When you are interviewing for a job in accounting or finance, eventually the hiring manager will say something like: “Tell me about yourself.” The openness of this question can sometimes throw off candidates. Yet given the ubiquity of this question, you need a solid strategy for answering this question. Hiring managers respond well to a carefully thought out response. Here’s how to answer this tricky interview question.

Shape the Narrative of the Interview

One reason that interviewers often open with this question is because they need you to refresh their memory about who you are. They don’t have the details of your resume memorized and know very little about you. You have to shape the narrative surrounding your work experience and shape how the hiring manager perceives you. By highlighting the experiences and milestones you want them to focus on, you can also influence the follow-up questions they ask.

Provide Background for Your Resume

The main reason hiring managers ask this question is because they want to see if your professional background fits with the expectations for the role you have applied for. They want to understand how well you performed in your past job and if that success will transfer into the new job. Turn your response into an elevator pitch highlighting your best experiences and accomplishments and communicating to the hiring manager how you can contribute to their company in a positive way.

Explain Your Career Decisions

Hiring managers are interested in what you have done with your career so far, but they are also interested in the motivations behind these career decisions. Your resume covers your career milestones. This is your chance to explain the why behind these milestones. What were your goals and what were you trying to accomplish with these decisions?

Make Yourself Standout

The reality is most candidates will spend about a minute responding to this question. If you spend 3-4 minutes answering this question, you will help yourself stand out. The key is to elaborate. In a crowded candidate pool, you want to do whatever can to make yourself memorable. You want a pitch that will hook the hiring manager and make them pay attention.

When you interview for an accounting or finance position the hiring manager will likely say something along the lines of: “Tell me about yourself.” You want to deliver a strategic response to this interview question; one that provides context for your resume, explains your career milestones, elaborates on the motivations behind your career decisions, and allows you to start the interview on the right foot.


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