Telling an interviewer about yourself during a job interview can be difficult. Here’s a few tips on what to say and how to say it.
In 2023, job interviews may be conducted either in person or remotely and if you’ve got one coming up you may find yourself wondering how to approach it.
This time last year, we compiled a list of tips on how to ace a job interview in the aftermath of all the workplace changes that took place during the pandemic.
One of the tips was to take advantage of an in-person interview where possible. It’s possible, though, if you’re interviewing for a remote job that your interview will be remote. It’s equally possible that it will work out the other way around.
Job applicants in 2023 do have an advantage over their 2022 counterparts due to the fact that flexible working (and hiring) practices are now a lot more common.
Chances are, if you’re comfortable doing a remote or in-person interview, your prospective employer is too – and that can make all the difference.
Here are a few more tips on how to nail your next job interview.
How to give a brief summary of yourself
‘So, tell me about yourself.’ This is a standard job interview question that seems so easy to answer but is in fact very difficult.
What do you share? What do you leave out? Somebody interviewing you for a tech role doesn’t need to hear about the time you broke your leg when you were hang-gliding.
Before the interview, have a think about who you’ll be talking to, what their role is within the company and how it corresponds to yours. If they’re interviewing you, they will more than likely be working closely with you if you’re hired.
They want to hear about you in terms of what you’ll bring to the company. That means you’ll want to share your previous job experience, as well as showing some character and life experience (more on that next).
Write down a select few relevant points about yourself before you do the interview so you can explain in a focused way why an employer should hire you.
You’re convincing them to hire you, not befriend you. Remember that.
That’s not to say you should always tell an interviewer just what they want to hear in order to get yourself hired. You’re not going to get on well in a job if you lie or cherry pick details about yourself from the start.
Often, interviewers like to ask about people’s flaws or times they had to deal with failure. It shows the measure of a person’s character that they can deal with upsets and things going wrong, and learn from these experiences.
So, if you can think of examples demonstrating this experience from past jobs or in other leadership or voluntary roles, it’s a good idea to prepare that story and explain how you dealt with the problem.
Another reason it helps to be honest in job interviews is that employers need to be able to put structures in place early on if you need them.
It’s also good for workplace culture in general if people address key points such as why they left their last job (tips on that here) or how their working life was affected by the pandemic. A little bit of honesty around these subjects is no harm, even at the interview stage.
Ask questions about company culture
The widespread availability of hybrid working is not the only advantage 2023’s job applicants have. The jobs market is swinging in favour of candidates at the moment as employers try to retain existing talent and attract new talent. Some employers are even doing ‘stay interviews’ to hold on to employees they want to retain.
All that job applicants need to know on this is that they are in a good bargaining position. At the moment, a job interview is as much about the employer as it is about the candidate.
Towards the end of the interview, the interviewer will more than likely as if you have any questions for them. This is a great opportunity to find out more about what working at the company is like.
Asking something as direct as ‘What is it like working at X?’ is a good starter point. Not only will you find out a little about the employer’s views on their workplace, you will also signal your genuine interest in working there.
If you want to know about remote working policies, flexible working options or any other key factors to make your decision, you can follow up with more questions.
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