Daily English
Cultural English
Practical English

1 Tell me about yourself

访问量:
SUMMARY OF TIPS:

Your Goal: To prove to the interviewer that you have the skills and experience to be the ideal or perfect candidate for the job

! Keep the answer short at about two minutes.
! Focus on work-related skills and accomplishments, not personal information.
! Tell the interviewer why you think your work-related skills and accomplishments would be an asset to the company.
! Describe your education or work history very briefly.
! Tell the interviewer about things you have done and jobs you have had related to the position you are interviewing for.
! Mention one or two personal characteristics that have helped you accomplish your goals, giving short examples to illustrate.

SAMPLE ANSWERS

Sample Answer 1:

I have always enjoyed working with computers, so it was an easy decision to major in computer science at California University with a plan to enter the IT
field. In school, I excelled in my computer-related classes and during my college years, I became particularly interested in software development, especially software that would help consumers. That’s why I applied for and completed a one-year internship with Lotadoe Industries. At Lotadoe, I learned how to formulate new ideas for software and how to communicate those ideas effectively to the rest of the development team.

I am a very focused person and I tend to be product-oriented. At Lotadoe, I made sure that whatever projects I worked on, I saw to completion. For instance, I worked with a team that was developing a new version of a piece of popular software called Rototype. I asked to be part of every step of software
development and at the end of the project, I was given the responsibility of getting final technical approval. I made sure that I followed through with the
right departments, keeping my team informed of the progress. This is the type of work I enjoy and that’s why I applied for a position with your company.

Your company is a leader in software development and is in the forefront of new ideas in the field. I think that the products your company has developed in the past several years have been outstanding and are the best on the market. I want to work in a company where I can be challenged and where I can make a
contribution. I would very much enjoy working in your company to develop new software and to improve existing ones.

Sample Answer 2:

I have worked successfully in sales for over 10 years. One of my first sales jobs was in college, where I majored in business. I worked for the college newspaper selling advertising space, and as an extrovert who likes interacting with people, I was very successful in the job. What also helped me sell more than any other salesperson was my persistence. I was willing to follow up with a potential client over weeks and even months, developing a relationship with them until they were ready to make a deal with us.

I’m currently working as a sales rep for the Michmuney Company. I have been their top salesperson for the past two years. Last year, I sold over $3 million
worth of products.

Now, I’m ready for a new challenge. I want to work in public relations because it is an area where I can use my creativity together with my knowledge of
advertising and sales. I have a proven ability to work well with people and I can develop good long-term relationships with clients. I want to work for your
company in particular because you work primarily with Internet-based companies, which is an area that is growing at the rate of 40% a year. This makes your company a leader in the industry and I’d like to be part of that.

GLOSSARY

to major in – to study something as one’s main subject area in a college or university
* He’s majoring in business and German because he wants to work for an international business based in Berlin.

to enter a field – to begin to work in a specific industry or field
* She wants to enter the field of medicine and is taking a lot of biology courses and volunteering at the hospital.

to excel – to do very well; to be very good; to receive excellent grades
* She excels in her foreign language courses and her professors have recommended that she become a translator.

internship – a short-term position with a company that allows a student to get work experience in his or her chosen field
* Jacob did so well in his internship that the company offered him a job when he graduated the following year.

to formulate – to think of something; to create something step by step
* Many organizations are trying to formulate a plan to reduce poverty in developing countries.

effectively – in a way that achieves a goal quickly and thoroughly, using the least amount of resources possible
* If we want to manage this business more effectively, we have to find a way to reduce our costs.

to be focused – to be concentrated; with clear goals; not easily distracted
* She is very focused on becoming an actress. She’s always taking acting classes and going to the theater.

product-oriented – thinking about products; focused on products; being most concerned about the results of the work
* Sometimes Henry gets so interested in the day-to-day work that he forgets what we are trying to create. I wish he were more product-oriented.

to see (something) to completion – to make sure that a project gets finished; to be involved in all stages of a project, from start to finish
* Even though Abdullah was excited about his promotion, he was disappointed because it meant that he wouldn’t be able to see his old project to completion.

