They can bring you to your knees: Vague, open questions designed to show interviewers your true self. To succeed in the interview, you’ll need to craft a compelling story about your skills and experience with every interview question you answer. And it should be done so in a way that demonstrates your track record of success driving results related to the hiring manager’s needs.
That’s a tall order to fill.
Recruiters and business experts agree: Job interviews are tough, even for professionals with a great deal to offer. Author and workplace expert Lynn Taylor reports that “while some of these questions may seem as if they’re designed to put you on the defensive, the intent is usually to evaluate candidate responses on multiple levels — not just at face value. Hiring managers can discern a great deal about job seekers with thought provoking, challenging questions.” One of the tricky leadership interview questions organizations often use is the “Tell me about yourself” question.
Here’s how you can navigate the tough job interview question, “Tell me about yourself,” with ease:
- Give a high-level overview. Prepare a response that gets right to the point. Business Insider advises a three-part strategy: Provide a condensed version of your work history; summarize specific achievements (and highlight how they impacted the bottom line); and wrap it up with what you want to accomplish next. Keep in mind that your job interview answers should be relevant to the potential job-at-hand.
- Keep it focused. Avoid telling your life story – or even your entire work history. That’s not what interviewers want to know when they ask this question. Here’s a proven job interview tip: Start with where you are now – your current employer, responsibilities and contributions. Then, show where you came from, or how your work experience led to the current position – and more responsibility. End with how you see your value and expertise contributing to the current position. The final “story” you create should highlight your overall value as a contributor to the organization.
- Turn the tables. Another approach involves spinning the question to uncover more details about the role. According to Forbes, “You want to find out where the pain is, because once you’ve got the hiring manager talking about his or her pain, the conversation can go to a completely different place.” With this insight, you can craft your answers to reveal how your skills and expertise will help alleviate this pain. From this position, you’re a consultant, offering sage advice about how to tackle the problem. For example, after sharing about your marketing background, ask the interviewer how the company’s own marketing philosophy drives the sales process. Then, piggyback on their answer by revealing how you’d improve or further enhance that process, based on your previous work history and results.
Regardless of the way you choose to tackle the dreaded “Tell me about yourself” question, consider the perspective and needs of the hiring manager and hone your answer accordingly. Craft your response to ensure the interviewer clearly sees how you add value to their organization and that you are well equipped to address their needs.
For more Leadership Interview Questions: Top 10 Executive Interview Questions.
And be sure to end your interview with thought provoking questions: Powerful Questions to Ask during your Job Interview.
Author: Joanne Loberg of JL Careers Inc. is a Certified Executive Coach and Internationally Certified Career Management Professional. She specializes in coaching professional and executive clients and providing career advancement strategies. Copyright JL Careers Inc. All rights reserved.
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