How2Answer: "Tell me about yourself."
When I was recruiting, there were times that I interviewed up to 16 people per day--that's A LOT of candidates that blur together. "Tell me about yourself" was the question that separated one candidate from the next and helped me remember which ones I wanted to continue interviewing. Here are 3 ways to approach this critical question:
Don't regurgitate your resume. The wrong approach is to answer this question by repeating the information I've already read on your resume. The intent of this question is to get to know YOU, and you are more than your resume! Summarize your background in 1-2 sentences, and instead of going into details of your work, talk about the relevant skills you gained from the top problems you solved. Be sure to share your career goals and types of problems you enjoy solving, which should also highlight your strengths and why others would enjoy working with you.
Practice, practice, practice! There's a huge difference in delivery when you've said your "Tell me about yourself" out loud before the interview or if you're saying it out loud for the first time during your interview. Practicing your pitch beforehand will help you keep your thoughts concise while increasing your confidence level the day of.
Include things about you not found on the resume. With candidates potentially blurring together, sharing interesting insights about you not on the resume will help you be memorable. And don't just say that you love to travel--explain how travel has shaped you into a better candidate for the job.
Good luck in your interviews, and remember--it's all about confidently communicating you brand!