Most Important Interview Question

Tell me about yourself.

This introductory question often serves as an icebreaker and can come in many forms like “Walk me through your resume.” “What will I not see on your CV that I should know about you?” “Tell me about your career path.”

This question helps recruiters and hiring managers get to know you and your suitability for the role and the organization. Your hard skills of course will be assessed but interviews are often about culture and “fit” and what you say will help them assess whether you will be a match.

This answer is your opportunity to demonstrate that you can communicate clearly, effectively, and professionally. If you answer it well – with a degree of rehearsed authenticity – then the rest of your interview will likely fall into place as well. Tailor your answer for the job and the company as much as you can. What strengths could you bring to this position? What unique skill sets can you offer?  How can you help the employer solve their challenges? Why do you want to be a part of their team?

Be prepared to sell yourself for the position as early as the first question. After all, first impressions are formed very quickly. If you need help with an upcoming interview and you are a trainee at the NIH, consider making an appointment with a career counselor for help.

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