Wednesday, May 13, 2009

"Tell me about yourself."

A general question re: interviewing:

How do you typically answer the "Tell me about yourself" interview question? It's pretty common, but I'm never really sure where to start. I've read a few books suggesting one should tailor it to the position, but I'm not really sure what that means.

I'm particularly interested in how to handle issues of changing careers or interviewing for jobs that are non-traditional for someone with a given background. Do you just launch into why you're interested in the position?



Mrs. CH said...

Hmm...I guess I always took this question to be about your background and how it relates to the job you're applying for.

So, if you have a PhD in chemistry but you're applying for an instructor position, you could say something like "I received my PhD in Chemistry, and during that time I was able to teach in a lab setting and found I really loved it"...etc.

Not sure though - I'd love to hear what other people have to say!

Mad Hatter said...

I agree with Mrs. CH. I'd probably take this as an opportunity to explain (1) why I want this job and (2) how I am qualified for this job. I think the "why" part is particularly important when changing careers.

Thomas Joseph said...

I'd probably start out with a bit of humor: "Well, I was born on a bitterly cold winter night with the wind howling outside ..."

After that, I'd use the opportunity as to my career experiences and tie them into why I think it would allow me to integrate into the position I am applying for. Even your non-traditional experiences and/or positions/experiences outside the relevant field (if you have any) can prove beneficial because it demonstrates that you have already been "outside the box" so to speak. For example, my wife was a paramedic for a number of years ... now that she is going into communications, she can rely on, and use that paramedic experience to demonstrate that not only could she save people on the rare chance that they might choke in the break room, but that she can obviously think calmly during high pressure situations with a lot riding on the outcome.

Successful Researcher: How to Become One said...

MH: second that!