to follow through – to finish what one has started
After sending my resume to a company, I always follow through by calling to request an interview.

forefront – the leading position in an industry or field
* His ideas are at the forefront of cancer research and many people believe he will find a cure soon.

to be challenged – to be presented with difficult, interesting tasks that require using one’s skills and abilities
* I don’t like working as a receptionist. I want to be challenged, but all I do is answer the phones all day.

contribution – something that one does or gives to help a project, organization, or society
* He received an award in honor of his contributions to world peace.

extrovert – an outgoing person who enjoys spending time with other people; not shy
* My sister is an extrovert and is always going out with her friends, but I prefer to spend most of my time alone.

persistence – determination; willingness to continue trying to do something even when it is difficult; never giving up
* That author’s persistence is amazing. Even though 30 publishers have rejected her novel, she’s still trying to find a publisher.

top – best; highest-ranking
* Selecting the top five candidates for interviews was difficult, because they had received more than 100 applications for the position.

creativity – ability to think of new, unique ideas; ability to create something new
* The company wants to hire a graphic designer with a lot of creativity who can make its website better than it is now.

proven – tested; shown to be true; having evidence that something is real
* According to this article, it is a proven fact that people lose weight when they eat more fruits and vegetables.

in particular – especially; specifically; particularly
* I hope that all of my friends come to the party, but in particular, I hope that Jason comes because I haven’t seen him for months.

COMPLETE TRANSCRIPT

ESLPod.com presents "Interview Questions Answered," episode one.

Hello, I'm your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, coming to you from the Center for Educational Development in beautiful Los Angeles, California.

This series is designed to teach you the English you need to know to have a successful interview. The questions from this series are the most common
questions asked at US business interviews. Each episode has two parts. First, we give you some important tips on how to answer the interview question.
Second, we provide you with two sample answers that use these tips in answering the question and that you might hear in a typical business interview.

You will hear each sample answer read slowly, then you will hear an explanation of the vocabulary and expressions we used in the answers. Finally, you'll hear the answers read at a normal speed.

All the episodes come with a written Learning Guide that contains all of the tips we discuss, definitions and sample sentences for each of the vocabulary words we use, and a complete transcript of the episode.

Let's begin with question number one: "Tell me about yourself?"

The question, "Tell me about yourself," is usually the first question that you will hear in a business interview. Your goal, in answering this question, is to prove to the interviewer - to show the interviewer - that you have the skills and experience to be the ideal or perfect candidate for the job.

Here are some tips in answering this question: Keep your answer short, at about two minutes. The person interviewing you wants you to give them an overview - a general idea of your skills and qualifications. You don't want to talk too much on this first question; two, maybe three minutes is all you will really need. Since you can expect that this question will be asked in the interview, you should prepare something that you can tell the person - the general qualifications that you have - in that short amount of time.

Our second tip is to focus on work-related skills and accomplishments, not personal information. When the interviewer asks you to tell him or her about
yourself, they're interested in things that are related to the job. You may have some personal accomplishments or personal information, but what you want to do mostly here is to talk about why you are good person for the job. So, don't talk about your family, or a good vacation you went on, or something that you have done that is not related to the job in some way.

Our third tip is to tell the interviewer why you think your work-related skills and accomplishments would be an asset to the company. An asset is a positive
contribution to the company. You want to tell the person interviewing you not just what your skills are - the things that you can do, and the things that you have done - your accomplishments - you also want to tell them why these are related - why they are important for the company - why you would be able to give something to the company it doesn't have right now because of your skills and accomplishments.

Fourth, you want to describe your education or work history very briefly. Normally, if you're going on an interview, you would talk about, very briefly, what
you studied in college, for example, what degrees you have. Do you have a bachelor's degree, do you have a master's degree, do you have a Ph.D., a
doctorate? You want to tell them where you went to school, what you studied at the school, and then you want to say a little bit about companies you've worked with or worked for and what positions you have had in those companies. So, you want to give them some information so they know, in general, what you've been doing before you came to this interview. You don't normally want to talk about your high school or grade school; most employers are not interested in that, unless you only graduated from high school - that you haven't gone to college yet - then you might mention your high school degree - your high school diploma.

