Inevitably you will be asked this question at some point during your job search. Therefore it is important to plan your answer in advance.
Essentially there two main factors being assessed during a job interview:
1. Do you have the skills and qualifications necessary to full fill this role?
2. Are you a good fit within the organisation?
Being asked to tell the interviewer or interview panel about yourself is a fantastic opportunity to outline exactly how your skills and personality are suited to the role.
Begin with a short description of your position within your career and the direction you wish to take your career in moving forward. This can be relatively easy if the roles you are moving between have specific titles. For example ‘I am a Case Worker within the Child Protection sector with 5 years experience. I am looking to move into a more senior position in which I can take on managerial responsibilities’. If however your skills and experience can not be communicated so succinctly you will need to come up with a catch-phrase which encompasses these things. Here is an example of a possible catch-phrase, say for a Disability Support Worker role ‘During my studies in community services I took part in a student placement program with ‘X’ organisation. While being exposed to various services provided by the organisation I found that I excelled in the provision of direct support to individuals with an intellectual disability’.
Now move on to talk a bit about your background, this being your past experience and qualifications. It is also a good time to bring up any experience that is not technically career history but led you to the place in your career that you are now. For example, ‘Growing up in a family where we regularly volunteered to raise funds for a local community service organisation instilled in me an understanding of the importance of supporting others within our society.’ Or ‘During my time overseas I participated in an exchange program with a community development NGO. It was during this time that I developed a passion for the sector’.
Finally, in describing who you are, talk about your personality and skills and they way they pertain to your ability to do this role. Are you results-driven, process-driven, a lone star, a team player, meticulously organised, or do you thrive under intense pressure. Give examples to support your description of your personality.
It is important to give the interviewer an insight into who you are as a person so that they can ascertain how well you will fit within their company. It is not however necessary to divulge personal information which is irrelevant to your ability to fit within the company or perform the role you are applying for. You do not need to tell the interviewer that you are a mother of 3 children or that you have previously suffered from depression.
It is much easier to be yourself, so there is no point in trying to portray a character you believe the organisation would like to see. If you are successful and obtain the position it will be very hard to go to work everyday and pretend to be someone you’re not.