"Describe yourself!", This question is almost invariably asked in the majority of interviews, and just as invariably answered dismally! What does one say and why do we always seem so flustered by the question? Because we have always been taught by our parents and respected elders not to boast or talk about ourselves.
With a childhood full of such repressive advice, its not surprising that the majority of us begin the answer with a stammer and a blush, almost instantly changing from flash to foolish and ruining our chances of employment.
So what do we say? Frankly, just answer the question as it comes. Most disconcerted candidates dread this question and begin with a silly "Basically, my name is ...". Why don't we realize that our CV is there right in front of the interviewer, and he knows this already.
By repeating the stuff that fills our CV, we just demonstrate that we are an 'in-the-box' kind of person, with little if any skill in innovation and presentation.
Actually, a question of this kind is an ideal way to plug in everything we want to say about ourselves that we had leave out of the CV. If you have attended a premier institution, say that the institution taught you much more than the degree it awarded you, mention people who influenced you, talk about the books you like reading, your hobbies and your other interests.
Talk about your strengths; perhaps mention an instance when you used your conflict resolution skills or selling skills or whatever. But make certain that it does not sound like blowing your trumpet. Mention these instances as learning.
Tall about your weaknesses, but make sure that they are 'positive' weaknesses. For instance you could say that that you sometimes pay more attention to detail than is warranted. You can openly confess a tendency to be impatient with team members who cannot carry their own weight, or who cannot contribute sufficiently.
But first, think today what you want to say and practice. Remember, if you hesitate about yourself, your interviewers will doubt whether you fit their bill of requirements. After all, if you don't know about you, who does?