"Tell me about yourself"

Monday, September 28, 2009

The other day at office we were having a discussion on what a candidate should answer if he/she is asked: "Tell me about yourself." Although the question is asked during most HR interviews, the perspective and reasons for this question may be varied just like the answers.

Candidates usually prefer vomitting their bio-data during such instances while some deliver long sermons which are evidently rehearsed but what is it that an HR is actually looking for? As a HR professional I feel that a person must highlight his personality characteristics which help distinguish him from other individuals and also align the same with his profession. for eg. A fresher is preferred by companies so that they are receptive to learning or so that they can be moulded. Thus they might prefer a candidate who highlights his "willingness to learn" and "flexibility."

These questions are usually asked for two-fold reasons: One, to gauge basic communication, presentation skills and one's confidence levels; and two, the answers recieved are also threads for further questions. During an interview process (which I wasn't too keen for) I was asked how I prepared for the interview. I told them along with HR concepts I had been reading current affairs. Wham! came a current affairs question and my unpreparedness stood out starkly and needless to say I did not crack the interview. My spontaniety and presence of mind failed me. The point being that the questions asked may be simple but the reasons behind them may not be as simple. If you ever wondered why people told you to think 10 times before publishing any word or sentence in your resume, here's your answer.


Capt A.Nagaraj Subbarao said...

Nice start!
I think I would ask a potential employee, to speak about himself/herself, to gauge, levels of commitment and check the depth engagement that the employee would show. Considering that most of us are not dealing with rocket science, I would look at somebody favorably, if I was convinced that he/she would work as if their life depended upon the job!
If a candidate did not know the capital of Denmark, it would not bother me too much.

Radhika said...

Actually they probably would not have asked me any currents affair question if i myself hadn't mentioned that. So I fell into my own trap. So what I meant was that these questions might be leading one into a trap if they take it too casually!