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People usually think that because they know themselves and what they have been doing in their professional life so far, they will be able to come up with an answer when asked about it. But they do not realize that they need to come up with the best and complete answer on the fly, which is difficult for most people. The only solution is to anticipate commonly asked questions and prepare scripted answers for all of them and practice.


Follow the SAR – Situation, Action and Result format for all your answers. See ‘Ace the interview’ for more details on SAR structure of answering interview questions.


Here I will talk more about one specific script and what to include in that. Everybody gets asked one question for sure – “Tell me something about yourself”. This seemingly harmless question is actually the most devastating for candidates because most are not well prepared to answer it. They ramble something about their education or work experience or family or where they grew up or how funny they are etc. This is the first question and hence too important to mess up. You MUST have a script ready for this question.


The script for ‘tell me something about yourself’ question should contain the following:

·        Where you are now, your past experiences, and what has made you successful

·        Where you are going – your general or specific career goals

·        The skills and qualities you have to take with you into your career


The script should be 45 seconds to a minute long (don’t go beyond that). It should be worded to include power words and should be concise. It should have a great opening sentence and a memorable closing sentence.


This script should be so powerful that it sets the tone and agenda for the entire interview.


Once you have your first draft ready, read it multiple times, get it reviewed by friends and redraft it as many times as required until you get it right and crisp.


Memorize the script and practice speaking it without ‘ums’ and ‘ahs’. Modulate your voice and pause at the right places. Do not speak the entire script in one breath. Do not appear canned. Just be yourself and speak as if you are thinking and talking about it for the first time.


It takes good amount of practice but it is worth getting right every time. Do the same with other important questions.


Most questions will be like ‘tell me when….’ Or ‘tell me of a time when you did so and so….’. You should go back into your working life and pull good examples of those situations and what you did in those situations. The examples should build a case for the job you are seeking and must highlight the right skills. Doing this is the most difficult part and most people neglect it to their detriment.


Write scripts for every answer and practice – practice – practice.



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