1. Listen more than you speak. Most interviewers talk too much. The interview is not a platform for the interviewer’s personal experiences and opinions.
2. Put questions in a straightforward, clear, and non-threatening way. If people are confused or defensive, you will not get the information you seek.
3. Eliminate cues which lead interviewees to respond in a particular way (for example, “Are you against sin?”). Many interviewees will seek to please the interviewer by giving “correct” responses.
4. Enjoy it (or at least look as though you do). Don’t give the message that you are bored or scared. Vary your voice and facial expression.
One of the interview questions that most intimidates job seekers is one that most interviewers assume will be easy: “Tell me about yourself.” It sounds straightforward - but as every job seeker knows, it’s not that simple.
The question doesn’t mean “give me your complete history from birth until today.” It doesn’t even mean “walk me through your work history.”
A good answer will summarize where you are in your career, note anything distinctive about how you approach your work, and end with a bit about what you’re looking for next.
As long as you’re giving a basic sense of what differentiates you professionally - and you’re not just regurgitating your resume - you should be fine.
Your answer only needs to be about one minute long. “Tell me about yourself” isn’t usually going to be a major part of the interview - it’s the easing-in that happens before you get into more nitty-gritty topics.
This isn’t the time to explain you were fired from your last job or to confess your difficulties finding the right career path or to acknowledge you might be underqualified. Your answer shouldn’t be an aggressive sales pitch (that’s annoying), but you want to stay upbeat and enthusiastic-sounding about both your career and this particular job opening.
Some interviewers may want to get to know you more personally and not just hear about work. If so, let them ask! It’s better for an interviewer to have to say, “Tell me more about you as a person,” than for you to volunteer a bunch of personal details to an interviewer who wasn’t looking for that.
As part of your interview preparations, work out your answer ahead of time and practice saying it out loud.