“So tell me a little bit about yourself.” This statement is one of the most challenging questions asked in an interview. This is a critical question that a savvy interviewer could potentially ask you, and you better have an answer. This question, presented as a statement can be the difference between you getting the job and someone else getting the job.
Don’t blow this question off, prepare for it and have an answer. Your answer should be at least 1-2 minutes, even better 2-3 minutes. It should be a brief overview of “who you are and what you bring to the table.” Communicate your greatest strength and your strongest skills and abilities that you will bring to their organization. If you can tie it to the job description and the qualifications that were listed, all the better.
How well do you know yourself? How comfortable are you talking about yourself? It is imperative that you become an expert on the product you are selling. The product is YOU!
How do you prepare for this question you may ask? Spend some time reviewing your resume and cover letter. Think about your strongest qualities. Extrapolate words from your resume and cover letter that you have already used to describe yourself. It is ok to use the same words. In fact, I highly recommend it. Write your thoughts down and begin to formulate it into sentences and ultimately paragraphs.
Should you memorize it? Yes, you can do that, but it can not sound like you are reciting your answers in the interview. You must practice communicating this information until it becomes conversational. Remember you are giving the interviewer a fortaste of who they will be interviewing for the next 30-45 minutes.
Keep in mind you must operate from integrity throughout the interview process. Telling the truth about who you are is critical to your success in the interview process. Telling the truth is more important than lying to get the job. Do people lie? Absolutely, but I will recommend that you operate from integrity. In fact, I strongly suggest that integrity be at the forefront of your mind. A savvy interviewer will know if you are embellishing your answers. It is unacceptable to misrepresent yourself in an interview (or any other situation). If the person you are describing is not you, then keep working on your skills and abilities until you become that person.
When I coach people through their hiring process, I tell them “make sure the person the interviewer is talking to, is the same person that will show up for work on the first day.” Don’t embellish!
Here is a quick example that may get you started. One of the first things I say when given the opportunity to respond to this question, is
- “I have a tremendous amount of energy that will impact those I am leading, teaching or training. I enjoy working with people at every level in the organization. I am an excellent coach. I have experience in both operations management and in human resources. I have led teams with as many as 16 people and as few as 2 people. I enjoy teambuilding, problem-solving and working with diverse groups of people. I know my leadership will help those working for me go to new levels in their career. I am confident my experience in leadership development will strengthen the managers and leaders in your organziation.”
Your summary should be filled with descriptive words that give the interviewer a concise picture of “who you are and what you will bring to their organziation.”
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Tomorrow’s Question: What is your greatest weakness?