Your 1st sentence should be an introduction to who you are professionally, an overview statement that shows off your strengths and gives a little sense of your personality too.
This is not easy to do gracefully on the fly. It pays to prepare a bit in advance.
To help you better I will give you 2 examples, one is a good example and the other one can be considered as a bad example.
So good example is:
“I’m an innovative HR manager with 8 years of experience managing all aspects of the HR function — from recruiting to training to benefits — for Fortune 500 companies.”
This is concisely summarizing the diverse background of the candidate that's the reason it is good.
Now, bad example:
“Well, I grew up in Cincinnati. As a child, I originally wanted to be a fireman, then later became interested in dinosaurs. I excelled in the science from early on, placing first in my fourth-grade science fair. Funny story about that is… Bla bla bla”
So, there is way too much information and we don't require that. This is considered Bad.
Now, we come to the 2nd component which is:
So good example is:
“I have spent the last 6 years developing my skills as a customer service manager for so and so company, where I have won several performance awards and been promoted twice.
See, the emphasis here is on experience, enthusiasm, and proof of performance.
Now let's look at an example that can be considered as bad:
“My first job was as an administrative assistant for so and so company at so and so place. I learned a great deal in that role that served me well over the next 12 years. At the time, I wasn’t sure about my career path, so I next took a position selling real estate. It only lasted for six months, but I sure enjoyed it.”
Now, why it is considered as bad. See, nobody cares about your 1st job 12 years ago. You are starting with the least impressive part of your career and the interviewer is likely to tune out before you get to the good stuff.
Now we come to the 3rd component, which is,
So good example can be:
“Although I love my current role, I feel I’m now ready for a more challenging assignment and this position really excites me.”
Very concise and positive.
Now another example that can be considered as bad:
“Because of the company’s financial problems and my boss’s issues, I’m worried about my job’s stability and decided to start looking for new opportunities.”
See, never be too candid or you risk coming across as negative. This answer also makes it seem like you’re interested in a job, any job — not this job in particular.
Remember: You will have time later to walk through your resume in more detail and fill in any gaps. Don’t try to squeeze in too much information or your interviewer will start to tune you out.
"A good interview is a Dialogue, not a Monologue." Keep it concise and give your interviewer the chance to dive in and ask questions.
So, next time you’re faced with the dreaded question, “Tell me about yourself…”, try these: