Top Interview Questions and Answers

Can you tell me a bit about yourself?

Alternative and related questions:

Can you talk me through your CV?

The meaning behind the question:

This is of course an extremely popular question - and is just the kind an interviewer might throw at you at the beginning of an interview so as to get the ball rolling. They are quite simply placing you centre stage and hoping you will open up to them. Alternatively, they’re hopelessly overworked, haven’t yet had time to read your CV - and asking you this question will buy them some breathing space!

Your answer:

This is a very broad question - and you might consequently be at a loss as to the approach you should take to answering it.

They’re not asking for an autobiography. Focus on discussing major selling points that feature on your CV or application form - selling points which are directly relevant to the job for which you are applying. Don’t start telling them your whole life history.

While they do want you to open up to them and paint a picture of yourself, you’re not on the psychiatrist’s couch here! Keep it professional and avoid getting too personal.

Besides talking about your career, make sure you have something to say about your education and qualifications - and even your hobbies and interests.

It’s vital to practise your answer for this in advance - and to try to limit your answer to one minute. If you can’t successfully ‘pitch’ yourself in under a minute then you’re going to risk losing the interviewer’s attention.

How have you described yourself in the ‘Professional Profile’ at the top of your CV? A lot of this material can be recycled to help you draft your answer to this question.

Example:

I’m a highly driven individual with extensive management experience acquired principally in the aviation sector. Following completion of my degree in International Business (which included a couple of years in Germany) I started my career in administration and have worked my way up to become an Export Sales Manager. I believe I combine a high level of commercial awareness with a commitment to customer care - which helps me to achieve profitable growth in a competitive market. I enjoy being part of, as well as managing, motivating, training and developing, a successful and productive team and I thrive in highly pressurised and challenging working environments. I have strong IT skills, I’m fluent in German and I’m also a qualified First Aider. In my spare time I undertake a wide range of activities; I’m particularly keen on squash and I am also currently working towards my Private Pilot Licence.



The Interview Question & Answer Book

The Interview Question and Answer Book

Take the fear out of your interview and never be stuck for the right answer to even the toughest questions with The Interview Question & Answer Book.

The job market is fierce, competition has never been greater and it's important that you can grab every opportunity for competitive advantage and stay one step ahead. Written by one of the world's leading careers experts and bestselling author of The Interview Book, this definitive guide to questions and answers encourages every job-hunter to think on your feet and express your individuality while supplying ideal responses to interview questions so that you’re seen as the ideal candidate for the job.

 

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More top interview questions and answers

 

Can you tell me a bit about yourself?

Why have you applied for this vacancy?

Why do you wish to leave your current position?

Why do you want to work for this organisation?

What are your strengths?

What are your weaknesses?

What has been your greatest achievement/accomplishment?

What can you, above all the other applicants, bring to this job?

Where do you see yourself in five years' time?

You've mentioned x under the Interests & Activities on your CV. Can you tell me a bit more about that?

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