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Tell me more about yourself?

Interviewers often begin with this question in order to break the ice, and also to get an initial understanding of you as a candidate and potential employee. Make this answer short and honest, touching on details you want to highlight such as skills or attributes that would help with the particular job. Some research helps here – know the company and the job.

“I always loved drawing, the land around New England where I grew up was beautiful, so I drew that. When it was time for college I decided on art instruction. The New England Art Institute had a great reputation, so that was my choice. My goal from that time was to become a professional artist, and that’s why I’ve chosen advertising art – pay the bills and do what I love. I love skiing, my wife and I try to ski at least twice a year, so when this opportunity near Denver arose, here I am.”

Don’t worry about too many details. They can ask for more information if needed, and throughout the interview they’ll ask a lot of questions that delve into your background and career. A good answer includes:

• Where you were raised
• Where you attended school
• A hobby
• One detail about your life, or recent event
• Recent prominent career choice or move

This answer sets the tone for the remainder of the interview, so be prepared for it. When mentioning details, avoid negatives. Even if you’re talking about a bad employer or co-worker, mentioning it reflects badly on you, not them.

Another good answer:

“There wasn’t much to do in Wisconsin in winters, so I spent a lot of time at the computer, that’s where I learned programming. I was in the computer club in HS, so an IT degree was a natural. I served an internship at IBM when I was in HS, and learned there that experience was more important than a degree from a fancy college – so I took night classes at the local community college while I kept working. I was more of an at home person, but my husband likes adventure, so when I saw this job with travel I thought once in awhile we could spend some extra personal time in other places.”

This man gave what he thought was a clever answer, but he didn’t get the job. “I’m Batman!”

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