Also known as “The World’s Most Ambiguous Interview Question…Ever”.
You walk into a small, yet comfortable office space and take a seat at the desk. The hiring manager looks you up and down from the other side of the desk, shakes your hand, and says, “Nice to meet you. Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?”
Boom. He just got right down to business.
Normally you would clam up, frantically trying to figure out how to answer this ambiguous question. But not today.
How you answer this question is very important because it:
We’re here to help you prepare a proper response. Let’s get started.
Employers and hiring managers are generally looking for several things when they ask this question. They want to:
We’re here to help you figure out the best response to this interview question.
The DO NOT’s:
Now we’ll run through some examples of how to properly respond to the world’s most ambiguous interview question, and how you shouldn’t respond to it.
Let’s pretend that you’re applying for a new business analyst job. Here are some examples of how to properly answer this interview question:
Response Example 1
“Well—I’ve been working for the past five years as a business and data analyst with IBM in Raleigh, North Carolina. During that time I’ve undergone multiple training courses, earned a number of certifications, and gained extensive software knowledge.”
Response Example 2
“To generally describe myself, I would say I’m a hard working individual that has gained a lot of skills over the course of the six years I’ve been working in the business analyst industry. I’ll share a quick story with you that further explains what I can bring to the table for your company.”
Response Example 3
“I’m now looking to take my career to the next level. After being in the field for ten years, I feel I’m ready to take control of an entire team and to embrace the difficult role of being the next business development director for your company.”
And just like that, you’ve conquered the savage, ambiguous question that used to plague you in job interviews. If you’re a recent college graduate, with almost no work experience, you can still answer the question successfully using these examples.
Instead of discussing what you’ve accomplished at previous jobs, discuss what you learned and accomplished in your internships and throughout your college career.
Give examples, or tell a story that mentions your unique skills and what you’ve learned so far in school.
Let’s say that you’re applying for a new nursing position.
“Well — I was born in Dallas, Texas. I’m the first of seven children raised on an armadillo farm. I love animals, and people are okay.”
Uh oh. You just started rambling, and while doing so you began discussing irrelevant personal details of your life. The details you’re explaining don’t have anything to do with the job you’re applying for. Oh, and you’re boring the employer to death already.
I attended Rocksburg University, graduated with my nursing degree, and now I’m here, desperately searching for a job. I live over in the East Cheshire apartments off Highway 86. I’m a huge wine connoisseur. I attended 39 wine sampling events last month. I almost never drink reds though. I also love cooking. If you have a favorite type of cake, I can whip it up in no time.”
The employer does not care where you live…at all. It’s also inappropriate to talk about your love for alcohol here. And, the employer doesn’t want a cake from you — at this point they just want the interview to be over.
“I feel I’m the perfect candidate for the new nursing position here even though I have no prior work experience. I know how to take blood, monitor patients, and I have excellent people skills. If you give me a chance, I’ll prove I’m the perfect candidate for the job.”
You only began to discuss your relevant skills in the last section of your answer. That’s not good. Your entire answer should have been riddled with skills and experiences that would aid you in being successful at the job you’re applying for.
Wow. That was rough. You almost successfully integrated all of the DO NOT’s from up above.
Go out into the real, job-filled world and spread those wings baby. Now you know how to answer this wide open question, as well as how not to answer it.
Remember to prepare your response. Prepare multiple responses. Just make sure that you’re prepared. Practice your answer until you’re extremely confident.
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