Click here to load reader

Tell Me About Yourself

  • View
    32

  • Download
    1

Embed Size (px)

Text of Tell Me About Yourself

It's one of the most frequently asked questions in an interview: Tell me about yourself. Your response to this request will set the tone for the rest of the interview. For some, this is the most challenging question to answer, as they wonder what the interviewer really wants to know and what information they should include. Eleanor dreaded this question. When it was the first one asked at her interview, she fumbled her way through a vague answer, not focusing on what she could bring to the job. "I'm happily married and originally from Denver," she began. "My husband was transferred here three months ago, and I've been getting us settled in our new home. I'm now ready to go back to work. I've worked in a variety of jobs, usually customer service-related. I'm looking for a company that offers growth opportunities." The interview went downhill after that. She had started with personal information and gave the interviewer reason to doubt whether she was an employee who would stay for very long. She's married, and when her husband gets transferred that means she has to leave; she did it once and can do it again. She has some work experience with customers but didn't emphasize what she did. She is looking to grow. What about the job she is applying for? Will she stay content for long? The secret to successfully responding to this free-form request is to focus, script and practice. You cannot afford to wing this answer, as it will affect the rest of the interview. Begin to think about what you want the interviewer to know about you. Focus List five strengths you have that are pertinent to this job (experiences, traits, skills, etc.). What do you want the interviewer to know about you when you leave? Eleanor is strong in communications and connecting with people. She has a strong background and proven success with customer relationships. Her real strength is her follow-through. She prides herself on her reputation for meeting deadlines. Scripting Prepare a script that includes the information you want to convey. Begin by talking about past experiences and proven success: "I have been in the customer service industry for the past five years. My most recent experience has been handling incoming calls in the high tech industry. One reason I particularly enjoy this business, and the challenges that go along with it, is the opportunity to connect with people. In my last job, I formed some significant customer relationships resulting in a 30 percent increase in sales in a matter of months." Next, mention your strengths and abilities: "My real strength is my attention to detail. I pride myself on my reputation for following through and meeting deadlines. When I commit to doing something, I make sure it gets done, and on time." Conclude with a statement about your current situation: "What I am looking for now is a company that values customer relations, where I can join a strong team and have a positive impact on customer retention and sales." Practice

Practice with your script until you feel confident about what you want to emphasize in your statement. Your script should help you stay on track, but you shouldn't memorize it -- you don't want to sound stiff and rehearsed. It should sound natural and conversational. Even if you are not asked this type of question to begin the interview, this preparation will help you focus on what you have to offer. You will also find that you can use the information in this exercise to assist you in answering other questions. The more you can talk about your product -- you -- the better chance you will have at selling it.

"Tell Me About Yourself"The Toughest Question in the InterviewBy Don Straits, CEO and Dragon Slayer, Corporate Warriors When you, as a job seeker, are asked the most common, and toughest, interview question, "Tell me about yourself," your answer can make or break you as a candidate. Usually job seekers will respond with their "30 second commercial," and then elaborate on their background. While almost every career book and career counselor will tell you that is the appropriate response, I totally disagree. Many people fail in their job search because they are too often focused on what they want in a job including industry, type of position, location, income, benefits, and work environment. Their "30 second commercial" is centered around this premise. The commercial describes the job seeker's career history and what they are looking for. Too often, this is in direct contrast to what employers are looking for. There are two dominant reasons why job seekers are successful in the job search. The first is focusing on the needs of the organization. The second is focusing on the needs of the people within that organization. In this article, we are going to examine how to focus on the needs of the people within organizations. This will assist in rethinking your response to that all-important question, "Tell me about yourself." In order to learn how to respond to the needs of the interviewer, let's first learn more about ourselves. We can then apply that knowledge about ourselves to knowing how to understand and respond to the needs of others. Most social psychologists recognize four basic personality styles: Analytical, Amiable, Expressive, and Driver. Usually, each of us exhibits personality characteristics unique to one of the styles. However, we also possess characteristics to a lesser degree in the other styles. To determine your unique style, you can take a Myers-Briggs assessment or go to the following site for a free Keirsey Temperament Sorter assessment test: www.keirsey.com Here are the characteristics that are most commonly associated with each of the styles: Analytical: Positive Traits: Precise, Methodical, Organized, Rational, Detail Oriented Negative Traits: Critical, Formal, Uncertain, Judgmental, Picky Amiable: Positive Traits: Cooperative, Dependable, Warm, Listener, Negotiator Negative Traits: Undisciplined, Dependent, Submissive, Overly Cautious, Conforming Expressive: Positive Traits: Enthusiastic, Persuasive, Outgoing, Positive, Communicator Negative Traits: Ego Centered, Emotional, Exploitive, Opinionated, Reacting Driver: Positive Traits: Persistent, Independent, Decision Maker, Effective, Strong Willed Negative Traits: Aggressive, Strict, Intense, Relentless, Rigid Gaining an in-depth understanding of your personality style has enormous value in your career as well as your personal life. However, our focus today is learning how to use this knowledge to make you more successful in your job search. Once you have learned about your own style and have studied the other styles, I encourage you to have a little fun in trying to determine the styles of others. When you meet someone for the first time, try to identify his or her style within the first two minutes. You can often identify styles by observing a person's demeanor, conversation, body language, appearance, and possessions. To demonstrate what I mean, let's take some examples from the business world. While there are always exceptions, generally speaking the styles fit the example. Analytical Style: Financial Manager (or programmers, engineers, and accountants). They like systems and procedures. They are slow to make decisions because they will analyze things to deathbut their decisions are usually very sound. They prefer working independently and are usually not very good in team environments, but they are also dependable. They buy cars with good resale value and great gas mileage. They are conservative dressers. At the party, they want to know why so much money was spent on Michelob when we could have purchased Busch. They come to the party with their laptops. Amiable Style: Human Resources Manager. Very people-focused. They are dependable, loyal and easygoing; very compassionate. They will give you the shirt off their backs and the last nickel in their pockets. They are good listeners and value

