solo substitute teaching while the head teacher was on maternity leave.  I am specializing in speech pathology and will graduate before the coming school year. 

Sample Question 3: We’d like to hear more about  you and the skills you’ve acquired at your past job.

Sample Answer 3: I started at my first call center immediately out of college and gradually moved to accounts. The knowledge I’ve acquired from both positions makes me a flexible asset in various departments. 

Ultimately, there is no perfect formula for the interview process. Human nature and nerves get the best of even seasoned pros. In the event that you don’t move forward in an interview process, try not to take it out on yourself. Feeling the disappointment, frustration, and any other feelings is definitely important, but hyper-analyzing yourself and potentially entering negative thought loops is unproductive and even harmful.

Rejection is an unfortunate aspect of life. Many “Nos” are often the pathway to a “Yes”, and that can feel defeating. Try being gentle with your mind and returning to try again, knowing you are doing your best. 

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