Friday, October 14, 2011

How to answer the most difficult question at a job interview ...

Here’s another job finding tip that I teach my students who are looking for work.

You must be prepared to answer an important, killer question because it is asked at virtually every job fair, networking event, and job interview that you will have. Failure to respond appropriately and quickly will most likely result in a crash and burn situation for you.

So, the question you’ll most assuredly face is this: “Tell me a little about yourself?”

In answering, this is not the place to hum and haw. It is not the place to show a “deer in the headlight” vacant stare. It is not the place to launch into a rambling 20-minute monologue about your life’s story. It is not the place to respond with, “Uh – well -- what would you like to know?”

No! No! My eager job seekers.

This is the place to nail your response with a 30- to 60-second prepared commercial about yourself. And it is the place to deliver it with confidence and enthusiasm.

There are two important things to remember:

1.  The interviewer cares most about the confidence, enthusiasm and passion with which you answer the question. While content is important, frankly – delivery is more so.

2.  The biggest mistake you could make when answering this question is pausing, stalling or fumbling at the onset of your reply. A clumsy presentation will demonstrate a lack of self-awareness and self-esteem.

So here are a few ways to begin your quick and animated answer to that most dreaded of all questions: “Tell me a little about yourself?”

Begin your answer with one of these:

1.      “Let me summarize who I am in just three words …”

This headline grabs their attention immediately and it demonstrates your ability to be concise, creative and compelling.

2.   “I have a quote I live by …”

This really summarizes who you are and what you believe very quickly. It establishes you as a thinker and it is always good to associate yourself with an authority figure you are quoting.

3.   “People who know me best say that I’m …”

This response allows you to put forth your outstanding attributes without sounding conceited. After all, who are you to argue with those who know you best?

4.  “If they made a movie of my life, it would be called …”
Bold. Thrilling. Imaginative. Interesting. Entertaining. Great lead in to an enthusiastic and fun response. This will be a memorable interview for your audience.

5.  “Let me show you while I explain a little about myself …”
Pull something out of your pocket that you brought that has some meaning for you. Build a short story around it and you’ll have an exciting presentation started.

6.   “The compliment I most often hear is …”
This is another great way to introduce a testimonial about you. It builds credibility and positions you as someone who is very self-aware and motivated.

These beginnings will get you off on the right foot in your interview. They are not the dull-grey, typical blah-blah that others will be spouting at their interviews. Instead, these responses will help get you noticed and remembered … and that’s the beginning of getting hired.
Now, there are about 20 standard questions that are asked at almost all job interviews. On Monday, I’ll show you an easy to remember technique that you can use to answer each of them. Stay tuned for more.

And, good hunting!

J  Dana

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