by Torski Dobson Arnold
I have been out of work now for about 18 months and consider myself to be pretty good during interviews. But even though I know that it’s coming, I always seem to get stumped by that one question: “Tell me a little about yourself.” What exactly is the interviewer looking for when they ask this question? Is it asked just to try and confuse you as a job seeker? Please help.
Experienced Job Seeker
The “tell me a little about yourself” inquiry has baffled even the most experienced and prepared job seekers. As a former human resources professional, I don’t think that employers are looking to trick you with this question. Instead, it has been my experience that hiring managers use this line of questioning as an ice-breaker to begin the interview process. Many HR colleagues will advise hiring managers and those interviewing to refrain from using this line of questioning as it could ignite potential legal issues based on interviewee responses.
Regardless of the intent, this question is still being used, so here are some pointers to keep in mind as you gather your thoughts to respond.
1. Keep it professional. Even though the question appears very generic on the surface, the interviewer really wants to know more about why you applied for the position, what brings you to her Company, and how your experience can help the company solve problems. Don’t get off track and offering personal information that should not be considered in the hiring decision.
2. Keep it brief. On average most interviewers ask somewhere between five and 12 questions during a typical interview. There is going to be plenty of opportunity to speak about the big project you worked on at your last job.
3. Keep it simple. This is a good tip for interviewing in general. Stay on topic. Catch yourself before you drift off in your responses and give too much detail. State the situation, what you did in the situation, and how your response generated favorable outcomes in the company by increasing revenue, customers, ratings, etc.
Wishing you only success, Torski Dobson Arnold, The Career Confidence Coach
Email questions to Torski@urbanviewsweekly.com