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The number one interview question usually is “ Can you tell us about yourself ?” Nine out of ten interviews you will attend will have it. Do you know why this question is asked so often in most job interviews?
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This question is actually an introduction, a conversation starter and tests three things:
1. Your ability to express yourself when put in a tight corner (you will be shocked by how many grown-ups sweat when faced with an interview)
2. Whether you understand how your skills, experience and qualifications relate to the job you are being interviewed for.
3. What makes you the best candidate for this position.
Once you start talking about yourself, the interviewer starts preparing his/her next question. So there are high chances that the next question will be based on your answer to this question.
1. You should NEVER talk about your personal life, family, religion or politics. This is a very common mistake.
2. Answer the question in a story form. People are more interested in stories than facts and figures.
While preparing for the answer consider including following 4 points.
(NOTE: Would you like to know the BIGGEST CV mistake you can make? Find out plus the Top 8 Ways To Make Your CV Stand Out.)
Tell them your name. Suppose you are “Susan Otieno”, then start with “I am Susan Otieno”. If you had already introduced yourself, there is no need for repetition.
2. Your qualification:
Tell them about your qualification that is relevant to the position you are interviewing. If you are a fresh graduate then tell them the grades you got. If you have done something different than others then tell them. It makes you unique, easy to remember and surely adds value.
I am an MBA holder from UoN and currently studying Arabic at the same institution. (Assume she wants to work with any of the Islamic banks, Arabic is definitely a plus)
3. Your experience:
Talk about your experiences. Start from the early years and gradually come to recent years. If you have a wide range of experience, then, talk specifically on relevant experience to the position you are interviewing for. This is what your interviewer wants to hear. Ensure you mention any accomplishment from your previous positions.
If you are a recent graduate, talk about your projects or internship.
I began my banking career with Equity bank where I was a credit officer. Later, I joined NIC bank as a credit administrator for one and a half years and subsequently promoted to credit manager. I am currently a credit manager in charge of Higher Purchase with a portfolio of Ksh 250M. I implemented a series of security procedures by introducing dual-control functions, which were deemed 100% effective in administering credit control.
(Giving figures works magic).
4. Your experience and qualification in relation to the position:
This is what interviewer is most interest in. You might be having lots of experience but if you do not relate it to the position you are interviewing for then you are missing the point.
This is your opportunity to showcase why you are the right candidate to the position. Use words like,
I see you are looking for someone who can do ….. and from my previous positions I was doing exactly that and I succeeded to ……. in that area.
Talk about related experience and genuinely show your expertise (not bragging). Express your willingness to learn what they do and show confidence in adapting into the new positions.
Fresh candidates who do not have any kind of experience, you should show some positive attitude and exhibit a willingness to learn and do new things. Be ready to do new things. Don’t worry that you will make mistakes. Fresh graduates are expected to do mistakes and your employers are well aware of it so you don’t have any reason to be afraid. Believe me, no one will give you more work than you can handle.
As a credit manager I report to the head of Credit, where I am in charge of developing and implementing effective credit policies and procedures and ensuring these are regularly reviewed to reflect changing business needs and environments. This will come in handy in meeting one of your major requirements for this job which is establishing procedures to ensure credit risk is appropriately assessed and controlled for your growing bank.
In short, a candidate answer to this question can be
My name is Susan Otieno. I am an MBA holder from UoN and currently studying Arabic at the same institution. I began my banking career with Equity bank where I was a credit officer for three years. Later, I joined NIC bank as a credit administrator for one and a half years and subsequently promoted to credit manager. Currently, I am in charge of Higher Purchase with a loan portfolio of Ksh 250M. I implemented a series of security procedures by introducing dual-control functions, which were deemed 100% effective in administering credit control.
As a credit manager I report to the head of Credit, where I am in charge of developing and implementing effective credit policies and procedures and ensuring these are regularly reviewed to reflect changing business needs and environments. This will come in handy in meeting one of your requirements for this job which is establishing procedures to ensure credit risk is appropriately assessed and controlled.
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Interview Questions Coaching
Do you have any interview question you would like to know how to answer? What challenges are you facing with interview question? I’d love to hear them. Please leave a comment below or send me an email.
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Also Read: 10 Useful tips for Competency interviews