team players who don't "rock the boat." They are usually conformists and followersrarely leaders. They avoid conflict and are not good decision makers. They drive four-door sedans or mini-vans to take the kids to sporting events. They usually clean up after the party is over. Expressive Style: Sales Manager. Very outgoing and enthusiastic, with a high energy level. They are also great idea generators, but usually do not have the ability to see the idea through to completion. Very opinionated and egotistical. Money motivated. They can be good communicators. They prefer to direct and control rather then ask and listen. They drive red convertibles with great stereos; to heck with the gas mileage. They come up with the idea for a company party, but never help clean up. They are on their way to another party. Driver: Corporate CEO. Intelligent, intense, focused, relentless. They thrive on the thrill of the challenge and the internal motivation to succeed. Money is only a measure of success; it is not the driving factor. They are results/performance oriented. They have compassion for the truly disadvantaged, but absolutely no patience or tolerance for the lazy or whiners. They drive prestige cars, not because the car attracts attention, but because it was a wise investment. They want to know why we had a party; what were the benefits of the party, and did we invite the banker? Ok, now you are really getting some insight into your style and the style of others. It is time for the interviews. Throw out your 30second commercial. Think on your feet. You will be interviewing with the human resource manager, the finance manager, the sales manager, and the CEO. The first question each of them will ask you is: "Tell me about yourself." How should you respond? Remember the second reason for succeeding in a job search: focus on the needs of the people in the organization. Here are just a few examples of how to respond to that question: "Tell me about yourself?" Response to Finance Manager: "I have been successful in my career by making well-thought-out decisions based on careful analysis of all factors. I approach problems with logic and sound reasoning. I would enjoy working with you in developing the appropriate systems and procedures to make our two departments function efficiently together." Response to Human Resource Manager: "My career has been characterized by my ability to work well with diverse teams. I seek out opportunities to involve others in the decision-making process. This collaboration and communication is what has enabled me to achieve success in my department. People are the most valuable resource of any organization." Response to Sales Manager: "Throughout my career I have always adhered to the principle that everyone in the organization must be sales-focused. My department is always trained in customer service, providing outstanding support to the sales team and to our customers. Without sales, the rest of use would not have a job. I look forward to helping you drive sales in any way possible." Response to CEO: "I have achieved success in my career because I have been focused on the bottom line. I have always sought out innovative solutions to challenging problems to maximize profitability. Regardless of the task or challenge, I always established benchmarks of performance and standards of excellence. I have never sought to maintain the "status quo." An organization that does not change and grow will die. I would enjoy working with you to help define new market opportunities in order to achieve the organization's goals." In each instance, we responded to the "needs of the individual." It is almost guaranteed that, when you respond appropriately to the diverse needs of the different managers, you will become the standard by which all of the other candidates will be measured. I challenge you to learn about your personality and leadership style, learn about the styles of others, and learn how to think on your feet when responding to questions. Whether you are seeking a job or you are gainfully employed, by understanding the needs of others you will become a more valuable person, employee, manager and leader.

So, Why Don't You Tell Me About Yourself? Linda Matias "So, why don't you tell me about yourself?" is the most frequently asked interview question. It's a question that most interviewees expect and the one they have the most difficulty answering. Though one could answer this open-ended question in a myriad of ways, the key to answering this question or any other interview question is to offer a response that supports your career objective. This means that you shouldn't respond with comments about your hobbies, spouse, or extra curricular activities. Trust me, interviewers aren't interested. Interviewers use the interview process as a vehicle to eliminate your candidacy. Every question they ask is used to differentiate your skills, experience, and personality with that of other candidates. They want to determine if what you have to offer will mesh with the organization's mission and goals. If answered with care, your response to the question, "So, why don't you tell me about yourself?" could compliment the interviewers needs as well as support your agenda. This is a question you should be prepared to answer as opposed to attempting to "wing it". Follow the four easy steps outlined below to ensure your response will grab the interviewers attention. 1. Provide a brief introduction. Introduce attributes that are key to the open position.

Sample introduction: During my 10 years' of experience as a sales manager, I have mastered the ability to coach, train, and motivate sales teams into reaching corporate goals. 2. Provide a career summary of your most recent work history. Your career summary is the "meat" of your response, so it must support your job objective and it must be compelling. Keep your response limited to your current experience. Don't go back more than 10 years. Sample career summary: Most recently, at The Widget Corporation, I was challenged with turning around a stagnant territory that ranked last in sales in the Northeastern region. Using strategies that have worked in the past, I developed an aggressive sales campaign that focused on cultivating new accounts and nurturing the existing client base. The results were tremendous. Within six months my sales team and I were able to revitalize the territory and boost sales by 65%. 3. Tie your response to the needs of the hiring organization. Don't assume that the interviewer will be able to connect all the dots. It is your job as the interviewee to make sure the interviewer understands how your experiences are transferable to the position they are seeking to fill. Sample tie-in: Because of my proven experience in leading sales teams, Craig Brown suggested I contact you regarding your need for a sales manager. Craig filled me in on the challenges your sales department is facing. 4. Ask an insightful question. By asking a question you gain control of the interview. Don't ask a question for the sake of asking. Be sure that the question will engage the interviewer in a conversation. Doing so will alleviate the stress you may feel to perform. Sample question: What strategies are currently underway to increase sales and morale within the sales department? There you have it - a response that meets the needs of the interviewer AND supports your agenda. When broken down into manageable pieces, the question, "So, tell me about yourself?" isn't overwhelming. In fact, answering the question effectively gives you the opportunity to talk about your strengths, achievements, and qualifications for the position. So take this golden opportunity and run with it! About The Author Linda Matias is an Internationally Certified Job and Career Transition Coach and a Certified Employment Interview Professional. She specializes in career coaching, resume development, interview and job search training. Visit her website at www.careerstrides.com or email her at [email protected]

