Job interviews take on many forms—no two are ever the same. The interviewers you will come across throughout your career will vary, as will their interview style and specific questions. The one thing that will remain constant? An introduction. It will likely be framed as a casual question like, “Tell us a bit about yourself” but nailing this preliminary interview question will edge you closer to that dream job.
How to describe yourself in a job interview?
Even though the interviewer has reviewed your resume, that doesn’t mean they’ve memorised it. Briefly state your name, education and work history, and what attracted you to the role and organisation.
Focus on your most recent work experience, or experience that is most relevant to the job you’re interviewing for. Make it specific and detailed, mentioning your responsibilities, achievements and your understanding and experience with the industry more broadly. Support your statements about skills you possess with statistics and examples. For example, tell your interviewer how you improved customer service sentiment by 28% over 12 months by collating feedback and identifying areas that needed improvement. This is much stronger than simply telling them you’re hardworking and good with people.
Work experience is a critically important part of a job interview, so ensure it remains the focus of everything you discuss. Use these tips to talk compellingly about your work experience:
- Prioritise your skills and capabilities according to the position you’re applying for. For example, if you’re interviewing for a finance or accounting role, talk about your recent role as a Financial Adviser. If relevant, talk about related competencies, such as project planning skills, interpersonal skills or risk mitigation skills.
- Extract the most interesting information from your non-work experiences. Did you become more independent through your love of travel? Perhaps you excelled at data management while volunteering at an animal shelter? If you’ve developed skills and qualities outside the workplace, these are also suitable for discussion in a job interview. This exhibits your initiative and passion, and helps the interviewer get to know you a little better.
Things to consider when describing yourself
Be clear and logical
Clarity and logic are important when describing yourself. Avoid exaggeration or mistruths, and support your statements with real experiences. Be confident about what you can offer the organisation, and save yourself the trouble of mentioning lies exposed by HR later.
Interviewers value sincere and honest candidates. The more prominent sincerity is, the quicker trust can be developed between the interviewer and you, the candidate. If you speak naturally and truthfully about yourself and your experiences, you and the interviewer will get off on the right foot.
An example of how to describe yourself
First of all, thank you very much for giving me this opportunity. It’s my privilege to apply for the position of Senior Accountant. I hold an accountant qualification certificate and the Elementary Accounting Computerisation certificate. My experience has helped me develop substantial knowledge of the role and industry, and I excel at tasks like account reconciliation, cost accounting and tax assessments. I can work under pressure, have good multi-tasking abilities, as well as excellent organisational and interpersonal skills. With high-level written, and fluent conversational English skills, I can work independently in an international environment.
Respectful of the importance of time management, I always maintain a good work-life balance. I believe I’m competent for the position and the right cultural fit for your company.
For more job interview advice, visit our job interview tips hub.