When you’re asked, “Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?” during a job interview, you may be inclined to respond with a synopsis of your resume. But don’t, says entrepreneur Ketaki Desai in a recent LinkedIn post.
Once, during a mock interview with a professor, Desai offered that type of response. Her professor replied: “You are not your list of degrees and achievements. If that is all I wanted to know, I would have read your resume.”
That’s when Desai realised how “pathetically uninspired” her answer was.
“An interviewer’s job is to glean as much insight into the core values and beliefs of the candidate, so she can pick someone who is aligned well with the culture of the team and organisation,” Desai explains. When a job candidate dares to step out of their comfort zone of “repeating tried and tested information from their resume,” it not only shows innovation and enthusiasm, but it also makes the candidate memorable, she says.
That’s why her advice for responding to, “Tell me about yourself,” is to always give an honest, passionate answer. This will reveal more about you than a canned response, she says. And, when a hiring manager is interviewing hundreds of people and getting similar responses, “it is the interesting answers that stick.”
So, instead of letting the interviewer know where you went to school, what you majored in, where you’ve worked, and what you’ve accomplished in your professional life, talk about where you grew up, what you’re passionate about outside of work, your hobbies, your favourite books, and how you’ve applied what you learned in school or in previous jobs to real-world problems.
If you’re not sure whether your new introduction really highlights the real you, test it out, Desai suggests. The next time you are at a party, introduce yourself to a stranger. Tell them who you are, what defines your values, and what makes you tick. Then, go back to that person a few hours later and see if he or she remembers you or at least a part of your conversation. If they do, you’ve succeeded.
Click here to read the full LinkedIn post.
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