One of the things I was most surprised by when I got into the jobs business over a decade ago was the prevalence and practice of age discrimination in hiring right here in the USA. Oh, sure... we're not like some overseas markets where job ads explicitly demand youth, or a particular gender, or beauty(!), in the applicant, but there it is...
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:
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, and you win it for free!