So Tell Me About Yourself:How to Prepare for and Behave in an Interview Its been more than a decade since Richard Thau donned his first dress-for-success attire and began extending his hand and extolling his credentials to hiring managers. Still, Thau remembers quite clearly the meeting that landed him his first full-time job. It was miserable, he says. The person who hired me was a smart person who asked stupid questions. He asked questions like what is your favorite baseball team? He asked if I had a girlfriend who lived out of town. Since then, Thau has learned a good deal about interviewing. As coauthor of Get It Together by 30 and Be Set for the Rest of Your Life, he has written about how to prepare for and behave during a job interview. As cofounder and executive director of Third Millennium, a national,

nonprofit organization that promotes the concerns of young adults, he has conducted interviews himself, and learned from his experience. I look for somebody whos personable, whos outgoing, who exudes confidence and competence, he says. I look for someone who isnt shy about expressing his or her own opinion. How can you enter an interview exuding that kind of confidence and competence? How can you know when its appropriate to express an opinion and when its best to take a deep breath, pause, and offer the most tactful statement you can muster? Read on for advice from six people who regularly interview job candidatesand who help decide which ones to hire. Barbara Wilks, manager of college recruiting at Duke Energy Corp. in Charlotte, North Carolina, has been interviewing job candidates on campuses and at her company since 1985 and has conducted workshops on how to prepare for interviews. When were on college campuses, I usually interview 13 students back to back, she says. Wilks asks general screening questions, then launches into behavior-based questions about a job candidates past that can help indicate how he or she will perform in the future. Wilks says her firm has a list of competencies that executive managers feel a candidate needs to succeed at Duke, and interview questions are designed to detect those competencies at various organizational levels. I think the benefit is you really get to know more about the candidate, she says. You hear how they operated under different circumstances. Wilks says that at Duke, students need to be able to communicate their strengths to more than one person because hiring decisions, once made by individuals, are now made by teams. She adds that students can best communicate those strengths if they prepare well for the interview and make sure theyre not uncomfortable once they get there. Students who are not prepared for the interview produce panic instead of the usual mild anxiety, she says. Margie Deakin, national college recruiting manager for Lucent Technologies in Warren, New Jersey, has been interviewing candidates throughout the 1990s, and has even conducted brief interviews at a job fair during spring break in Florida. Deakin says a typical Lucent interview includes a brief description of the company and what it does. We start off the interview trying to relax the candidate, she says. We talk about the employment process, set the stage for the interview, and talk about what the recruiter does with Lucent. After five to 10 minutes of discussing the company, Deakin says, the interviewer turns to the candidates resume, asks a few employment-related questions, and begins asking behaviorbased questions. Ill ask them to describe a difficult or complex project that was challenging in terms of planning and organizing, she says. You ask a macro question, then get more probing...I always like to ask them what kinds of problems occurred when they were working on a project and how they came up with solutions to those problems. Deakin says many of the students and new graduates she interviews anticipate the kinds of questions she asks and have ready answers. Were finding more and more students are catching on, she says. Theyre receiving training from their career planning and placement offices, and the placement offices are catching on that a lot of the big companies use this style of interviewing. Troy Behrens, college relations manager at SIEMENS Building Technologies-Landis Division in Buffalo Grove, Illinois, and a former career counselor, says students need to go beyond the basics. It goes way beyond giving examples of what youve done, he says. Get into some of the details on a specific project. Try to develop your answerpackage it almost like its an anecdotal story. Behrens says he sometimes asks a candidate to actually demonstrate a skill in addition to describing it.

There was a person I interviewed who was into computer programming, he recalls. Part of the process was to sit her in front of a computer to show what she could do. Behrens says that in general, students seem well-prepared for their interviewsat least on the surface. But he says hes irked that many havent learned as much as they can about the company by studying its products, services, target markets, plans for growth, and values. Students are well-prepared on the canned responses to the canned questions that you read in books, Behrens says. But when it comes to answering off the cuff, or showing resourcefulness, thats sometimes a problem...Were always more impressed with people who go the extra mile to get extra information. Behrens adds that students should have a clear perspective on how they can contribute and fit in. Jack Fitzmaurice, national college relations manager for Fidelity Investments in Boston, has been conducting interviews for the past 13 years at three different firms. We try to get most of the business units to use 30-minute competency-based or behaviorbased interviews, Fitzmaurice says, explaining that Fidelity recruiters identify several competencies, such as honesty and integrity, then devise questions to test for those competencies. Fitzmaurice says a typical interview begins with three to five minutes of rapport building. Then, the interviewer spends about five or six minutes asking competency-based questions. We are assuming and hopeful that the student would have attended our information session the night before the interview, he says, explaining that interviews at Fidelity rarely include time for questions about the corporation. Fitzmaurice says that students who cant make it to the information session can always seek out former interns on campus or alumni working for the company. We would hope to hear from students questions about how their background is going to fit in the job, he says, adding that hes pleased with students who can do thatand annoyed by those who appear uninterested in the job theyre interviewing for. They have an unrealistic assessment of their skills and think they can get their foot in the door and then move on to something else, he says. Michelle Healy, director of the SCT Academy at Systems & Computer Technology Corp. in Malvern, Pennsylvania, works with recruiters and hiring managers to find the best candidates for her firms entry-level training program. Healy says that SCT recruiters who visit college campuses generally conduct 12 half-hour interviews a day, drawing from a pool of students who have been selected for their grades, activities, leadership positions, and work experience. At that point, were trying to get an assessment of what the students looking for, she says, explaining that recruiters prefer students who know enough about the company to understand where they would best fit in. Really, what were looking for is a high level of maturity and candidates who have a sense of what they want to do. Healy says she expects students to know the basics about her company. We want to know that at least theyve been to our web page, she says, adding that the firm also sends information to college and university career centers, and savvy students will have picked up that information as well. The worst thing a student can do in an interview with us is to ask us what we do, she says. Healy says students who make the cut in the first round of interviews are invited to SCT headquarters for a half day that includes three interviews with three SCT employees who have been trained in interviewing techniques. During one of those interviews, students are asked to give a short presentation to a panel of employees. These presentations give us an opportunity to hear about their background, experiences, and motivations so that we can get to know them better, Healy says. John Moore, staffing manager for Intel Corp. in Folsom, California, has come to some new conclusions about interviewing students in recent years.

