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“Why don’t you tell me about yourself?” is often the first question you’ll hear at an interview.It serves a very specific purpose, and it’s important that you answer it correctly. The recruiter is trying to figure out how you handle yourself in an “unstructured” situation, writes executive headhunter Russell S. Reynolds Jr. (with Carol E. Curtis) in a column at Fast Company.
He or she wants to see the impression that you’ll make with people on the job, and find out what things are important to you.
So how are you supposed to answer the question?
From Reynolds’ column:
“Most candidates ﬁnd this question a difﬁcult one to answer. However, the upside is that this question offers an opportunity to describe yourself positively and focus the interview on your strengths. Be prepared to deal with it.
“There are many ways to respond to this question correctly and just one wrong way: by asking, “What do you want to know?” You need to develop a good answer to this question, practice it, and be able to deliver it with poise and conﬁdence.
“The right response is twofold: focus on what interests the interviewer, and highlight your most important accomplishments.”
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