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You know it’s coming.
It’s the most feared question during any job interview: Do you think I would look good in a cowboy hat?
Just kidding. The real question is: Can you tell me about yourself?
Blecch. What a boring, vague, open-ended question. Who likes answering that?
I know. I’m with you. But unfortunately, hiring managers and executive recruiters ask the question. Even if you’re not interviewing and you’re out networking in the community — you need to be ready to hear it and answer it. At all times.
Now, before I share a list of 10 memorable answers, consider the two essential elements behind the answers:
The medium is the message. The interviewer cares less about your answer to this question and more about the confidence, enthusiasm and passion with which you answer it.
The speed of the response is the response. The biggest mistake you could make is pausing, stalling or fumbling at the onset of your answer, thus demonstrating a lack of self-awareness and self-esteem.
Next time you’re faced with the dreaded, “Tell me about yourself…” question, try these:
- “I can summarize who I am in three words.” Grabs their attention immediately. Demonstrates your ability to be concise, creative and compelling.
- “The quotation I live my life by is…” Proves that personal development is an essential part of your growth plan. Also shows your ability to motivate yourself.
- “My personal philosophy is…” Companies hire athletes – not shortstops. This line indicates your position as a thinker, not just an employee.
- “People who know me best say that I’m…” This response offers insight into your own level of self-awareness.
- “Well, I googled myself this morning, and here’s what I found…” Tech-savvy, fun, cool people would say this. Unexpected and memorable.
- “My passion is…” People don’t care what you do – people care who you are. And what you’re passionate about is who you are. Plus, passion unearths enthusiasm.
- “When I was seven years old, I always wanted to be…” An answer like this shows that you’ve been preparing for this job your whole life, not just the night before.
- “If Hollywood made a move about my life, it would be called…” Engaging, interesting and entertaining.
- “Can I show you, instead of tell you?” Then, pull something out of your pocket that represents who you are. Who could resist this answer? Who could forget this answer?
- “The compliment people give me most frequently is…” Almost like a testimonial, this response also indicates self-awareness and openness to feedback.
Keep in mind that these examples are just the opener. The secret is thinking how you will follow up each answer with relevant, interesting and concise explanations that make the already bored interviewer look up from his stale coffee and think, “Wow! That’s the best answer I’ve heard all day!”
Ultimately it’s about answering quickly, it’s about speaking creatively and it’s about breaking people’s patterns.
I understand your fear with such answers. Responses like these are risky, unexpected and unorthodox. And that’s exactly why they work.
Otherwise you become (yet another) non-entity in the gray mass of blah, blah, blah.
You’re hireable because of your answers. When people ask you to tell them about yourself, make them glad they asked.
Let me ask you this: How much time did you dedicate this week to becoming more interesting? Let me suggest this: For the list called, “61 Stupid Things to Stop Doing Before It’s Too Late,” send an e-mail to me (firstname.lastname@example.org.) , and you win it for free!
Scott Ginsberg is an Author, Speaker, Publisher, Artist and Mentor. This post was originally was published in TheLadders.com
Photo courtesy of The Guardian.
Have some tips on how to answer the inevitable, So Tell Me About Yourself Question? Spill below.
Enough is enough.
We don’t need more of most things.
IN FACT: More has the power to work against you.
And if you’re not careful, the results could be disastrous for you, your business, your people, your brand and your life.
1. The more you plan, the less you ship. People are obsessed with planning for three reasons: First, it preserves their sense of control. Second, it underwrites the illusion that they know what they’re doing. And third, it gives them a chance to make something perfect.
Here’s the reality: You’re rarely in control, you don’t need to know what you’re doing and finished is the new perfect. Planning is nothing but procrastination in disguise. A distraction in a miniskirt. Failure doesn’t come from poor planning – it comes from the timidity to proceed. What are you waiting for?
2. The more you script, the less you engage. I once had a client ask me if I would be giving my speech from a script or a teleprompter. I told her neither. She asked what I would be using instead, and I said my head. Apparently none of their speakers had ever done that before. But I insisted.
Three weeks later, I earned a standing ovation. Interesting. That’s the reality about human interaction: People engage when you communicate from a place of honesty, respect and in-the-moment awareness. When was the last time you went off script?
3. The more you bitch, the less you inspire. Complaining is not a leadership style. It’s the opposite of ownership and the enemy of execution. If you want to breathe life into people, you’ve got to infect them with something that matters.
For example, the vision of what they can contribute. For example, the mirror that reflects their brilliance right back to them. For example, the belief that they possess the resources to do something great. That’s inspiration. Sucking people into a vortex of negativity because you’re insecure about your own life situation isn’t. Do you complain about the wind, hope the wind will stop or adjust your sails?
4. The more you settle, the less you become. There are three kinds of people: Those who make you less than you are, those who keep you where you are and those who push you to what you might become. If your personal and professional lives are populated with anything but the latter, you’re finished.
Settling is a silent epidemic. Surround yourself with people who challenge and inspire you, and delete the rest. You’ll have fewer friends, but they’ll be better ones. How many of your friends shouldn’t be your friends?
5. The more you fix, the less you help. Walt Whitman once said, “Not I, not anyone else, can travel that road for you. You must travel it for yourself.” Next time someone you love comes to you, remember: They don’t need advice. They don’t want suggestions. They don’t like answering questions. And they can’t stand when you try to solve their problems in two minutes or less.
Just give them a hug, say you love them and stop trying to explain the meaning of the universe. A little restraint goes a long way. Otherwise your desire to fix becomes a barrier to being helpful. Are you responding like a screwdriver or puppy dog?
6. The more you spam, the less you love. Flooding people’s lives with interruptions they didn’t ask for isn’t marketing – it’s insulting. Instead of bothering people into buying from you, learn to lead with respect, and ask for permission. You’ll earn the right to speak to people with a voice that’s anticipated, personal and relevant.
And the best part is, they’ll actually listen to you. But it all begins with your daily gift to the world, the accumulation of which builds a huge surplus of goodwill. That’s not marketing – that’s love. How will you create a trail of breadcrumbs that leads people back to the paid work?
7. The more you wait, the less you matter. The only people who count are the ones who choose to. Mattering is the incidental consequence of the intentional commitment to fulfill your whole capacity for living. And it’s something that can start happening today.
All you need to do is decide. That you’re going to matter. That you’re going to make meaning. And that you’re going to take responsibility for doing something significant. Otherwise the curse of being inconsequential will feel like an earthquake to the heart. Are you still waiting to matter?
REMEMBER: Enough is enough.
More isn’t always the answer.
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What are you still convinced you need more of?
Scott Ginsberg is an Author, Speaker, Publisher, Artist and Mentor. This was originally published on his own blog.
What do you need less of? Share below.