We do things differently on campus than most companies, he says. Instead of holding traditional on-campus interviews, Intel representatives visit classes, meet with professors, and hold open meetings where students can submit their resumes. Moore says that if a resume meets Intels standards and the student seems likely to succeed on first glance, he or she is invited to visit one of Intels sites in California, Arizona, or New Mexico for a long weekend that begins with a Thursday evening welcome reception and dinner. We bring in 40 or 50 people at a time, Moore explains. On Friday, we usually put them through three or four behavioral/technical interviews. Well ask questions like, Describe for me a time when you designed a board in your electrical engineering program. What was that like? We might ask them to solve an engineering problem, or look at a circuit diagram and describe whats going on. Moore says that after the interviews, students learn about Intels pay, benefits, and preemployment drug screening test. Then, he says, theyre given rental cars, two more nights lodging, and an invitation to explore the area. Intel generally hires between 50 and 80 percent of the students it interviews, Moore says. For a student not to be selected, theyd have to be really quiet and withdrawn and not demonstrate an ability to function in a stressful situation...We as a corporation look for people who can perform under fire. Moore adds that its most important for students to already have the skills it takes to do the job. Way before they come in to interview with us, they should do very well in their academic program, he says. We do look at GPA. Interviewing Tips1. Learn as much as you can about the company beforehandknow its products and services, its profit margin, its management, its culture, its dress code, and anything else you can think of. Good sources are your career services center, a college or public library, and the Internet. 2. Do practice interviews. Many career services centers offer workshops, mock interviews, or one-on-one coaching. Some even make videotapes of mock interviews. 3. Think about how your experience in work, classes, and activities can relate to the job youre seeking. 4. Allow plenty of time to get to the interview and, if possible, visit the site in advance and time how long it takes to get there. 5. Plan your interview attire in advance and make sure your clothing is pressed, your shoes are shined, and your hair and nails are well groomed. 6. Bring extra copies of your resume and a list of references. 7. Speak slowly and clearly and dont be afraid to pause for a moment to collect your thoughts. 8. Be honest. Dont try to cover up mistakes. Instead, focus on how you learned from them. 9. Be assertive. Remember that the interview is a way for you to learn if the job is right for you. 10. Ask the interviewer for a business card and send a thank-you note or e-mail as soon as possible.

So, Why Dont You Tell Me About Yourself?by Linda Matias So, why dont you tell me about yourself? is the most frequently asked interview question. Its a question that most interviewees expect and the one they have the most difficulty answering. Though one could answer this open-ended question in a myriad of ways, the key to answering this question or any other interview question is to offer a response that supports your career objective. This means that you shouldnt respond with comments about your hobbies, spouse, or extra curricular activities. Trust me, interviewers arent interested. Interviewers use the interview process as a vehicle to eliminate your candidacy. Every question they ask is used to differentiate your skills, experience, and personality with that of other candidates. They want to determine if what you have to offer will mesh with the organizations mission and goals. If answered with care, your response to the question, So, why dont you tell me about yourself? could compliment the interviewers needs as well as support your agenda. This is a question you should be prepared to answer as opposed to attempting to wing it.

Follow the four easy steps outlined below to ensure your response will grab the interviewers attention. 1. Provide a brief introduction. Introduce attributes that are key to the open position. Sample introduction: During my 10 years of experience as a sales manager, I have mastered the ability to coach, train, and motivate sales teams into reaching corporate goals. 2. Provide a career summary of your most recent work history. Your career summary is the meat of your response, so it must support your job objective and it must be compelling. Keep your response limited to your current experience. Dont go back more than 10 years. Sample career summary: Most recently, at The Widget Corporation, I was challenged with turning around a stagnant territory that ranked last in sales in the Northeastern region. Using strategies that have worked in the past, I developed an aggressive sales campaign that focused on cultivating new accounts and nurturing the existing client base. The results were tremendous. Within six months my sales team and I were able to revitalize the territory and boost sales by 65%. 3. Tie your response to the needs of the hiring organization. Dont assume that the interviewer will be able to connect all the dots. It is your job as the interviewee to make sure the interviewer understands how your experiences are transferable to the current position they are seeking to fill. Sample tie-in: Because of my proven experience in leading sales teams, Craig Brown suggested I contact you regarding your need for a sales manager. Craig filled me in on the challenges your sales department is facing. 4. Ask an insightful question. By asking a question you gain control of the interview. Dont ask a question for the sake of asking a question. Be sure that the question will engage the interviewer in a conversation. Doing so will alleviate the stress you may feel to perform. Sample question: What strategies are currently underway to increase sales and morale within the sales department? There you have it a response that supports your agenda AND meets the needs of the interviewer. When broken down into manageable pieces, the question, So, tell me about yourself? isnt overwhelming. In fact, answering the question effectively gives you the opportunity to talk about your strengths, achievements, and qualifications for the position. So take this golden opportunity and run with it! The FAQ Farm is interactive. We need your help: ask a question, help with answers, and vote for the most useful Q&A's. How do you answer 'What are your strengths and weaknesses?' Question asked by Vikas Sharma on August 04, 2003. What questions will be asked in a second interview? Question asked by Jim on July 26, 2003. How do you answer 'Tell me about yourself?' Question asked by irfan on July 15, 2003. Popularity: 1058

Popularity: 780

Popularity: 615

How do you answer 'Why do you want to leave your current job?' Question asked by anonymous on February 11, 2003.

Popularity: 264

How do you write a thank-you letter after an interview? Question asked by anonymous on October 08, 2003. How do you answer, 'What was your reason for leaving?' Question asked by Rachelle on January 26, 2004. How do you answer 'Why do you want to work here?' Question asked by Kalei on October 02, 2002. How do you answer 'Define teamwork'? Question asked by Joe on July 07, 2003.

Popularity: 257

Popularity: 245

Popularity: 206

Popularity: 183

How do you answer 'Where do you see yourself in five years?' Question asked by Savanjain on August 02, 2003. What questions should an interviewer ask? Question asked by L on July 03, 2003. Popularity: 142

Popularity: 161

How do you answer 'What makes a good team?' Popularity: 138 Question asked by Grisell Jernigan on May 21, 2003. How do you answer, 'Describe an ideal working environment' Question asked by Florence Ancheta on November 09, 2003. What should you wear to a job interview on a hot summer day? Question asked by Andrea on July 08, 2003. Popularity: 129

Popularity: 118

How do you answer 'What are your short-term and long-term career goals?' Question asked by Abdul Mazid on December 11, 2003. How do you answer 'What is good customer service?' Popularity: 93 Question asked by Raihan Khan on November 19, 2003. When is it appropriate to call back after an interview? Question asked by Karen Spears on July 28, 2003. Popularity: 93

Popularity: 100

What should you and shouldn't you do in a job interview? Question asked by Linh Nguyen on September 23, 2003. What questions will an interviewer ask? Popularity: 75 Question asked by anonymous on June 05, 2003.

