Ah, everyone’s favorite interview question.
The answer should be so simple. I mean, you know yourself, right? You lived your life. You know what you’ve done in your career. Piece. of. cake.
Except when it’s not.
It can be really overwhelming to sum up who you are in a concise, professional and impressive way in 1-2 minutes (Note: if you talk more than that….well, you already lost your shot at moving on to the second round).
So let’s make it stupid simple.
The first thing you have to think about is, “What do I want them to come away knowing about me in these first two minutes?” The second thing you have to think is, “Will they care?”
See, it’s great to tell them that you are a world traveler who by day works as a marketing professional – but does the hiring manager care? You need to tailor your messaging to the person on the other end. Put yourself in their shoes – think about what would convince them to take a chance on you. If they hired you, what could you contribute to the organization to propel their mission and/or revenue forward?
You should be thinking about all of these things as you break down the answer to this question in three easy steps:
1) Elevator Pitch
2) How you got to where you are
3) What you’re most excited about moving forward
1) This should essentially be a summary of what you’re planning on talking about. You should showcase what your transferable skills are, where you thrive best and your goal for the session. This should be no more than 30 seconds.
2) Start from your most past experience – breeze over the bits that aren’t as relevant and speak to the roles that are most impactful for the interviewer. The goal here is to tell a story that makes sense as to why you are interviewing for this specific position today. If you are a career changer, this is your opportunity to be very clear about where your transferable skills lie! I would always throw in what the highlight of your career has been as well.
3) You should always end this question focusing back on the company and role at hand. Using phrases like, “…Which leads me to why I’m so excited to talk with you today about XYZ position.” Or “What I’m most excited about, though, is the opportunity here at COMPANY…” Basically this is your time to flatter your audience. Genuine flatter, of course. The goal is to show that you are committed and excited at the opportunity that lies ahead.
Easy peasy right? Don’t overcomplicate it. Show your stuff and then be done. Let the interviewer move on to the next question and if they have questions about who you are – they’ll ask!
What other interview questions do you just feel STUMPED on? Write in the comments below and I’ll give you some feedback!
Have an upcoming interview and are scared out of your mind? Let’s scheme.
How to answer, “So, tell me about yourself”
July 24, 2017