So, Why Don’t You Tell Me About Yourself?
by Linda Matias of www.careerstrides.com
“So, why don’t you tell me about yourself?” is the most
frequently asked interview question. It’s a question that most
interviewees expect and the one they have the most difficulty answering.
Though one could answer this open-ended question in a myriad of ways,
the key to answering this question or any other interview question is to
offer a response that supports your career objective. This means that
you shouldn’t respond with comments about your hobbies, spouse, or
extra curricular activities. Trust me, interviewers aren’t interested.
Interviewers use the interview process as a vehicle to eliminate your
candidacy. Every question they ask is used to differentiate your skills,
experience, and personality with that of other candidates. They want to
determine if what you have to offer will mesh with the organization’s
mission and goals.
If answered with care, your response to the question, “So, why don’t
you tell me about yourself?” could compliment the interviewers needs
as well as support your agenda. This is a question you should be
prepared to answer as opposed to attempting to “wing it”.
Follow the four easy steps outlined below to ensure your response
will grab the interviewers attention.
1. Provide a brief introduction. Introduce attributes that are key to
the open position.
Sample introduction: During my 10 years’ of experience as a sales
manager, I have mastered the ability to coach, train, and motivate sales
teams into reaching corporate goals.
2. Provide a career summary of your most recent work history. Your
career summary is the “meat” of your response, so it must support
your job objective and it must be compelling. Keep your response limited
to your current experience. Don’t go back more than 10 years.
Sample career summary: Most recently, at The Widget Corporation, I
was challenged with turning around a stagnant territory that ranked last
in sales in the Northeastern region. Using strategies that have worked
in the past, I developed an aggressive sales campaign that focused on
cultivating new accounts and nurturing the existing client base. The
results were tremendous. Within six months my sales team and I were able
to revitalize the territory and boost sales by 65%.
3. Tie your response to the needs of the hiring organization. Don’t
assume that the interviewer will be able to connect all the dots. It is
your job as the interviewee to make sure the interviewer understands how
your experiences are transferable to the position they are seeking to
Sample tie-in: Because of my proven experience in leading sales
teams, Craig Brown suggested I contact you regarding your need for a
sales manager. Craig filled me in on the challenges your sales
department is facing.
4. Ask an insightful question. By asking a question you gain control
of the interview. Don’t ask a question for the sake of asking. Be sure
that the question will engage the interviewer in a conversation. Doing
so will alleviate the stress you may feel to perform.
Sample question: What strategies are currently underway to increase
sales and morale within the sales department?
There you have it – a response that meets the needs of the
interviewer AND supports your agenda.
When broken down into manageable pieces, the question, “So, tell me
about yourself?” isn’t overwhelming. In fact, answering the question
effectively gives you the opportunity to talk about your strengths,
achievements, and qualifications for the position. So take this golden
opportunity and run with it!
Certified in all three areas of the job search—Certified Interview
Coach ™ (CIC), Job & Career Transition Coach (JCTC), and Nationally
Certified Resume Writer (NCRW)—Linda Matias is qualified to assist you
in your career transition, whether it be a complete career makeover,
interview preparation, or resume assistance. She is also the author of
"How to Say It: Job Interviews" (Prentice Hall, August 2007). You can
contact Linda Matias at linda @ careerstrides.com or visit her Website
www.careerstrides.com for additional career advice and to view
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