Popularity: 79

How do you answer 'Describe your work ethic'? Popularity: 68 Question asked by Earnest Jenkins on May 02, 2003. How do you handle an irate customer over the phone? Question asked by Dinnia Nash on January 28, 2004. Popularity: 63

How do you answer 'What are your short term and long term goals?' Question asked by Danny D'Mello on October 14, 2003. How would you answer 'Describe yourself'? Popularity: 59 Question asked by anonymous on March 03, 2004. How do you answer 'Describe a time you solved a problem'? Question asked by Sandra on December 12, 2002.

Popularity: 61

Popularity: 57

Does being asked to do a phone interview mean you have a good chance of being hired? Question asked by Karly on April 19, 2003. How do you answer 'Describe a time you influenced others in a group'? Question asked by anonymous on December 17, 2002. How do you answer 'Why have you held so many jobs?' Question asked by anonymous on February 11, 2003. Popularity: 49 Popularity: 51

Popularity: 53

What do you do if you don't hear back from an interviewer? Question asked by Brenda on January 05, 2003. How do you answer 'Market yourself'? Popularity: 46 Question asked by anonymous on October 27, 2003. How do you politely ask what a job pays? Popularity: 46 Question asked by Jackie on March 03, 2003.

Popularity: 48

How do you answer, 'What did you most enjoy about your last job?' Question asked by Florence Ancheta on November 09, 2003. How do you answer when asked to give 1 weakness and 1 strength? Question asked by anonymous on March 06, 2004. How do you answer 'How would you resolve a conflict?' Question asked by anonymous on November 23, 2003.

Popularity: 45

Popularity: 41

Popularity: 40

How do you answer 'How do you handle criticism?' Question asked by anonymous on August 04, 2003.

Popularity: 40

How do you answer, 'What can you offer us that other people cannot?' Question asked by Jeff Reyes on November 09, 2003. How do you research a company? Popularity: 38 Question asked by Lindsey Egan on June 11, 2003. How do you answer 'What is good or bad feedback?' Popularity: 35 Question asked by Grisell Jernigan on May 21, 2003. How do you answer 'Why did you leave your last job?'? Question asked by anonymous on March 03, 2004.

Popularity: 38

Popularity: 34

How do you explain being fired due to a workmens compensation issue? Question asked by anonymous on October 13, 2003. How do you answer, 'What about this job attracts you?' Question asked by Kim Ben on November 09, 2003. What sort of note should you send after the interview? Question asked by sandy burky on October 10, 2003. Popularity: 33

Popularity: 34

Popularity: 33

How do you answer, 'How did you handle your most challenging experience in your previous job'? Question asked by anonymous on March 16, 2004. How do you answer 'What did you think of your last boss?' Question asked by anonymous on August 04, 2003. Popularity: 28

Popularity: 31

Is it a good idea to keep calling if you haven't been formally rejected, and the job is still open? Question asked by Joan on October 22, 2003. How should a student dress in a practice job interview? Popularity: 25 Question asked by Samantha Graham on December 11, 2003. How do you answer tough interview questions? Popularity: 21 Question asked by wanda mcquarrie on April 06, 2004.

Popularity: 26

Should you write a thank you letter after an interview for a part time job for a grocery store for example? 20 Question asked by anonymous on April 02, 2004. How do you answer 'Please give your reasons for making this application'? Question asked by Natalie Carrington on February 01, 2004. Popularity: 20

Popularity:

Can you call an employer early to find out where you stand in the interviewing process? Question asked by anonymous on October 28, 2003. What does a job in Customer Service involve? Popularity: 18 Question asked by anonymous on March 04, 2004. Do your grades affect your ability? Popularity: 16 Question asked by Joanny Bello on January 13, 2004. What type of binder do you put print materials in when creating your portfolio? Question asked by Marissa Nolan on December 24, 2003. How do you answer 'What are three words that describe you?'? Question asked by anonymous on March 05, 2004. Popularity: 15

Popularity: 20

Popularity: 16

How do you answer 'Where would you like to be financially in 5 years, 10 years? Why?'? Question asked by Lora on January 24, 2004. How do you answer, 'Why did you apply for this job?' Question asked by manish bobdey on April 27, 2004. Popularity: 12

Popularity: 15

How do you answer 'How do you describe customer service?'? Question asked by anonymous on March 05, 2004. How do you handle a drunken, abusive customer on the phone? Question asked by mini on March 08, 2004.

Popularity: 12

Popularity: 11

How should you answer the question, 'Do you prefer a group or working alone?' Question asked by anonymous on March 30, 2004. How do you answer 'Why do you want to work here?'? Question asked by anonymous on March 07, 2004. Popularity: 9

Popularity: 9

How long should you wait to go to another open interview? Question asked by anonymous on March 04, 2004.

Popularity: 9

How do you answer 'How would classmates describe you?' Question asked by anonymous on March 02, 2004.

Popularity: 9

How do you let a potential employer know that you have a disability like epilepsy without jeopardizing your chances of employment? Popularity: 9 Question asked by anonymous on March 01, 2004. How can you appear confident and calm if you get very nervous during interviews? Question asked by Jyll on April 18, 2004. Popularity: 8

Can you recommend any books to help ease someone through the job interview process? Question asked by anonymous on March 24, 2004. What is your energy level supposed to be like when going for an interview? Question asked by Tricia Lee on March 13, 2004. Popularity: 7

Popularity: 7

If you have a supermarket interview, what might be asked in a second interview? Question asked by anonymous on March 09, 2004. What is the most difficult part of a job interview? Popularity: 6 Question asked by martine washington on April 29, 2004. How can you explain why you've held many unrelated jobs? Question asked by anonymous on April 28, 2004. How should you answer 'How long do you plan to stay here?' Question asked by anonymous on March 30, 2004. Popularity: 5

Popularity: 7

Popularity: 5

How do you answer the question, 'Why do you want this position?' Question asked by august cook on May 17, 2004.

Popularity: 4

How do you answer, 'Are you looking for temporary or permanent work?' Question asked by Bevelyn abjelina on April 28, 2004.

