This week’s question: Tell Me About Yourself.
This question catches people off guard because it’s so broad–they don’t know where to begin, they ramble, sometimes they even take it literally and tell their life story (“I grew up in a small town…”).
In this spontaneous “before” answer, the interviewee does not make any of the typical mistakes. It’s a great start! She gives a good overview of her resume content and she sticks to describing her professional self (and doesn’t launch into her life story as so many do when caught off guard by this question).
The problem: there’s too much focus on the student self and too much repetition of resume content. Make it about the job! And prove you have the necessary qualifications by providing specific examples.
In the prepared “after” answer to the same question, the interviewee jumps right in and talks about her qualifications for the job.
She fills in some details that aren’t on her resume.
She provides specific examples that prove she has the required experience and qualifications: leadership, program development (organizing conferences), public speaking (presenting at conferences), recruiting, and education.
And she does it all in under one minute!
The lesson, as always, is: be prepared for the commonly-asked interview questions. Practice your answers, improve them, and polish them so that you deliver the answers as if they were spontaneous.
Darcy Lear is a career coach specializing in job search documents, professional school applications, and interview preparation. To work on your “before” and “after” answers to any 3 job interview questions is $50. See details here. For one-on-one support in preparing for your job search or to set up a campus workshop, contact Darcy: firstname.lastname@example.org