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Tell me about yourself

 
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A killer question, so often the candidate is decided right here. How to win and create the first and the best impression with the interviewer? Suggest us some tips on how to start, how to carry on the good start and how to end up the question such that the following questions are more towards our strengths.

I know is very specific and it will depend on what the person had done in the past, but we can certainly list the do's and don'ts, can we? One of the interview tips collection I have gives the following suggestion for this question, unfortunately I don't know the author's name to quote him/her.


TRAPS: Beware, about 80% of all interviews begin with this �innocent� question. Many candidates, unprepared for the question, skewer themselves by rambling, recapping their life story, delving into ancient work history or personal matters.


BEST ANSWER: Start with the present and tell why you are well qualified for the position. Remember that the key to all successful interviewing is to match your qualifications to what the interviewer is looking for. In other words you must sell what the buyer is buying.

This is the single most important strategy in job hunting. So, before you answer this or any question it's imperative that you try to uncover your interviewer's greatest need, want, problem or goal.

To do so, make you take these two steps:

1.Do all the homework you can before the interview to uncover this person's wants and needs (not the generalized needs of the industry or company)

2.As early as you can in the interview, ask for a more complete description of what the position entails. You might say: �I have a number of accomplishments I'd like to tell you about, but I want to make the best use of our time together and talk directly to your needs. To help me do, that, could you tell me more about the most important priorities of this position? All I know is what I (heard from the recruiter, read in the classified ad, etc.)�

Then, ALWAYS follow-up with a second and possibly, third question, to draw out his needs even more. Surprisingly, it's usually this second or third question that unearths what the interviewer is most looking for. You might ask simply, "And in addition to that?..." or, "Is there anything else you see as essential to success in this position?

This process will not feel easy or natural at first, because it is easier simply to answer questions, but only if you uncover the employer's wants and needs will your answers make the most sense. Practice asking these key questions before giving your answers, the process will feel more natural and you will be light years ahead of the other job candidates you're competing with.

After uncovering what the employer is looking for, describe why the needs of this job bear striking parallels to tasks you've succeeded at before. Be sure to illustrate with specific examples of your responsibilities and especially your achievements, all of which are geared to present yourself as a perfect match for the needs he has just described.

Regards,
Srikanth
[ January 02, 2007: Message edited by: Srikanth Raghavan ]
 
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So where did you copy and paste this from. I found this exact same thing posted in countless places.

Eric
 
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I've read somewhere (search google to get any source) that interviewers decide in the first couple of minutes of the interview whether you have a chance or not...

So basically, after the first 5 minutes of an interview you can RELAX and SIT BACK, since your interviewer has already decided anyway!!
 
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Sitting back and relaxing is NOT a good idea.

It is true many people decide in 5 minutes. I've noticed I'll usually be 80% decided within 5-10 minutes (and I do open with "tell me about yourself" as i find it a very informative question to ask). However, what I do after I start leaning one way or another is to look for contrary evidence.

For example, let's suppose I get a guy who comes off as very smart and qualified. I'll skip the basic and medium technical questions and go to the hard ones. Then I'll try to find things on his resume that aren't what I expect for what I know about the candidate. Then I'll try to see if the candidate is a jerk who I wouldn't want to work with. I'll cotninue and if I can't find any problems, I go with my gut.

Liekwise if the candidate doesn't do well initially, I'll throw out a rope or two and see if there are redeeming qualities.

Remember, you are being interviewed from the time you step in the building to the time you leave it. (I have often asked my receptionist for input on the candidates behavior while s/he was in the lobby.)

--Mark
 
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I listen to 100+ Winning Answers to the Toughest Interview Questions audio book and it is relly helpfull.
 
Srikanth Raghavan
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Originally posted by Eric Pascarello:
So where did you copy and paste this from. I found this exact same thing posted in countless places.

Eric



Hi Eric,

I already said that I am quoting (copy pasted) it from an unknown source that I have.

Let me Copy Paste what I said from my original post for you:

I said: One of the interview tips collection I have gives the following suggestion for this question, unfortunately I don't know the author's name to quote him/her.



Thanks,
Srikanth
 
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Is it a good idea to include family background when asked 'TELL ME SOMETHING ABOUT YOURSELf' ?
 
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Originally posted by Kalpesh Jain:
Is it a good idea to include family background when asked 'TELL ME SOMETHING ABOUT YOURSELf' ?



I removed any mention of family, marital status, hobbies and the like from my resume a while ago. It was getting too lenghty as it is, and I figure there's enough professional detail to go by now. In my opinion, those other categories are for folks just starting out, i.e. fresh from college.
 
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Originally posted by Kalpesh Jain:
Is it a good idea to include family background when asked 'TELL ME SOMETHING ABOUT YOURSELf' ?



This is my first post at the Ranch so skewer it all you want.

I'm going through job search right now, and this is one of the things I have been cautioned about, but already knew. US companies are prohibited from asking personal questions such as "are you married," "how many children," "how old are you," "what kind of sports do you like," and you do not really want to open yourself to disqualification by mentioning something you consider "innocent" but that a potential employer could consider as "dangerous."

Keep it job related. However, if after the "formal" interviews they take you out for lunch or dinner, you will probably be encouraged to talk about your hobbies or family or school. Don't "relax" completely, you're still being interviewed, it's just not the technical portion anymore.

Good Luck.

- John
 
Mark Herschberg
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John is on target.

Certain it's illegal to ask questions about family situatons. You may volunteer that iformation, but why would you? At best, it's unprofessional, at worst, you scare off an potential employer who thinks "I don't want to hire someone with a newborn/ailing parents/etc."

I do often ask "what are your hobbies?" and I know some people who won't hire someone unless they have a life outside the office (on the belief that without such activities, a person will burn out). However, I would wait for the interviewer to bring it up.

--Mark
 
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Interviwers are not from Mars! Put yourself in an interviewers position and see if you enjoy somebody rambling about his personal life, irrelevant life history etc if you ask him to "tell me about yourself". What would you like to hear? Say the same thing when you are asked to..
 
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