Avoid the Pitfalls of “THIS” Interview Question

“So, tell me about yourself?” This question may seem unimportant. So many people pass over it without much thought or they start to talk about where they are from and what they currently or most recently did for work. However, you could be missing a really important opportunity.

Suzy Welch, CNBC Contributor and best selling author, recently published a video on how to answer that pesky question, “Tell me about yourself” during the job interview process. Welch says that your the potential employer is looking to see, “maturity and authenticity” showing that you are “self-aware and empathetic.” She suggests telling the story of your life while relating it back to the job.

In my experience working as both a recruiter and a career coach, most interviewers and employers actually aren’t paying that much attention to the answer to this question, but are rather using it to establish rapport (a huge miss on their part, if you ask me). But even if they aren’t paying that much attention you need an answer and why not have an answer that makes you stand out, something that makes them remember you.

Marguerite Ward in her article, How to Answer the Job Interview Question: ‘Tell Me About Yourself’, says to answer the question using your own personal story while keeping the job you are applying for in mind. Ward says:

While it may sound like the hiring manager has asked for your life story, they don’t want to hear a long-winded, aimless tale. And they already have the bulk of your professional narrative in front of them, in the form of your resume.

For example, if you are interviewing for a job in sales, tell the hiring manager how you ran lemonade stands when you were a kid, sold products in college or pitched a new project at your last job.

 

How do do it right

In my own company we hired our Chief Operations Officer, Kyle Kalloo, in part, because he answered this question with a story about how he got in trouble for running a pretend business from the first three rows of his classroom. He, of course, was the boss, and the rest of the students were labelled as Chief of Staff, Receptionist, Sales and Manager.

In Kalloo’s answer, we saw his sense of humour but also an important part of his values system and upbringing. All of these qualities played well to the job he was interviewing for. I still remember this story, two years later!

 

Recommendation

Come up with a 30 to 60 second elevator speech to answer this question, but uniquely to the type of job you are applying for, an answer that makes you stand out. In your elevator pitch provide some insight to your values system and your ability to succeed in this job (without actually talking about the job). Tell your story with the job you are interviewing for in mind.

 

Christopher is the CEO and Founder of Change My Life Coaching —  a fast growing whole-life coaching company, and the only one of it’s kind.  He is also the author of “Go Beyond Passion: Discover Your Dream Job”. Christopher spent 15+ years working in the corporate world with a plethora of industries and companies. His focus was primarily in planning, strategy, and leadership of change management and communication. Christopher is a Certified Master Coach Practitioner (CMCP), trainer and facilitator, and a passionate public speaker who truly cares about the success of each and every single person he comes into contact with. You can reach him at Christopher@ChangeMyLifeCoaching.ca.

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