Popularity: 4

How you do answer, 'If you were given chance to go back to your childhood and change one thing, what would you change?' Popularity: 3 Question asked by Adil Shaikh on May 16, 2004.

Answering the Question: "So Tell Me About Yourself . . . " with your TwoMinute Pitchby Kate Wendleton Your Two-Minute Pitch is the back-bone of your search--you'll use it in job and networking interviews, and in cover letters. You'll be ready when someone says, "So tell me about yourself." Your resume summary statement serves as the starting point for your Two-Minute Pitch. Keep in mind:

to whom you are pitching; in what they are interested; who your likely competitors are; and what you bring to the party that your competitors do not.

Don't tell your life story. Instead:

let this person know that you are competent and interested in the area he or she is interested in. say things that are relevant. come across at the right level. If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I'd spend six sharpening my ax. Abraham Lincoln

Case Study: Phil Pitch for Target #1 vs. Target #2 Here is a pitch Phil developed when he wanted a position in adult education: I have eighteen years experience in all aspects of education and training. I've set up and run training centers and have hired and managed trainers. I've developed a variety of training programs--for standup training, video training and computer-based training. I've developed the training materials, including the layout, the design and the logo. I have trained over 800 people in individual and group programs, and have even designed and coded the student registration and grade reporting systems. I wanted to talk to you today because (your company is known for its excellent training programs). Phil met with a number of people in the training and education market, and it looked promising. But a friend knew Phil had another love, personal computers. In fact, the training centers Phil set up and run were PC training centers. Phil's friend suggested he meet with Deirdre, who actually had a job opening. Phil was very excited about meeting Deirdre, and he and I met to prepare for this meeting. When I asked Phil to do his Two-Minute Pitch, he did the pitch you see above. However, the interviewer would be interested in Phil's experience with personal computers, not his background in education. How much did Phil know about PC's? A lot. "Why, I can make PC's dance," he said. "The only problem is that the hiring manager would probably want someone who could network them together, and I've never done that." If your pitch--the way you position yourself-- is wrong, everything else about your search is wrong. Phil's first pitch is good if he wants to specialize in education, but terrible if he wants a job working with PC's. Phil needed a new pitch to suit this completely different target, and it would also be better if Phil

had the experience Deirdre was looking for. I asked Phil if he could network computers together, and he said, "Of course." Then, why not quickly get the experience and have a stronger pitch for the interview? That night, Phil networked together the computers he had at home. Then he attended the meeting of a group that specialized in computer networking. Phil asked one of the members if he could go along on a computer networking call. Here is Phil's pitch only one week later: I have eighteen years experience in computers, specializing in PC's. I have built PC's from scratch, and I've done software and applications programming on PC's. I also understand how important networking is. I've even networked together the PC's I have at home, and I belong to a group of PC experts so I always know who to talk to when tricky things come up. I can do anything that needs to be done with PC's. I can make PC's dance! I'm excited about talking to you because I know your shop relies on PC's. I'd like to hear more about your plans and tell you some of the specific things I've done. He has managed to tailor his pitch to a specific situation. Both pitches are true about him. But each is tailored to his target market. In the first pitch, for example, he mentions that he has developed educational software. In the second pitch, the software application (education) is not important, but the fact that it was on PC's is important. Notice, however, that each pitch starts with a summary statement of how he would like the interviewer to see him, one as an experienced education expert and one with PC experience. Think through what you want to say to your target market--just as you did when you were developing the summary statement on your resume. Think about the person to whom you are talking. Know Something About Them If an interviewer immediately says: Tell me about yourself, how will you know how to position yourself? If you don't know anything about why they are interviewing you or the position they have in mind, you may say: I'd be happy to tell you about myself, but could you first tell me a little about the kind of work you do here? What Point Are You Trying To Make? Most people write their Two-Minute Pitch and rehearse it in front of a mirror. Say to yourself: "What point am I trying to make? What impression do I hope they'll get about me?" Barbara had spent her life in the not-for-profit arena, and now wanted to teach grant writing. In her old pitch, she recounted the jobs she had held, and expected the listener to notice the parts of importance to them. When prodded, she admitted that the point she wanted to make was that she was seen as one of the best grant-writers in the country. Her new pitch, that she used in her cover letters, started like this: Would you like to meet someone who is seen as one of the "best grant writers in the country," and is also an excellent trainer? I have been in the not-for-profit sector for almost two decades and have been able to attain grants for a variety of programs. For example, . . . Ask yourself: What is the most important point I am trying to make? One client said, "I just want them to know that I have eighteen years experience in capital markets, whether it's in aerospace or petroleum, metals and mining, or real estate. My experience is in capital markets." That's a great pitch. Why not tell them exactly that? They Won't "Get It" on Their Own, So Just Tell Them. Most job hunters think, "I'll tell him my background, and he'll see how it fits with his needs." Usually, he doesn't see. Think about the point you are trying to make, and say it. If you have a conclusion you would

like him to make about you, tell him what it is. Don't expect the interviewer to figure it out. If you want him to see how all of your jobs have somehow been involved in international, say: "All of my jobs have somehow been involved in international." If you want her to notice you have always moved wherever the company wanted, say just that. If you want her to know you have done things Treasury executives rarely do, then tell her that. If you want her to see you have developed intensive product knowledge while handling various operations areas, say so. Do you want her to know that Fortran is your favorite language? Then don't say: "I have five years of Fortran experience." That's not your point. Do you want her to know that you can make computers dance? Tell her. Don't make her figure it out for herself. She won't. Make your message so clear that if someone stops her and says, "Tell me about John," she will know what to tell the other person about you. Two Minutes is a Long Time. Show Enthusiasm. In this TV society, people are used to 15-second sound bites on the news. As the communicator, engage your listener. Reinforce your main points. Don't say too many things. Sound enthusiastic. If you are not a lively person, the least you can do is sit forward in your chair. I once did a magazine article on who got jobs and who got to keep them. I talked to the deans of business and engineering schools. I learned that the enthusiastic person was most likely to get the job. And the enthusiastic one got to keep the job later--even over more qualified people. Employers kept people willing to do anything to help the company. Even more interesting was that this same thing is true for senior executives. In my line of work, I sometimes have the opportunity to follow up when someone doesn't get a job. I am amazed by the number of times I was told (about people making from $150,000 to $600,000), that the applicant lacked enthusiasm: He was managing 1300 people, and I don't know how he did it. He just doesn't sound enthusiastic. How could he motivate his troops if he can't motivate me? Anyway, I don't know that he really wants the job. He didn't sound interested. In addition to the job content, display enthusiasm. If you really want this job, act like it. It does not hurt your salary negotiation prospects. As you practice, you will learn to see more of the job hunt process through the eyes of the "buyer"--the hiring manager. Instead of thinking only about yourself and what you want, think more about what the managers want and what you have that would be of interest to them. In preparing for a meeting, use the "Summary of What I Have/Want to Offer," below. For each target area, you will need a different pitch--just as Phil did. And you will need to modify your pitch for various companies within that target. If your pitch never changes, you are not thinking enough about the person you are talking to. Summary of What I Have/Want To Offer:

