Interviewing: Tell Me About Yourself

It’s usually the first question, and usually the most terrifying.

What do they want to hear? Is this a biography? Do I start with where I was born? And then you feel the panic.

This is the last way you want to start an interview. When an interviewer is asking you about yourself, they are really asking for a short professional summary about how you chose Hampden-Sydney College, why you chose your major, and the steps that led you to that company and position.

Talk About Your Background

What led you to Hampden-Sydney College, and what is your major? Are you from California and wanted to live in another part of the country? Did you win a storytelling content in 5th grade and decided you loved public speaking? Were you working in the family food truck when you realized that you were amazing at marketing and sales? It doesn’t have to be really personal but provide a snapshot of who you are.

Describe Your Interests

What sparked your interest in the field? If you are applying for a media content job, perhaps it was a childhood fascination with YouTube, and learning all the technical aspects to create your own. If you are applying for a fundraising job, perhaps you learned early on the impact that funding can have on non-profits.

Mention Your Experience

How did you apply what you learned? Once you’ve described your interests, explain how your past internship and work experience have shaped your decision to seek out this role. If you don’t have previous experience in the field (or a related on) you can talk about relevant classes you’ve taken or transferable skills you’ve developed through class projects, clubs, or athletics.

Explain Why Your Are Excited About The Opportunity

Why this company and why this job? This is where you connect all the dots of who you are, your interests, and your experience that led you to this opportunity.

When you pull it all together, it should be under a minute and sound something like this example from WayUp:

Tiger Tip: If you are interviewing with alumni, be sure to emphasize your positive experiences at H-SC including favorite professors and all the great things happening on campus. They will likely have their own stories to tell, and the interview will feel less formal and more like a conversation.