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As a recruitment consultant, I know first-hand how crucial it is to ace those initial moments in a job interview. If you are interviewing at the moment you are highly likely to be asked “tell me a bit about yourself” or talk me through your CV”. These questions might seem simple, but they can be deceptively tricky to answer well. Make sure you are prepared to answer them before any interview!

“Tell me a bit about yourself” or talk me through your CV” may appear lazy interview questions, but they are effective at helping interviewers assess how well a candidate can contextualise their background and communicate succinctly. How you respond to this question gives the interviewer an initial impression of your ability to communicate effectively, concisely, and in a structured manner. Think of them as your gateway to making a strong first impression. The way you respond sets the tone for the rest of the interview, highlighting your communication skills, confidence, and ability to present yourself effectively.

Here are 5 tips to help you conquer these questions with ease and professionalism:

  • Craft a compelling narrative: Instead of reciting your CV verbatim, take this opportunity to weave a compelling story about your professional journey. Highlight the key milestones, experiences, and achievements that are most relevant to the position you’re applying for. Engage the interviewer by showcasing your passion and the unique skills you bring to the table.
  • Tailor your response: Remember, one size does not fit all! Before the interview, thoroughly research the company, its values, and the job requirements. Then, align your response to emphasise the aspects of your background that resonate with the organisation’s needs. Show how your skills and experiences make you an ideal fit for the role.
  • Be concise and structured: While it’s essential to share relevant details, it’s equally important to keep your response concise and structured. Avoid going off on tangents or overwhelming the interviewer with excessive information. Prepare a brief outline to guide your response, focusing on key points that highlight your expertise, accomplishments, and professional growth.
  • Practice, practice, practice: Take the time to practice your response to these questions. Enlist the help of a friend, family member, or mentor to conduct mock interviews. This will not only help you refine your narrative but also boost your confidence in articulating your story effectively.
  • Showcase your enthusiasm: Remember, you’re not just presenting your qualifications; you’re also conveying your enthusiasm for the role and the company. Let your passion shine through! Demonstrate your knowledge of the organisation and express why you’re genuinely excited about the opportunity to contribute to their mission and goals.

In conclusion, always be prepared to tackle the “Tell me about yourself” or “Talk me through your CV” questions. Approach them as opportunities to captivate your interviewer, showcase your unique value proposition, and leave a lasting impression. By crafting a compelling narrative, tailoring your response, being concise and structured, practicing diligently, and showcasing your enthusiasm, you’ll be well-equipped to conquer these deceptively tricky questions. Good luck, and may your interviews be filled with success!