This is probably the opening sentence in 95+% interviews. This question is a great ice breaker for the interviewer, allowing the interviewer to frame the next set of questions.
Any interviewee needs to have a well-rehearsed answer to this question. Many jobs require someone who can think on their feet or present ideas with crispness and clarity. This question provides employers with an early preview of your core skills, personality, and ability to respond to an unstructured question.
Sample answer for Business Analyst Professionals:
I would describe myself as highly curious and focused on learning, personal and professional, in all parts of life.
I look for the hardest problems to solve and where I can learn and develop the most in my professional life. I've worked on many different types of projects, including ads, virtual reality, commerce, and messaging. No matter what I'm working on, I'm very invested. I identify anyone I can learn from and problems that I care about and try to optimize every step of the process.
In my personal life, I spend a lot of time reading and usually have a focused area of interest for an extended period of time. For instance, last year, I read and researched public transportation systems and the future of transportation with emerging companies and autonomous vehicles. I found it fascinating, and it actually sparked a desire to change industries — which eventually led me to my last role and even helped prepare me for the switch.
Outside of reading and researching, I also love to travel, cook with friends, and spend a lot of time running and being physically active outdoors.
Why this answer worked well:
Background and type of experience were clearly explained.
The candidate showcased a self-starter mentality.
Hobbies were framed to highlight benefits to professional life.
This is something you'll be asked a lot at the beginning of an interview. So here are three tips that'll help you nail the opener.
Be succinct, honest, and engaging.
I call this the "SHE" formula. Resist the urge to give a detailed account of the last two decades of your career. Instead, the interviewer is looking for an answer that shows them you're qualified and can respond to an unstructured question.
Use the job description to prepare.
Reread what they want and highlight the most required skills that you have. For example, are they looking for someone who can solve problems or deal with challenging customers? Pick a few and brainstorm how you can describe yourself while showcasing your strengths for what they're seeking.
Tie your story to their needs.
People love a good tale, so weave in some personality. For example, maybe you fell in love with the hospitality industry because your grandparents ran a bed and breakfast. Connect your story back to the job, keep it short, and be truthful.
Employers are looking for self-awareness and personal accountability.
It's good, to be honest about what you're not great at.
Share what you are doing to actively improve on this weakness.
Note: This content is adapted from an article originally published on LinkedIn.