Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 9th 2014 Contents B4
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Tuesday, December 9, 2014
This question may come disguised as,
"What should I know about you?" or they
might say, "Tell me about yourself."
However the question is posed, the result
is a sticky spider web situation for the job
Like the "Why should we hire you?"
question, this is an opportunity to market
yourself, presenting yourself as the solution
(right candidate) for their problem (a job
Then, in the intervew, you tell them the
things that emphasize how your accom-
plishments and experience make you an
ideal candidate for the job you are seeking.
Answering the Real Question
You probably find yourself wondering,
"What is it they really want to know?"
That thought is, luckily, your ticket to
understanding the question -- putting
yourself in the shoes of the interviewer to
imagine what they would want to (need
to) know about you.
What you don't tell them.
I call this question a "spider web"
because if you simply tell someone about
yourself without planning or context to
the target job you are there to interview
for, you could blow the opportunity.
Prepare in advance with your answer
to this question. Without answering care-
fully, you could share all kinds of infor-
mation that leaves them with the impres-
sion that you are:
• A bad communicator
• Someone who doesn't understand the
opportunity or the employer
• Or simply a risk for the company
Most people talk about what they know,
ramble even, about where they live, kids,
likes/dislikes, but, remember, THIS IS AN INTERVIEW.
For the employer, the sole purpose of this interview
Therefore, your goal is to avoid answers that give
away personal information about yourself. An employer
isn't going to hire you because you have such cute chil-
dren, a wonderful husband or wife, or interesting hob-
Perhaps, ask for clarification.
To ensure that you provide the information they
want, you might wish to start your response with a
question of your own, like this-
"I would be glad to. Could you give me an idea of
the type of information you would like to know?"
By starting this way, you can direct your answer
better and be more conversational.
Or, you could share the information you have prepared
and then ask-
"Is there anything else you would like to know?"
What else should you do to prepare?
Before you ever go to an interview, you need to KNOW
YOURSELF in terms of qualifications for the job and
match for the company.
To know this you should:
1. Research the company;
2. Identify, catalog, list, and review your expertise,
strengths, and unique value; and
3. Practice, practice, practice so you sound natural and
Then, you will be ready to put yourself in the employ-
er's shoes and emphasize what will make you stand
out for the company and for the job.
For example, someone seeking a management position
with a local branch of a transportation company might
"I was born and raised in this county and have an
excellent knowledge of the area as well as Central and
XYZ counties. During the last 9 years with the ABC
Freight Company, I have progressed through positions
of Package Loader, Courier, Dispatcher, and Team Lead.
In my most recent position, I have had the opportunity
to complete numerous management training programs,
provide supervision and leadership to all positions
within the station, and participate in special projects
in conjunction with Senior and District Managers. I
enjoy being a Lead and the opportunity to empower
and motivate my team. Last year I was awarded 'Lead
I' for greatest team gains in productivity.
I believe this experience and training has prepared
me to take the next step and pursue a management
position with you."
As you can see from this sample answer, this individual
emphasizes the tangibles that qualify him for the job,
from his knowledge of the local area, long-term tenure
with the employer, and recognition for management
results within the industry.
He does not focus on fluffy stuff or personal infor-
mation, but paints a picture of why he is a perfect can-
didate for this employer and this job.
Yes, this person prepared and practiced his response
in advance. Smart move!
With advanced planning and practice, you can know
your target employer and how to sell yourself for the
job. "Tell me about yourself" then becomes a positive
and fun exercise in demonstrating your value and getting
one step closer to winning that great new job!
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