‘Tell Me About Yourself?’

Some of my most loyal readers are job seekers who have heard me speak at one of the three non-profit job seeker groups I support in NE OH. So, I thought you might find this piece interesting and potentially helpful. And please share it with anyone you know who is in a search or planning a career change.

Interviewers often ask this question first and look for brevity, focus, enthusiasm and alignment between what they’re seeking and what candidates highlight. Some admit that they often make their decision about the candidate after this answer.

Here’s a simple strategy to nail the answer and ‘Get them at hello!’

*  Answer it briefly, 90 seconds or less.

Stick to business. If interviewers want more personal details, they’ll ask. Or, ask what they want you to discuss up front.

Be enthusiastic, but credible and authentic. If your typical interpersonal style is dull and boring – fake the enthusiasm a little.

Yesterday – first 30 seconds: concise and enthusiastic summary of background credentials, skills and experiences. Highlight most current or relevant to what job description calls for.

*  Today – next 10 seconds: one or two sentences indicating why you are no longer at the previous employer. No emotion, no anger, no criticism – just the facts. If it was the result of a layoff, down-sizing, merger, etc. – mention any media coverage where appropriate.

Tomorrow – last 50 second: focus on your job search that connects with personal strengths, passions, and value proposition. Indicate why this current opportunity is such a good fit and match. End strong.

*  Silence from the interviewer is not an invitation to keep talking. They may me analyzing, taking notes, looking at resume, etc. After about six seconds of silence, ask if the interviewer wants any more details on the points just covered and play it from there.

This strategy has worked for countless job seekers. It takes time to keep it short, precise and spontaneous sounding, but it’s worth the effort. So, nail it and ‘get them at hello’ every time.