Video interview for a recent graduate applying for an internship position abroad

So you applied for an internship opportunity with AIESEC and You received that email for an interview appointment! You prepared for everything, You were a little bit nervous and it’s normal. The interview started and you introduced yourself for the recruitment team. But now, they ask that classic interview question: ‘Tell us about yourself?’ It’s not an easy one right?

Tricky  questions like this one  are frequently asked at the beginning of in-person or video interviews to lunch the conversation. It’s natural to be panic because  it seems hard for you to figure out what the recruiter really wants to know.

In this article, I will show you the best ways to prepare and answer this question.

First step: Get started with brainstorming

Brainstorming

As Benjamin Franklin said “Failing to plan is planning to fail,” you need to prepare for this kind of open-ended questions that may judge whether you fit for the internship  or not. Answering these questions will give you an idea on how to reformulate your answer professionally in that day.

  • What makes you THE SPECIAL ONE for this position? Your technical or soft skills? Your field of study? Or maybe your years of experience? Try to read the job description carefully to extract what makes you stand out from the others.
  • Why does this position excites you? Brainstorm how this role will help you achieve your long-term career goals and why you think it’s the best next step for you.
  • What makes you interested in this company and the industry field in general? After doing some research about it and reading the job description,try to align your career goals with its vision and the trends of the industry field.
  • Which quality you think you have and may serve you in this job? Whether you’re solution oriented or able to work under stress, try to showcase these qualities with real situations happened to you.

Next Step: Formulate your answer

Statistics done by Glassdoor for Employers showed that on average 3 to 4 people out of 250 applicants are called to an interview and only one of them will be offered the job and that’s mainly because of the quality of their resumes and how they deal with the job interview specially the famous question about themselves. So in order to do great in your interview day follow these tips:

job interview

Avoid unnecessary and personal details

Avoid starting off with information about your hobbies, marital status, living situation or, especially, political persuasion.

the interviewer is not asking you about your personal life, so don’t give an overly personal answer.

None of the above has anything to do with your future position. These kind of information could actually weaken your chances of landing the job if they rub the interviewer the wrong way. So, cut them out completely and go straight to the point.

Explain (but don’t recite) your CV

The recruiting team have already read and review your CV. So, when they asked you the famous interview question, they’re not asking you to remention  the information you’ve already given them. No, the question is more about expanding on and explaining the details they already have.

Also, you need to re-read your CV before you enter the interview room. Look for the skills and experience you’ve listed and try to find areas in which you can add some details  to these things. For example, if you write that you have experience in Marketing, you could explain what was your task. You might state how long you were in charge of the Marketing team   and what you learnt from that experience.

Pick out three of your best skills

Attract your interviewer with clear and concise facts about yourself. You want them to remember your best qualities when you walk out of the room. That’s why you should pick and limit the number of skills you list to three. when you answer the ‘Tell us about yourself’ interview question. Make sure that these skills are relevant to the role and show off what you can offer.

You can write down the skills on a piece of paper and make some general notes so you can be prepared with a structured answer.

Support what you say with evidence

It’s good to say that you’re a an organised person, but can you prove it? Remember your university days, when your teacher asked you to give evidence for every statement you made in an essay. This same process is required when it comes to answering this tricky interview question.

For every skill you mention, use an example to back it up. For instance, if you say that you know how to use Google Sheet, explain what you used it for and how it helped you in previous positions. You get bonus points here if you can make it as a ‘success story’ by pointing on how you met or exceeded goals in your previous role.

Keep calm and breath

Well, let’s be clear, trying to give all those information about yourself in 60 seconds is impossible. So, take a breath. Talking at a super fast speed is a sign of nervousness and falseness in some cases and you don’t want to give that impression for sure. As an advice, before you start talking, ask yourself: Are you calm? Are you relaxed? Having this moment of mindfulness could help you stay in control here.

Bonus tip: Practise makes perfect

Normally you should have few days before the interview date. Use this time wisely to prepare the answer. You can do this in front of the mirror or your partner/friends if you’re feeling comfortable with that. You may memorise that speech so you can say it at the drop of a hat. When you know what to say by heart, you’re ready.

Sample answer to the question

“I am a recent graduate from Benjamin Franklin University with major on Marketing.  I love using my talents to bring more business to a worthy product. I worked with the digital marketing team at Zee Technologies for nine months. During that time, my team and I presided over a period of 40% revenue growth. Before that at Lumya Market, I was able to increase conversions for email campaigns by 25% while preparing my . I’m ready for a bigger challenge, and I would thrive in a fast-growing tech firm like yours”.


 Handshaking after the end of the job interview

To summarize

Just remember, no matter what, an internship abroad today is an important step to a global. Treat each internship opportunity like a potential job and take your time to prepare as much as you can so you can shine during your interview. Remember to highlight your experiences and your skills, focus on your achievements, your abilities and the added value you bring to the company if being hired, be calm, be focus and be yourself as always.

Build your global career and unleash your potential by interning abroad with AIESEC. Sign up now at aiesec.org, fill your profile information and start applying for short-term or long-term internship opportunities in startups and companies around the world.

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