Saturday, September 17, 2011

Tell me about yourself...

One of the common questions asked during an interview or when meeting your potential father-in-Law for the first time. “tell me about yourself?” Like the funny commercial...what makes Peter Peter?

On the surface this looks like an easy question but is often a question that sets the tone for the interview and forms an impression of you at the start of an interview.

Your response to this question does not give the interviewer a lot of information about your talents for this position but gives you a great opportunity to demonstrate your enthusiasm, confidence and energy and gets the attention of your interviewer. We all need a brief one or two minute ‘elevator talk” for cocktail parties, or interviews that gives brief picture of who you are.

Scott Ginsberg, The Nametag Guy," offers us a few pointers to prepare for the next time you are faced with this question. He suggests you try one of these;

  1. “I can summarize who I am in three words.” Grabs their attention immediately. Demonstrates your ability to be concise, creative and compelling.
  2. “The quotation I live my life by is…” Proves that personal development is an essential part of your growth plan. Also shows your ability to motivate yourself.
  3. “My personal philosophy is…” Companies hire athletes – not shortstops. This line indicates your position as a thinker, not just an employee.
  4. “People who know me best say that I’m…” This response offers insight into your own level of self-awareness.
  5. “Well, I googled myself this morning, and here’s what I found…” Tech-savvy, fun, cool people would say this. Unexpected and memorable.
  6. “My passion is…” People don’t care what you do – people care who you are. And what you’re passionate about is who you are. Plus, passion unearths enthusiasm.
  7. “When I was seven years old, I always wanted to be…” An answer like this shows that you’ve been preparing for this job your whole life, not just the night before.
  8. “If Hollywood made a move about my life, it would be called…” Engaging, interesting and entertaining.
  9. “Can I show you, instead of tell you?” Then, pull something out of your pocket that represents who you are. Who could resist this answer? Who could forget this answer?
  10. “The compliment people give me most frequently is…” Almost like a testimonial, this response also indicates self-awareness and openness to feedback.

These examples may not be for you, but you can prepare your own attention grabbing summary of who you are.

Ginsberg states the key to this is “ it’s about answering quickly, it’s about speaking creatively and it’s about breaking people’s patterns”

Develop your own response to “tell me about yourself” in your interview preparation and be ready to respond quickly to this question.

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