Job Interview – what to say when asked ”tell me about your CV”?

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009 - career transition, Job Interview, Job Interview Techniques, tutorial

Job Interview

365-142 MAR 9
Creative Commons License photo credit: Nils Geylen

Ruth asks: what is the best answer to the job interview question ”tell me about your CV”? This really threw me in my last interview and I didn’t know what to say! I got the job, but I have another interview on Tuesday. What should I say if they ask me again?

In answer:
Don’t worry: if you got the job you clearly answered it well!

It is one of a standard number of opening questions for an interviewer. After introductions, an outline of the buildings facilities and security/fire procedures, timetable and any questions; most will start with something easy they get you talking on, like your interests, your journey there, etc.

The next stage of the interview will be chatting about your career history. But just to give you an opportunity to make a mistake and admit you have left of a few jobs/indiscretions, they address this as “tell me about your CV?”

At this point, most applicants won’t have their CV in front of them – or if they do, and start reading it, the interviewer will ask them to put it on the desk and just chat them through it. If you can’t remember your own CV, or add a few things that are not there, then what does that say? It’s also the first point at which pressure can be subtly applied to the applicant.

HR people at this point will focus on the gaps between jobs. Firstly, to check chronology, and secondly to see if you have managed your career, or just jumped/applied between various opportunities that appealed to you. Employers want to see that there is some thought about career management, and a clear direction – these are things which they can then engage with to hold on to key staff.

Good Luck!

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