Fifth, you want to tell the interviewer about things you have done and jobs you have had that are related to the position you are interviewing for. You want to tell them about your skills and accomplishments, but you also want to tell the interviewer or interviewers about specific things you have done - specific jobs that you have had that are somehow related to the position that you are interviewing for now.

Finally, you want to mention one, maybe two personal characteristics that have helped you accomplish your goals, and give a short example to illustrate. We
said earlier that you don't want to talk about your personal life in this question, but personal characteristics are a little different. Personal characteristics are
things that you have that would be related to the job, things such as being able to get a job done on time, being able to focus and concentrate your attention on the job.

You might say, for example, that you have good attention to detail - you can look at all the little things in an issue or a project and make sure that you are taking care of them. That would be a personal characteristic, and then you could give an example of why that was important in a job that you've already done. You may say, "I had a project where I had many different parts that I had to take care of, and I was able to do them all." That way, you're showing the person - you're telling the interviewer how your personal characteristics will be able to help you do your job better.

An interview, in general, particularly for US businesses, is sort of like an opportunity to sell yourself. You have to be able to show to the person that you
are the best man or woman for the job.

To summarize then: In answering the question, "Tell me about yourself," you want to keep the answer short, two to three minutes. You want to focus on work-related skills and accomplishments, not your personal information. You want to tell the interviewer why you think your work-related skills and accomplishments would be a positive thing for the company. You want to talk about your education and where you worked before you came to the interview. You also want to tell the interviewer the kinds of jobs you have done, and how they're related to the position you're interviewing for. Finally, you can mention some personal characteristics that would be important in doing the job that you are interviewing for.

Now let's listen to our first sample answer.

[Start of sample answer]

I have always enjoyed working with computers, so it was an easy decision to major in computer science at California University with a plan to enter the IT field. In school, I excelled in my computer-related classes and during my college years, I became particularly interested in software development, especially software that would help consumers. That’s why I applied for and completed a one-year internship with Lotadoe Industries. At Lotadoe, I learned how to formulate new ideas for software and how to communicate those ideas effectively to the rest of the development team.

I am a very focused person and I tend to be product-oriented. At Lotadoe, I made sure that whatever projects I worked on, I saw to completion. For instance,
I worked with a team that was developing a new version of a piece of popular software called Rototype. I asked to be part of every step of software

development and at the end of the project, I was given the responsibility of getting final technical approval. I made sure that I followed through with the right
departments, keeping my team informed of the progress. This is the type of work I enjoy and that’s why I applied for a position with your company.

Your company is a leader in software development and is in the forefront of new ideas in the field. I think that the products your company has developed in the past several years have been outstanding and are the best on the market. I want to work in a company where I can be challenged and where I can make a contribution. I would very much enjoy working in your company to develop new software and to improve existing ones.

[End of sample answer]

The first sample answer begins with the person telling the interviewer something about her education and what her plans are in terms of the area, or the field, that she's interested in.

She says, "I have always enjoyed working with computers, so it was an easy decision to major in computer science at California University." To major,
"major," in something is to study something at the university. When you get your bachelor's degree from a four-year university, you have a specialization -
something that you are studying. Psychology, or computer science, or business - that's your major. And so, you can say in your interview, "I majored in industrial engineering at Bob Smith University" - whatever the university is that you studied at - and that's what the interview question does here. She begins by saying what she majored in and where she studied.

She said that she had plans "to enter the IT field." To enter a field, "field," means to begin working in a particular area - a particular kind of job. It could be the medical field; it could be the insurance field. When you finish your college education or your high school education, you often are interested in having a
particular kind of job, and that's what this expression means, to enter into the "blank" field, in this case, the IT field.

