Interviewing for a new job can be one of the most stressful and nerve-wracking experiences in life. Many times, preparing for an interview is a "head game" in that we psych ourselves out of putting our best foot forward and bringing a true representation of ourselves to the table before we even arrive for the interview. I would submit some thoughts that may help you bring your best 'self' to your next interivew.
First, remember that you don't need to grovel for a job. Even if you really need employment, it's important to set your frame of mind against the bigger picture. It's not the end of the world if you don't get THIS job. Set your thoughts in such a way that you remember that YOU are interviewing this organization just as THEY are interviewing you. Mentally, this will help you feel on equal footing with the hiring manager, and allow you to be relaxed, poised and truthful to who you are and what you are looking for as the next step in your career.
Next, think about all the work you have done thus far to get the interview. In other words, think about the fact that this organization must already see some potential in you in order to have scheduled time to meet with you. You meet to job qualifications, you have the experience and skill set required for the position, your references are solid and reputable. In short, you are a fit for the organization. Remembering all the hurdles you have overcome in order to get the interview will help you feel positive and confident as you enter the meeting, and help to put your mind in a relaxed state that will allow you to accurately represent yourself and what you can offer the organization.
Remember that the "tell us about yourself" question is not really about YOU. In a great article by Carole Martin on Monster.com, she reminds readers that the interviewer is really not interested in your personal life, as much as this question seems to convey. Remember that the interviewer, whether it's a hiring manager, a small practice administrator or the business owner themselves, has a job to do: fill a void in the organization. The "tell us about yourself" question is a wonderful opportunity to set the tone of the interview in your favor, and reassure the interviewer that you may be exactly what they are looking for. Martin gives three great tips for answering this question:
mention skills and experiences that are pertinent to the job
share successes in an upbeat manner
conclude with your current situation and goals
For example, your response to "Tell me about yourself," might be:
"I've really enjoyed working in customer service for over eight years now. Some of my highest reviews from customers have been after I've successfully resolved their complaint or issue to their satisfaction, and it makes me feel good to be able to help people in that way. I'm genuinely a friendly person, and I think this comes across in my interactions with people when they are upset or frustrated. The company I'm currently with is small, and I would like to be able to use my skill set in a larger organization with more opportunity for me to advance and help people."
Yes, you've told them about yourslef, but in a way that has made you relevant to the organization and their need, and positioned you as a potential asset.
Finally, remember that just because this organization is interested, you also have needs and goals for your own life and career, and this position may not be the best fit for you. Respect yourself and be true to your goals and needs. If an interviewer is asking questions like, "What can you bring to the table?" and "Why do you think you're a good fit?" answer respectfully by reminding them of your skill set and experience, and then ask, "What opportunities can your organization offer me in the way of professional development?" or "What opportunities can I expect to use my experiences and skills that are greater than my current employer?" Remember that it's ok to seek a job in a workplace that fits your personality and lifestyle. If you are made to feel 'less-than' or subservant during the interview, this is likely the tone of the organization, and it may not be the best fit for you.
In conclusion, remember that you have value. Your skill set and experiences are something that an organization needs, and something that will be of benefit to thier bottom line. Remember that YOU can bring successful outcomes to an organization, and they should WANT you to be part of their team. If they don't it's not a good fit for you anyway, and in the end you're better off moving on.