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Have you ever stumbled at the first hurdle when you were asked one of the most common interview questions and often one of the most difficult to answer effectively?

Many people take this as an opportunity to provide a synopsis of their CV or talk through their life story. This is not what the interviewer is looking for! The interviewer wants to get to know you and if you are a good fit for their organisation. They are interested in your professional history and achievements and their relevance to the position you are applying for.

Answering this question well is one of the most important and effective things you can do during the interview. It is your opportunity to make a great first impression and set a positive tone which you can do by following the tips below:

  • Be natural and spontaneous – not scripted. This is your chance to show your personality and that you are the right person for the role.

  • Prepare a response in a story format which engages your audience and shows who you are and why you are the best fit for the role. By understanding what the company is looking for in the ideal candidate, you can align significant aspects from your professional history and achievements with the requirements of the position whilst also taking into account the company’s goals, vision and aspirations.

  • Organise your story

  1. Start by talking about where you are now professionally and consider your career highlights in order to peak their interest.

  2. Share what led to where you are now, for example through promotion, career advancement or specific skills. Speak briefly about your background, education, achievements and skills development, always paying attention to what is relevant to the role.

  3. Share the reasons that you are so interested in the position and demonstrate how the role aligns with your future career goals and aspirations.

  • Explain why you are the right fit for the role. Focus on your key strengths, achievements and skills relating these to the position to give you credibility and to demonstrate how you can add value.

  • How you articulate and express yourself is key so rehearse your answer - practise, practise, practise.

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