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It’s a question which stumps many graduates, but all of us at some point will face the classic interview question “why don’t you start by telling me a little bit about yourself?”
It seems simple, but when it comes down to it graduates often find themselves wondering, what does the interviewer really want to know and how much should I be ‘telling’?
We’ve found that the best way to tackle this classic graduate interview question, is to first understand, why does an employer ask it?
While the hours spent poring over your CV means you know it like the back of your hand, keep in mind that an employer won’t be so clued up.
Remember, in the time between first reviewing your CV and inviting you to interview, your interviewer has most probably had a hundred and one other things to consider. It’s your job to focus their attention back to why they invited you to interview in the first place.
Think of it as a short refresher – give an overview of your CV, including a summary of your degree, what you’ve been up to since, and what has brought you to the point of wanting this graduate job.
The key to interview success is not just down what you say, but how you say it. Whatever graduate job you go for, you’ll need to be ready to interact with a range of different people. This could be anything from presenting new ideas to clients and explaining difficult concepts, to chasing up your colleagues on a project or persuading customers to buy.
All of these situations require you to be confident, clear and concise – and an interview is the perfect opportunity to show it.
Keep in mind the most important qualities for the job – then keep yourself in check. Are you talking too quickly? Are you mumbling? Do your points flow? If you find yourself getting off track, pause, collect your thoughts and continue – it will make all the difference to an employer’s ears!
You made it to interview – now it’s time to really shine. You want to grab the interviewer’s attention by dropping in all of your key achievements.
The interviewer will often use your response as a springboard for the next question i.e. ask you to elaborate on some of the points you just mentioned – this is a great chance to steer the interview in the direction you want.
Highlight your key achievements – especially the areas you’d like to expand on during the interview. You can add emphasis to these points by having a slight pause after each one, before continuing onto the next.
The interviewer doesn’t need to know your partner just moved to the area and you want to as well. This might suggest you’re not committed to the job itself
Your response should follow a clear structure. Having your points all over the place suggests you have a muddled brain and doesn’t set you up well for the rest of the interview
Focus on the experience which is directly relevant to the job you’re going for. Don’t lead by saying you’re a shoe maker if you’re sat in an interview for investment banking!
Read our complete guide to Interview Questions!
Next up, find out what graduate employers are really asking for in the job description. Ready to put it all into practice? Search the latest jobs over on our Graduate Jobs board.
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