Then she talks a little bit about what she studied specifically at California University, and notice also that she tells us what she was good at. Again, this is
important in a US interview, in particular, to be able to tell the person things that you are good at. She says in her sample answer, "In school, I excelled in my
computer-related classes." To excel, "excel," means to do very well at something - to be excellent in something. It's a good verb to use in talking about your
qualifications - why you are good for the job. "I excelled in," and then you can talk about what you were good in. In this example, she was good in "computer-related classes." When I was in college, I excelled in watching television and not studying. That did not get me any good jobs however, so don't talk about that!

The person goes on and says that during her college years, she came "interested in software development, especially software that would help consumers." The people that buy the software are consumers. Notice here, she's giving a little more specific information about why she is interested in this particular
specialization. She says, "That’s why I applied for and completed a one-year internship at Lotadoe Industries."

Many times, in American colleges, people work while they're in college, often during the summertime but sometimes part-time during their last two years or
one of their last two years in an internship, "internship." An internship is when you work for a company as a trainee - as someone who is learning how to do something. The internship is also an example of an accomplishment - something that the person did that shows that they are able to out and get things done.

"At Lotadoe" Industries, she says, she "learned how to formulate new ideas for software and how to communicate those ideas effectively to the rest of the
development team." She doesn't just tell the person where she worked in this internship, she says what she did and, in particular, she gives them an example
of an accomplishment at that job - things that she learned at that job.

The thing that she learned, in part, was "to formulate new ideas." To formulate, "formulate," means to come up with - to think of - to invent new ideas. So, she says she "learned how to formulate new ideas and how to communicate those" or tell those "effectively to the rest of the development team." Effectively, "effectively," means the same as quickly and thoroughly - to do something with the most amount of efficiency.

She goes on to say that she is "a very focused person" and tends to be "product-oriented." These are two personal characteristics that she has that are related to the job. Then, she's going to tell us how she used those personal characteristics or why those personal characteristics were important in the jobs that she's already done. She's still talking about her one-year internship at Lotadoe Industries. She says, "I'm a very focused person." To be focused, "focused," means to have a very clear idea about what you are doing - to have very good concentration on whatever it is that you are doing. That's a definite positive personal quality; "I'm very focused" - I can ignore everything around me and do my job effectively.

She also says that she's "product-oriented." This is something that companies like from their employees. What she means by "product-oriented" is that she is concerned about the results that she gets - she wants to make sure that she gets the job done, she's "product-oriented." You could also say, "I am result-oriented" - I'm really trying to get the results that I'm supposed to get

She continues that "At Lotadoe" Industries, she "made sure that whatever projects" she worked on, she "saw to completion." To see something to
completion means that you get the project finished - you get the project completed - you get it done. Again, that's something that companies will want
from you, that you can actually get things accomplished - get things completed.

Then, she gives a specific example. She says, "For instance, I worked with a team that was developing a new version of a piece of popular software called Rototype. I asked to be part of every step of software development and at the end of the project, I was given the responsibility of getting final technical approval" from the boss. So, she not only says that she is "focused" and "product-oriented," she gives a specific example at her job of how she did this - an instance or an example. "When I worked on this project, I was part of the entire project and I saw it to completion" - I was part of the team that finished the
project.

She says, "I made sure that I followed through with the right departments, keeping my team informed of the progress." To follow through means to finish what you have started. This is, again, a positive quality that businesses are looking for - someone who will follow through on things, or, we may even say,
someone who has "good follow through." Using it as a noun, it means to be able to finish what you are starting, and in this example, she uses this as a piece of evidence - as a sample of her personal qualities.

"This is the type of work I enjoy," she says, "and that’s why I applied for a position" in "your company." Once again, she's connecting what she's done in
the past with the company she's interviewing with right now. She's showing them why she would be a good person for their company.

At the end of the interview answer, she says, "Your company is a leader in software development and is in the forefront of new ideas in the field." Everybody likes compliments. Everybody likes to know that they work for a good company, so it's very important in the interview to, at some time, say, "Well, I
want to work for your company because you're a great company" - you're a good company. You don't have to do this too much, but this is a good example of the person saying, "I want to work at your company because it's a good company."