Statement of why they should hire me (My "Two-Minute Pitch"). 3-5 accomplishments that would be of interest to hiring managers in this position/industry. 3-6 personality traits appropriate to this position/industry. Other key selling points that may apply even indirectly to this industry or position. Any objection I'm afraid the interviewer may bring up, and how I will handle it.

Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least. Goethe Articles on Jobseekers Advice If you would like to submit an article to Jobseekers Advice, then please feel free to contact us. We are always looking for a wide range of articles dealing with career advice, CV advice, interview advice, working abroad, employment issues, education and training and other recruitment or careers related topics. The articles can be the result of professional experience or personal insight - we are looking to offer all points of view. So, Why Don't You Tell Me About Yourself? "So, why don't you tell me about yourself?" is the most frequently asked interview question. It's a question that most interviewees expect and the one they have the most difficulty answering. Though one could answer this open- ended question in a myriad of ways, the key to answering this question or any other interview question is to offer a response that supports your career objective. This means that you shouldn't respond with comments about your hobbies, spouse, or extra curricular activities.

Trust me, interviewers aren't interested. Interviewers use the interview process as a vehicle to eliminate your candidacy. Every question they ask is used to differentiate your skills, experience, and personality with that of other candidates. They want to determine if what you have to offer will mesh with the organization's mission and goals.

If answered with care, your response to the question, "So, why don't you tell me about yourself?" could compliment the interviewers needs as well as support your agenda. This is a question you should be prepared to answer as opposed to attempting to "wing it".

Follow the four easy steps outlined below to ensure your response will grab the interviewers attention.

1. Provide a brief introduction. Introduce attributes that are key to the open position.

Sample introduction: During my 10 years' of experience as a sales manager, I have mastered the ability to coach, train, and motivate sales teams into reaching corporate goals.

2. Provide a career summary of your most recent work history. Your career summary is the "meat" of your response, so it must support your job objective and it must be compelling.

Keep your response limited to your current experience. Don't go back more than 10 years.

Sample career summary:

Most recently, at The Widget Corporation, I was challenged with turning around a stagnant territory that ranked last in sales in the North-eastern region.

Using strategies that have worked in the past, I developed an aggressive sales campaign that focused on cultivating new accounts and nurturing the existing client base. The results were tremendous. Within six months my sales team and I were able to revitalize the territory and boost sales by 65%.

3. Tie your response to the needs of the hiring organization. Don't assume that the interviewer will be able to connect all the dots. It is your job as the interviewee to make sure the interviewer understands how your experiences are transferable to the position they are seeking to fill.

Sample tie-in: Because of my proven experience in leading sales teams, Craig Brown suggested I contact you regarding your need for a sales manager. Craig filled me in on the challenges your sales department is facing.

4. Ask an insightful question. By asking a question you gain control of the interview. Don't ask a question for the sake of asking. Be sure that the question will engage the interviewer in a conversation. Doing so will alleviate the stress you may feel to perform.

Sample question: What strategies are currently underway to increase sales and morale within the sales department? There you have it - a response that meets the needs of the interviewer AND supports your agenda.

When broken down into manageable pieces, the question, "So, tell me about yourself?" isn't overwhelming. In fact, answering the question effectively gives you the opportunity to talk about your strengths, achievements, and qualifications for the position. So take this golden opportunity and run with it!

Recognized as a career expert, Linda Matias brings a wealth of experience to the career services field. She has been sought out for her knowledge of the employment market, outplacement, job search strategies, interview preparation, and resume writing, quoted a number of times in The Wall Street Journal, New York Newsday, Newsweek, and HR-esource.com.

She is President of CareerStrides and the National Resume Writers' Association. Visit her website at www.careerstrides.com or email her at [email protected]

Answering the Interview Question: Tell Me About YourselfOne of the most dreaded interview questions is "So, tell me about yourself. Your response will set the tone for the entire interview. You should be prepared. Here are five recommendations: Focus List five strengths you have that are pertinent to this job - experience, traits, skills, etc. What do you want the interviewer to remember about you most? Script Prepare a script that includes the information you want to convey. Talk about past experiences and proven success. Example: "I have been in the customer service industry for five years. My most recent experience has been handling incoming calls in the high tech industry. One reason I really enjoy this business, and the challenges that go along with it, is the opportunity to connect with people. In my last job, I formed significant customer relationships resulting in a 30 percent increase in sales in 6 months." Mention your Strengths and Abilities "My real strength is my attention to detail. I pride myself on my reputation for following through and meeting deadlines. When I commit to doing something, I make sure it gets done, and on time." Conclude with a Statement About Your Current Situation "What I am looking for now is a company that values customer relations, where I can join a strong team and have a positive impact on customer retention and sales." Practice Practice your script until you feel confident about what you want to emphasize. Your script should help you stay on track, but you shouldn't memorize it. You don't want to sound stiff and rehearsed. It should sound natural and conversational. Even if you are not asked this type of question in an interview, this preparation will help you focus on what you have to offer. You will also find that you can use the information in this exercise to assist you in answering other questions. The more you can talk about your product -- you -- the better chance you will have at selling it!Excerpted from an e-mail from Kevin Donlin, author of "Resume and Cover Letter Secrets Revealed.

To access all of CPPCs handouts, visit: www.niu.edu/cppc/handouts.shtml

#205 09-03

Questions to ask in interviews by Scott Boyd OK, so you filled out the application form, got through all the testing and answered all their questions easily. Now your faced with your greatest challenge!

