Interviewers love to ask this question. Why? Because it reveals more about the job candidate than you might think.
If you can come up with a good answer, it tells them that you (A) can think on your feet, and (B) understand the needs of the job and company you're interviewing for. Read through the following tips and you'll see what we mean.
1. Be prepared.
Hesitating or stammering when this question is thrown at you will give the impression that you lack awareness both of yourself and the job requirements. Memorize an opening statement that you can deliver quickly and confidently.
2. Keep it short.
We believe your first response should be no longer than a TV commercial: 30 seconds. If the interviewer wants you to go into more detail about a particular point, he/she will ask.
3. Make it all about them.
Remember, you're there to sell yourself as the answer to their problem: which candidate will be the biggest asset to their company. Information about your childhood, family and leisure activities is not relevant to that mission.
4. Don't just repeat what's in your resume.
They want to see how you respond to an unrehearsed challenge, which is what you'll have to do every day if you work for them. Rather than listing skills and duties, show who you are as an employee.
5. Explain HOW you are the answer to their problem.
Highlight your strengths and accomplishments that will help you excel on the job (team player, self-starter, disciplined, creative, etc.).
This formula for answering what may be the trickiest interview question of all works for everyone, whether you have a 30-year job history behind you, or you're just starting out, or you're switching career tracks. Show the interviewer why your character, not just your skill set, will add value to the team, and you'll take a giant step toward a job offer.