She says, "Your company is a leader in software development and is in the forefront of new ideas." The forefront, "forefront," means to be in the leading
position - in first position - someone who is a leader in their area.

She says, "that the products" the "company has developed have been outstanding" - they've been excellent - "and are the best" in "the market. I want
to work in a company where I can be challenged and where I can make a contribution." Here is the reason why she wants to work in this company. She says they're a good company, and she wants to work in a company she "can be challenged." To be challenged means that someone gives you a problem that
you can solve. Someone gives you something difficult or interesting to do, that's a challenge. So, she's saying that she likes to be challenged and she wants to
"make a contribution." A contribution "contribution," is something that you give to someone else. It's something positive that you are able to give, usually, a
company or an organization. In this case, she says she wants to "make a contribution" to the company - she wants to help the company do what they do.

She ends this answer by saying, " I would very much enjoy working in your company to develop new software and to improve existing ones."

Now let's listen to the interview answer, this time at a native rate of speech.

[Start of sample answer]

I have always enjoyed working with computers, so it was an easy decision to major in computer science at California University with a plan to enter the IT field. In school, I excelled in my computer-related classes and during my college years, I became particularly interested in software development, especially software that would help consumers. That’s why I applied for and completed a one-year internship with Lotadoe Industries. At Lotadoe, I learned how to formulate new ideas for software and how to communicate those ideas effectively to the rest of the development team.

I am a very focused person and I tend to be product-oriented. At Lotadoe, I made sure that whatever projects I worked on, I saw to completion. For instance,
I worked with a team that was developing a new version of a piece of popular software called Rototype. I asked to be part of every step of software
development and at the end of the project, I was given the responsibility of getting final technical approval. I made sure that I followed through with the right
departments, keeping my team informed of the progress. This is the type of work I enjoy and that’s why I applied for a position with your company.

Your company is a leader in software development and is in the forefront of new ideas in the field. I think that the products your company has developed in the past several years have been outstanding and are the best on the market. I want to work in a company where I can be challenged and where I can make a
contribution. I would very much enjoy working in your company to develop new software and to improve existing ones.

[End of sample answer]

Sample answer number two:

[Start of sample answer]

I have worked successfully in sales for over 10 years. One of my first sales jobs was in college, where I majored in business. I worked for the college newspaper selling advertising space, and as an extrovert who likes interacting with people, I was very successful in the job. What also helped me sell more than any other salesperson was my persistence. I was willing to follow up with a potential client over weeks and even months, developing a relationship with them until they were ready to make a deal with us.

I’m currently working as a sales rep for the Michmuney Company. I have been their top salesperson for the past two years. Last year, I sold over $3 million
worth of products.

Now, I’m ready for a new challenge. I want to work in public relations because it is an area where I can use my creativity together with my knowledge of
advertising and sales. I have a proven ability to work well with people and I can develop good long-term relationships with clients. I want to work for your
company in particular because you work primarily with Internet-based companies, which is an area that is growing at the rate of 40% a year. This makes your company a leader in the industry and I’d like to be part of that.

[End of sample answer]

Like our first sample answer, the second sample answer follows the tips that we discussed at the beginning of this episode. It focuses on work-related skills and accomplishments. It tells the interviewer why the skills that this person has are important for the company. It also talks about education and work history, and it gives personal characteristics that the person believes will help them in their job as well as specific examples of that in the jobs that they have held.

This sample answer begins by person saying that he has "worked successfully in sales for over 10 years. One of my first sales jobs was in college, where I
majored in business." He doesn't say what college he came from, but he does say what he majored in, so the person knows he went to college and he majored in business. Of course, that information will also be on your resume that you give the person that has a list of where you went to school - the college you went to school.

He said that he worked for a "college newspaper selling advertising space." He's giving an example of his sales job experiences. Now, he might have had other jobs in college, but he doesn't talk about those because they're probably not related to the job he's applying for or his general work experience. So, if he worked as a waiter in a restaurant, well that's not something that is going to help him in this job so he doesn't talk about it.

