“Tell me about yourself” is a really common question in job interviews. It can be surprising if you’re not ready for it. But don’t worry! If you’re a neurodivergent job-seeker, you might face some unique challenges with this question. However, with the right approach, it can actually be a chance to show off your strengths and why you’re a great fit for the job.
Why do employers ask this question?
Well, they usually use it to start the conversation and get to know you better. They want to learn about your personality and your work background. For neurodivergent job-seekers, it’s important to answer in a way that shows your intelligence, enthusiasm, confidence, and dependability. With some preparation, you can confidently answer this question and make a good impression.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you answer this question effectively:
Step 1: Complete the “Getting to Know You” Questions
Take your time to answer each question carefully. This will help you understand your personal, education, and work achievements better. Focus on finding your strongest skills, what you’re good at, your best personality traits, and things you’re proud of. Think of specific examples that show your abilities and why you’re a good fit for the job. Organise this information in a clear way so that your answer sounds good.
- What is your greatest academic or personal achievement?
- What are you passionate about?
- What did you study and why did you choose that subject area?
- What are you great at?
- If you are currently in a role, what do you enjoy about it?
- What makes you unique?
- What are you proud of?
You can also use our Working Styles Guide a tool to help you understand how you like to work, the Working Styles guide can enable you to understand your own working styles preferences and how to share them in a positive way.
Step 2: Create an Interesting Opening Statement
Use the information you got from the questions and your Working Styles Guide to make a cool opening statement that gets the interviewer’s attention and shows your excitement and skills. It’s important not to memorize it word for word because you want it to sound natural and genuine. Practice saying it out loud until you feel comfortable and it sounds right.
Step 3: Talk about Your Experiences and Achievements
After your opening statement, talk about your important experiences and achievements in a clear and organized way. Pick examples that show the skills and qualifications needed for the job. Explain how you made a positive impact in your previous jobs or activities by mentioning successful projects or challenges you overcame. Give specific details like numbers or recognition you received to make your accomplishments sound real. Remember to adapt your answer to fit the job you’re applying for.
Step 4: Show Your Relevant Skills and Expertise
Besides your experiences and achievements, show the skills and expertise that are important for the job. Talk about any technical skills, knowledge about the industry, or certifications you have that make you a good candidate. It’s also valuable to mention skills like problem-solving, teamwork, communication, or adaptability that are useful in many different jobs. Connect these skills to specific examples from your education or past work to show how you can use them and why they’re important.
Step 5: Explain How You Fit with the Company and Role
To make a strong impression, show how your background matches the company’s values, mission, and the requirements of the job. Do some research on the organisation to understand its culture, goals, and recent achievements. Find things that match your own values and experiences, and explain how you can help the company succeed. Let them know about your passion for the industry and your real interest in the specific position. This shows that you’re committed and motivated to do well in the job.
Step 6: Ask a Good Question at the End
As you finish your answer, ask a thoughtful question that shows you’re genuinely interested in the company or the position. This question should show that you’re engaged and want to learn more. Choose a question that reflects your eagerness to contribute and grow within the organisation.
Now that you have a plan, let’s talk about how to answer the question effectively. Follow these guidelines:
Keep it focused and short: Make a logical summary of your experiences, skills, and education, tailored to the job you want. Try to answer within two minutes.
Structure your answer:
a. Brief introduction: Give an overview of your education and degrees/certifications.
b. Important accomplishments: Talk about things you’re proud of that show your abilities.
c. Key strengths shown by these accomplishments: Explain the skills and strengths you demonstrated.
d. How they relate to the job: Show why these strengths and accomplishments matter for the job you’re applying to.
e. Future goals: Share where you see yourself growing within the company and the position you want.
“In 2020, I finished my master’s degree in data science at XYZ University, after getting my bachelor’s degree in 2019. In the past two years, I’ve been working in software development, focusing on analytics. In my job, I analyse customer data to help brands make good decisions. Before that, I worked with the sales and marketing team for XYZ product, where I used my creative thinking and decision-making skills to increase product sales. I’m good at data visualization, data cleaning, and using tools like PowerBI. I also earned the SAS Data Scientist certification, which made me even better at analysing data.”
By following these steps and customising your answer to each interview, you can confidently answer the “Tell me about yourself” question as a neurodivergent job-seeker. This will leave a positive impression on employers and set the stage for a successful interview.