CAREER MONDAYS: How to Answer “tell us about yourself” with examples


CAREER MONDAYS: How to Answer

The number one interview question a job seeker is likely to encounter 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?

Interviewers use this question as an introduction and a conversation starter. It 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 and the job you are applying for
  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, the 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 to 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 also never talk about your family.

2. 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 will give you an added advantage.

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)

3. Your experience

Talk about your experiences. Start from early years and gradually come to recent years. If you have many years of experience, tell them the different roles you performed during your time at the different positions.

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 Ksh250M (Giving figures works magic)

 4. Your experience regarding to the post you has applied for

This is of most interest to your interviewer. You may have a lot of experience in a field but your interviewer will be mostly interested in the experience that relates to the position you have applied for.

If you do not have it then you can talk about some related experience. Or if you do not have related experience 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 should show a positive attitude and willingness to learn new things.

Above all, always be ready and prepared to try new things. Fresher candidates are expected to make 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’s answer to this question could 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 Sh250M.

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.

Daniel Mutuku is a career director at Careerpoint Solutions. Website: www.careerpoint.co.ke To get A FREE CV Review Click Here

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