He says he worked "selling advertising space" - ads in a newspaper - and then he mentions one of his personal characteristics, he's "an extrovert." An extrovert, "extrovert," is the same as someone who is outgoing - someone who's very friendly, who likes to talk to people. In a sales position, being an extrovert would be considered a good personal characteristic because you need to be friendly and outgoing in order to get people to buy something from you. The opposite of extrovert is introvert, "introvert." That's probably not something you want to mention, if you're an introvert. But, if you're an extrovert, then that's a good thing to mention for most kinds of jobs.

He says he likes to interact with people - he likes to talk to other people - and that was one of the reasons why he was successful. So, he connects this personal characteristic to the reason for his success at his job.

He also says that he has a lot of "persistence." Persistence, "persistence," is the same as determination. When you are persistent, you are willing to continue
going, even if it's difficult. You don't give up; you don't stop. In a salesperson, being persistent is important. So, he says that "I have a lot of persistence," and then he gives an example of that. He says, "I was willing to follow up," or to follow thorough, "with a potential client over weeks" or "even months, developing a relationship with them until they were ready to" buy something from us - "to make a deal with us."

Now he talks about where he works right now. He says, "I’m currently working as a sales rep," or sales representative, "for the Michmuney Company." He's "been their top salesperson for the past two years." To be the top, "top," means to be the best - to be the highest ranking. This is an accomplishment; this is
something that he has accomplished - he has done in his previous job, and so he tells the interviewer about it. "I've been their top sales person," and he tells them specifically how much he sold, "I sold over $3 million worth of products." Depending on the job you're interviewing for, you want to be able to give specific information about how you did a good job in your previous positions.

"Now," he says, "I’m ready for a new challenge." He wants "to work in public relations because it's an area where" he can use his "creativity together with" his "knowledge of advertising and sales." Creativity is another personal characteristic. Creativity, "creativity," is the ability to think of new ideas - to think
of something completely new, and this is something that would be important in his particular job. So, he mentions this personal characteristic because it's
related to the job he is interviewing for.

Then he says, "I have a proven ability to work well with people." When we say something is proven, "proven," we mean it's tested - it has been shown to be
true. Proven is the past participle of prove.

Finally, at the end of his answer, he says why he wants to work for this company. He says, "I want to work for your company in particular." When we say, "in particular," we mean specifically or especially for your company.

He says that this company works with "Internet-based companies," and that these companies are growing very fast, "40% a year." Notice also that he has done his homework - he has done some research into the company. It's very important that the company knows that you know their company - that you've
actually looked at their website and read some of their things and looked at what they do. So, he mentions that he wants to work with this company because
they're a leader - they are working with the future of this particular field. He ends by saying that "This makes your company a leader in the industry"- a leader in this area - this type of work - "and I’d like to be part of that" I want to be part of that team that works on those things.

Now let's listen to the sample answer, this time at a normal speed.

[Start of sample answer]

I have worked successfully in sales for over 10 years. One of my first sales jobs was in college, where I majored in business. I worked for the college newspaper selling advertising space, and as an extrovert who likes interacting with people, I was very successful in the job. What also helped me sell more than any other salesperson was my persistence. I was willing to follow up with a potential client over weeks and even months, developing a relationship with them until they were ready to make a deal with us.

I’m currently working as a sales rep for the Michmuney Company. I have been their top salesperson for the past two years. Last year, I sold over $3 million
worth of products.

Now, I’m ready for a new challenge. I want to work in public relations because it is an area where I can use my creativity together with my knowledge of
advertising and sales. I have a proven ability to work well with people and I can develop good long-term relationships with clients. I want to work for your
company in particular because you work primarily with Internet-based companies, which is an area that is growing at the rate of 40% a year. This makes your company a leader in the industry and I’d like to be part of that.

[End of sample answer]

That concludes episode one of "Interview Questions Answered."

This course has been a production of the Center for Educational Development, in beautiful Los Angeles, California. Visit our website at eslpod.com.

This course was produced by Dr. Jeff McQuillan and Dr. Lucy Tse. Copyright 2006.