How to Answer the So Tell Me about Yourself Question

Today’s Tip from the Harvard Business Review—I most certainly agree

How to Answer One of the Hardest Job Interview Questions

“So…tell me about yourself.” Although this job interview question seems simple, answering it is anything but. Should you share your life story? Your job history? It’s tempting to turn your LinkedIn page into a monologue, but don’t — the interviewer already has your résumé. Instead, talk about what the company really needs from the role you’re vying for. Before the interview, scrutinize the job description for phrases like “required,” “must have,” and “highly desired.” Go to the About Us section of the company’s website and read up on the corporate culture and core values. Then think about how to connect your background and interests to what the company is looking for. Practice your response so that you’re ready when you walk into the interview room. You want to sound like your career has been building to this role and you are the best person to fill it.

This tip is adapted from “How to Respond to ‘So, Tell Me About Yourself’ in a Job Interview,” by Joel Schwartzberg

ONE REASON WHY YOUR INTERVIEWING MIGHT NOT BE SUCCESSFUL

Eons ago, when I had a particularly hateful job, I had what seemed like 52 interviews in 52 weeks until the boss whom I had written up for sexual harassment laid me off.  I was eminently qualified for the jobs where I interviewed.  I had the experience, had a Master’s degree and Senior Level Certification but no offers.  As someone who interviewed candidates for a living, I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong or what was wrong with me.  A retained search recruiter friend told me that I was going for jobs for which I was over qualified and that firms like to compare their ideal candidate with the top of the heap (but not hire them) and were merely using me as a measuring post.  The more I interviewed the more my self-confidence decreased and the lower down on the rung were the jobs I chose.  It was a self-defeating cycle.  So if this reminds you of anything you are experiencing, try to put on your big person pants and go seek the job you deserve.

Grounding Yourself During an Interview

The following is from the always wonderful Harvard Business Review and can be applied to interviewing.  When you have a phone screen, you might be able to walk around.  During an in-person interview, you will have to use the place your feet firmly on the floor portion of the suggestion. 

March 15, 2018

 

Stay Calm During a Tough Conversation by Grounding Yourself

 

Having a tense conversation brings up a lot of negative emotions, leaving you feeling like an active volcano. To prevent an outburst and stay in control of your emotions, physically ground yourself in your environment. One of the best ways to do this is to stand up and walk around, which activates the thinking part of your brain. If you and your counterpart are seated at a table, and suddenly standing up seems awkward, you might say, “I feel like I need to stretch. Mind if I walk around a bit?” If that doesn’t feel comfortable, you can do small physical things like crossing two fingers or placing your feet firmly on the floor and noticing what it feels like. Mindfulness experts call these actions “anchoring.” Whatever you can do to focus on your physical presence and your senses will help you stay grounded and get through that tough conversation.

From “How to Control Your Emotions During a Difficult Conversation,” by Amy Gallo