“So…tell me about yourself.”
It looks handy because it feels like a free pass: no hypothetical scenario, no request for real-life examples, no technical challenge, no longer even the dreaded “What’s your largest flaw?” Just…tell me anything.
But it solely looks simply. Receiving such an open invitation invitations extra peril than opportunities, due to the fact you’re given no framework for your response — simply a blank, clue-free canvas. Your thought may additionally have myriad inner considerations:
Should I inform my existence story?
Should I run via my job history?
Should I share my interests and favorite movies?
Should I speak about my ultimate job or boss?
The scenario is comparable to a giant enterprise assembly in which the chief suggests “going round the room” and having all and sundry “say a little something.” Next component you know, the assembly is half of over and Gus is nevertheless yammering on.
I regularly see this troublesome scenario in my point-making training and workshops: speaking besides a point. Either audio system doesn’t be aware of how to make their point, or they confuse factors for mere concepts, themes, facts, or notions.
What your prospective corporation most wishes from you is a factor (“I can nice fill the wants of this role”), no longer a e book document (“All about me”). But how do you get from the interviewer’s large query to a unique and tailor-made proof of that point? It begins with no longer losing your time — or theirs.
Be More Than Your Bio
Nailing the “Tell me about yourself” query begins with realizing that your interviewer already is aware of your job records thanks to your resume. Performing a monologue primarily based on your LinkedIn web page is pointless, but job candidates do it all the time. Remember that interviews are extra about making sturdy fits than proving qualifications. If you weren’t qualified, you wouldn’t be in the room.
Career strategist John Lees recommends drawing close to the interview like an audition. “Imagine your interviewers walking a film in their heads where you are working with their team, offering to their boss, speak me to clients or shareholders,” he says.
This is additionally now not the time to divulge private statistics about your life, like your household life, latest vacation, and puppetry obsession. That can come later, when the interview is winding down. For now, take the biggest benefit of this early second by means of making a giant first impression. (Even if you each love puppets, that will solely go so a way in getting you the job).
Making your factor in this context is a two-step system that will require some homework. First, become aware of what the employer specially wishes from this role. Second, personalize your response to function yourself as the fantastic man or woman to fill that need.
Identify the Need
Identifying the organization’s want potential, scrutinizing the job description like a treasure map and extracting its secrets. Phrases like “required,” “must have,” and “highly desired” suggest what they say, so spotlight these in your planning. Items similarly down the listing or labeled “preferred” may additionally be much less important, even if you meet these standards. Pay precise interest to gadgets underneath headers like “What We Are Looking For” and “What We Need.” Those are for sure direct hits.
In some cases, your abilities can shape a job description bullet even if your job function or title does not. “Help your profile upward jab to the pinnacle through articulating how your cutting-edge competencies are like minded to a job posting even if it goes by means of any other name,” writes Tammy Johns, CEO of Strategy and Talent Corporation. “For example, purchaser carrier representatives are like minded with mortgage interviewers, resort desk clerks, billing clerks, and receptionists.”
The tone of a job description can be telling as well. Descriptions that are written cleverly, sound personal, or come out properly and say “sense of humor preferred” point out a administrative center the place human beings like to have fun. By contrast, a very formal job posting would possibly point out a conservative place of job the place human beings are predicted to be serious about the work.
Next, go the organization’s website, click on “About Us,” and train yourself on their company way of life and core values. Do they normally discuss getting the job finished and serving the patron or assisting personnel and merchandising work/life balance?
Pulling from these two sources, write down the three private attributes they’re most searching for — are looking for out characteristics like “self-starter,” “team player,” or “interest in healthcare,” now not skills like MBA and “five years in a associated field.”
Use these statistics to entire the sentence: “They’re searching for any person who…” and write it down.
Fill the Need
Now trade the wording barely to “I’m any person who…” or “At work, my method is…”
Pick a story from your expert lifestyles that illustrates you filling that precise want in some other job, ideally one in which the putting of your story fits the putting of the putting of the commercial enterprise to which you’re applying. Feel free to enhance the small print to improve the match, however don’t fabricate the essential elements. Assume they can odor a lie or gross exaggeration from a mile away, whether or not they can or can’t.
Practice Makes Precision
Put these two portions collectively — your “I’m anyone who…” and your story — and exercise announcing them out loud, as if in response to a question. Because this is practice, you’ll be tempted to mumble the answer, however don’t take the lazy road. Practicing out loud is key due to the fact this is now not a intellectual exercise; it is a bodily one: you want your thinking and mouth to work in live performance to carry an idea.
Putting It All Together
Let’s check this out in a fake-world scenario: You’re making use of for a position supervising client carrier for a predominant cable agency known as CableAble. You located on the CableAble internet site that top notch purchaser carrier is a hallmark of their brand, and that “support” is one of their Core Values. In the job description, you noticed that “strong conversation skills” was once especially preferred.
On the day of the interview, you sit down and at some early factor are asked:
“So, inform me about yourself.”
By now, you are aware of the incorrect answer. Here’s a most beneficial one:
“I’ve usually been a human being’s person. Even in school, I was once happiest speaking to and listening to humans — even strangers — particularly if I should guide them in some way. That’s why I was once a Resident Advisor, why I labored for years in the carrier industry, and why I selected a profession in client service. It’s additionally one of the motives I in reality admire how CableAble treats its clients with respect, compassion, and open ears. Lately, my expert aim has been to assist others examine and improve sturdy patron provider skills. It brings collectively my lifelong pastime in assisting others with my ardour for patron relations.”
The principal motive a reply like this is best is due to the fact you’ve matched who you are and your non-public story with the company’s manufacturer and essential need, all whilst answering the query directly.
Being in a position to articulate the organization’s want and inserting yourself in that spot with a applicable story must do extra than simply widen eyes in the room. It must additionally put your head and shoulders above the different applicants. Why? Because, not like them, you didn’t simply inform them about you; you pointed out why you rely to them.