Tell Me About Yourself

Before the Interview
For starters, visit the company’s website and read online articles to familiarize yourself with the industry. As you gain knowledge about the company and the position, you will also gain confidence.

After researching, the next step is to determine how your education, work experiences, and skills fit the company’s needs. Review your resume with an eye towards this company and this position.

The Interview
Be prepared. Just as many projects are done collaboratively, team interviews are becoming more common. A group of people may interview you at one time, then break off for individual interviews. Don’t let this throw you. While it’s normal to feel nervous right before the interview, you can reduce this stress by practicing sample questions. You should also say aloud (preferably to a friend or a career counselor) how you can fit the company’s needs and how you’ve applied your education. Of course you don’t want to sound “canned,” but you do want to be clear about your strengths, abilities, and accomplishments.

Common Interview Questions
You will be better prepared for the interview if you expect difficult questions and practice responding to them. The following is a list of common interview questions compiled from The National Association of Colleges and Employers and Dun’s Job Quest: A Guide to Local Employers.

Tell me about yourself. This is your opportunity to articulate how your background fits what the company is looking for. Give specific examples to demonstrate your education and skills.

What is your major strength? Be sure to choose a strength that relates to the position and company, and give an example.

What is your major weakness? Give your weakness a positive twist. For example, you may say, “When I work in a group, I sometimes go along with consensus even if I think there’s a better alternative.” Once again, describe a particular instance when this happened.

What do you know about our company? After your extensive research, you should be well prepared to answer this one. Give specifics and include what you found most interesting.

What position are you interested in? Even though you may want to be a senior tech writer, show you’re flexible by discussing another, similar position. Give specific examples as to why you would be the ideal person for any of these jobs, but do make it clear what your first choice is.

How well do you work within a team? Think of a situation when you effectively led a team and give details as to how you completed the project.

Preparing for an interview takes dedication on your part. You need to explore your background, research the company, and determine what you have to offer. The more time you take practicing difficult questions, the more confident you’ll be. Keep in mind that what you’re doing is selling your strengths.