22Tell Me about Yourself

You've been applying for jobs for weeks or months. You've customized your resume, filled out endless online applications, written more cover letters than you thought possible, networked, asked for introductions, and taken a variety of skills and personality assessments, all with the hope of getting an interview.

Finally, the day comes, and a recruiter or HR representative reaches out to you to schedule an interview. You are excited, a little nervous, and prepared to make an impression, sound intelligent, and hopefully, win a job offer.

It sounds easy enough, right?

You put on our Sunday best, arrive early, bring a few paper copies of your resume, and wait for the interview to begin. After ushering you to the interview location, you are greeted, exchange pleasantries, and are ready to get down to business.

The first question the interviewer asks is, “Tell me about yourself.”

You freeze up, mumble through your answer, and your palms start to sweat. Your brain is racing a thousand miles a minute. Do they want information about your personal or professional life?

You wrack your brain for something smart to say and end up telling them about how you helped your previous employer save thousands of dollars/how you contributed to their success/or how you won “employee of the year.”

That is the best-case scenario.

Worst case? You tell some inane story about how you met your spouse on a dating app or how you recently lost 30 pounds.

Either way, open-ended questions ...

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