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The Million $ Interview Question - Tell Me About Yourself

Hello, why don't we begin with you telling me a bit about yourself?" This is the million dollar interview question that seems to cause everyone to cringe. It is overwhelming and uncomfortable. Or is it? Perhaps it is merely our way of thinking. Let's first begin by changing our perspective. Whether we are interviewing for a job or attending a networking opportunity, the key to discovering our unique answer is to focus on why we are being asked the question.

Let me illustrate with a story:

One morning a man is walking along a beach covered with thousands of starfish that have washed up during a storm. He sees a young girl throwing them one by one into the sea. He asks her mockingly, “Why bother? What difference can saving a few of them possibly make?”

Smiling, she bends down and once more tosses a starfish out over the water, saying, “It certainly makes a difference to this one.”

The man in this story sees tons of obstacles when he speaks of the countless starfish and exhibits a defeatist attitude.

The young lady, however, views the circumstances as an opportunity to contribute and be a contributor. She is in the moment, caught up with what she can do to help.

By adopting this perspective, we will be inspired to think creatively when telling someone about ourselves. We’ll think in terms of what we can contribute:

  • We’ll be able to define what we have to offer, what problems we can solve, and what benefits we can bring to the situation.
  • We’ll answer with confidence, enthusiasm, and passion.
  • We‘ll be quick with our response, thus demonstrating self-awareness and self-esteem.
  • Exercises to get you started:

    “I can summarize who I am in three words.” Grabs their attention immediately. Demonstrates your ability to be concise, creative, and compelling.

    “The quotation I live my life by is…” Proves that personal development is an essential part of your growth plan. Also shows your ability to motivate yourself.

    “My personal philosophy is…” Companies hire athletes – not shortstops. This line indicates your position as a thinker, not just an employee.

    “People who know me best say that I’m…” This response offers insight into your own level of self-awareness.

    “My passion is…” People don’t care what you do – people care who you are. And what you’re passionate about is who you are. Plus, passion unearths enthusiasm.

    “The compliment people give me most frequently is…” Almost like a testimonial, this response also indicates self-awareness and openness to feedback.

    Come, tell us about yourself: Certified Career Coaches Conduct Interview Practices

    - The First and Third Wednesdays of each month, 10am to 12noon - First come, first served - Business, Careers and Research Center @ Richland Library Main


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