Career Quote of the Day
You know, there is nothing I like more than to help people prepare for job interviews. We have all blown interviews because of an off day despite the fact that we really know we can be great at the job. So I wanted to talk about the #1 question I get from my readers which is, ‘How do I answer the tell me about yourself questions?’ Everybody gets freaked out about it and nobody really knows how to answer it. They think that they are supposed to talk about their background and their experience and where they grew up and give the hiring manager all this other back story.
Behind The Interview Table
Here’s what’s really going on in a hiring manager’s mind: They have probably done a phone screen with you or a phone interview with you a few week before or maybe a week before. They took some notes on what you said on your resume. They thought that you were a job seeker, talked to a few other people and then decided to call you back to bring you in for another interview. Yay!!! That’s great. Now, you come in and they haven’t actually looked at your resume in between the time, so although you have been incredibly excited, preparing, studying, preparing your answers, looking at information about the company, they haven’t. Chances are they are understaffed and they are just trying to do their jobs just to keep everything moving along until they hire someone for the job.
The Interview Ice Breaker
So you should prepare yourself to answer this question the moment you walk in the interview. The first thing they are going to ask you the questions, they are going to say ‘tell me about yourself’, and really all that it is, is an interview icebreaker question. They just want you to start to talk about your experiences and you just need to focus on why you’re a great job seeker for the job. What is it in your background that made you look at the job description and you say, “Perfect. This is going to be a great job for me, this is exactly what I need to do because I have experience in this, this, and this.” What went thru your mind when you saw that job posting? That’s the best way to answer that question.
Another way to think about answering ‘tell me about yourself’, the an interview icebreaker is to think of it like a movie trailer. So, you know how when you watch a movie trailer they will have the action scene where a lot of stuff is getting blown up and then they will have the other scene where the damsel is in distress and the guy has to rescue her and all that stuff. As you are watching the trailer they are giving you the enticing parts of the movie and you think “Oh, I want to see that part, I want to see that part, oh, I want to see more about that.” It’s the same thing in ‘tell me about yourself’. You want to give them enough so they can start a conversation with you, so kind of entice them about details of your experience and they can say “Tell me more about X, Y, and Z.”
Your 3 Commercial
As a hiring manager, I never wanted to look like a loser and read the client job seeker’s resume in front of them. That was just the kiss of death. You feel like a moron when you have to do that. So, the best thing you can do as a job seeker when confronted with this interview icebreaker is to give them background, a 3 second commercial and give them experience that relates to what you want to do.