The dreaded question, "is there anything you would like to ask us?". DOH! You know you can't just say "no, I'm fine" and walk away.

This is your final test - all the rest was just a warm up - this is the big game!

Most of the questions to ask, below, would naturally have to be tailored for each position applied for (I can't hold your hand all the way through your application process - you're just gonna have to learn to stand on your own two feet!).

What scope for promotion and upward progress is there within this company? This shows that you are both keen and are making long term plans to remain with the company.

Is the company planning any expansions or developments that might lead to further career opportunities? This shows that you are taking an interest in the company, and again that you are making long term plans to remain with them.

I am keen to further develop my skills and experience. What sort of scope is there to do this within your company? Employers will value potential as much as existing skills and experience. You will be perceived to be more valuable to them if they think your skills and knowledge will continuingly grow. Also, most employers will have some sort of training or staff facilities in place, so it's always good to let them know they're not wasting their money!

Relate to your past experience. For example, if you found a previous job not to be challenging enough, then say so at your interview.

Ask your potential employer how they will challenge you! :)

Note: If you tell them that you found your previous job dull and boring, but you are applying for the same role in a different company, then the chances are that you won't get the job!

Relate to what they have been telling you at the interview. If you bring something up that they have mentioned to before, it shows that you have been listening (which is the least that they can expect from you after all!).

Say something along the lines of, "You said before that you are expanding into the music business. I have a particular interest in the music industry, so would it be possible, nearer the time, for me to participate in this?".

Relate to the industry. Read up on the industry that your potential employer works in.

If there have been notable developments recently, then bring them up (ask what impact the developments had on their business).

Good luck! Regards Scott Boyd - Webmaster and Founder - Jobseekers Advice

Tell Me About YourselfThis is one of the most popular questions asked, and your response will probably set the tone for the rest of the interview. It is the most challenging question for many people, as they wonder what the interviewer really wants to know and what information they should include. How would you respond? One thing is for sure: the interviewer does not want to know about your family details or personal background. What he is interested in are your achievements and the milestones in your career. As you cannot afford to get your answer wrong, here is how you should start preparing yourself for this question. Focus List five strengths you have that are pertinent to this job (experiences, traits, skills, etc). What do you want the interviewer to know about you when you leave? Scripting Prepare a script that includes the information you want to convey. Begin by talking about past experiences and proven success: "I have been in the customer service industry for the past five years. My most recent experience has been handling incoming calls in the high tech industry. One reason I particularly enjoy this business, and the challenges that go along with it, is the opportunity to connect with people. In my last job, I formed some significant customer relationships resulting in a 30 percent increase in sales in a matter of months." Next, mention your strengths and abilities: "My real strength is my attention to detail. I pride myself on my reputation for following through and meeting deadlines. When I commit to doing something, I make sure it gets done, and on time." Conclude with a statement about your current situation: "What I am looking for now is a company that values customer relations, where I can join a strong team and have a positive impact on customer retention and sales." Practise Practise with your script until you feel confident about what you want to emphasise in your statement. Your script should help you stay on track, but you shouldn't memorise it -- you don't

want to sound stiff and rehearsed. It should sound natural and conversational. Even if you are not asked this question in the interview, this preparation will help you focus on what you have to offer. You will also find that you can use the information here to assist you in answering other questions. The more you can talk about your product -- you -- the better chance you will have at selling it.

So, Why Don't You Tell Me About Yourself?By: Linda Matias, JCTC, CEIP~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ "So, why don't you tell me about yourself?" is the most frequently asked interview question. It's a question that most interviewees expect and the one they have the most difficulty answering. Though one could answer this open-ended question in a myriad of ways, the key to answering this question or any other interview question is to offer a response that supports your career objective. This means that you shouldn't respond with comments about your hobbies, spouse, or extra curricular activities. Trust me, interviewers aren't interested. Interviewers use the interview process as a vehicle to eliminate your candidacy. Every question they ask is used to differentiate your skills, experience, and personality with that of other candidates. They want to determine if what you have to offer will mesh with the organization's mission and goals. If answered with care, your response to the question, "So, why don't you tell me about yourself?" could compliment the interviewers needs as well as support your agenda. This is a question you should be prepared to answer as opposed to attempting to "wing it". Follow the four easy steps outlined below to ensure your response will grab the interviewers attention. 1. Provide a brief introduction. Introduce attributes that are key to the open position. Sample introduction: During my 10 years' of experience as a sales manager, I have mastered the ability to coach, train, and motivate sales teams into reaching corporate goals. 2. Provide a career summary of your most recent work history. Your career summary is the "meat" of your response, so it must support your job objective and it must be compelling. Keep your response limited to your current experience. Don't go back more than 10 years. Sample career summary: Most recently, at The Widget Corporation, I was challenged with turning around a stagnant territory that ranked last in sales in

the Northeastern region. Using strategies that have worked in the past, I developed an aggressive sales campaign that focused on cultivating new accounts and nurturing the existing client base. The results were tremendous. Within six months my sales team and I were able to revitalize the territory and boost sales by 65%. 3. Tie your response to the needs of the hiring organization. Don't assume that the interviewer will be able to connect all the dots. It is your job as the interviewee to make sure the interviewer understands how your experiences are transferable to the position they are seeking to fill. Sample tie-in: Because of my proven experience in leading sales teams, Craig Brown suggested I contact you regarding your need for a sales manager. Craig filled me in on the challenges your sales department is facing. 4. Ask an insightful question. By asking a question you gain control of the interview. Don't ask a question for the sake of asking. Be sure that the question will engage the interviewer in a conversation. Doing so will alleviate the stress you may feel to perform. Sample question: What strategies are currently underway to increase sales and morale within the sales department? There you have it - a response that meets the needs of the interviewer AND supports your agenda. When broken down into manageable pieces, the question, "So, tell me about yourself?" isn't overwhelming. In fact, answering the question effectively gives you the opportunity to talk about your strengths, achievements, and qualifications for the position. So take this golden opportunity and run with it! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ (c) Linda Matias - All rights reserved Linda Matias is an Internationally Certified Job and Career Transition Coach and a Certified Employment Interview Professional. She specializes in career coaching, resume development, and interview and job search training. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~