How to Answer, “Tell us about yourself” Plus examples

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By Daniel Mutuku

The number one job interview question usually is “Can you tell us about yourself?” Kenyan HR managers just love this question and eight out ten interviews you will attend will have it. Do you know why this question is asked so often in most Kenyan job interviews?

This question is actually an introduction. Asking this question starts the conversation. This question gives the HR manager or officer a chance to know about the interviewee and to test 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 your current responsibilities vis a vis the job you are applying.
  3. And whether you have a clue how your current job relates to what you are being interviewed for.

Once you start talking about yourself, interviewer starts preparing his/her next question. So there are high chances that the next question that would be fired on you will be based on the answer of this question.

While preparing for the answer consider including following points.

  1. You:

Tell them your name. Suppose you are “Susan Otieno”, then do not start with “Myself Susan Otieno”; start with “I am Susan Otieno”.

This is a very common mistake. You should never talk about your family.

  1. Your education:

Tell them about your education i.e. graduation/post-graduation. 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 surely adds a value.

Example:
I am an MBA holder from UoN and currently studying for Arabic at the same institution. (Assume she wants to work with any of the Islamic banks in Kenya, know how in Arabic is definitely a plus)

  1. Your experience:

Talk about your experiences. Start from early years and gradually come to recent years. If you have a long experience then you must not be doing same thing all years. Then exactly what were you doing? This is what your interviewer wants to listen. If you are a fresher then talk about your projects or internship.

Example:
I began my banking career with Equity bank where I was a credit officer. I later Joined NIC bank as a credit administrator. I am currently a credit manager in charge of Higher Purchase with a portfolio of Ksh 250M (Giving figures works magic)

 

  1. Your experience regarding to the post you has applied for:

This is of most interest to your interviewer. You may be having lot of experience but how much experience you have regarding current job post is very important.

If you do not have it then you can talk about some related experience. Or if you do not have related experience too then say it clearly. Buy along with it give them confidence that you can do it and you have genuine interest to do it.

Fresh candidates who do not have any kind of experience, you should show some positive attitude and exhibit willingness to learn and do new things. Be ready to do new things. Don’t worry that you will make mistakes. Fresher candidates 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.

Example:
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 Juliet Kioko Adongo.I am an MBA holder from UoN and currently studying for Chinese at the same institution. I began my banking career with Equity bank where I was a credit officer for three years. I later Joined NIC bank as a credit administrator for one and a half years and subsequently promoted to credit manager. I am currently in charge of Higher Purchase with a loan portfolio of K’sh 250M.

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.

Author

Daniel Mutuku, Careers Director at Careerpoint Solutions To get A FREE CV Review Click Here


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