Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Job interviews: 'Tell me about yourself'

I was coaching a job hunter yesterday who had suffered a period of illness and is now seeking to return to the world of employment. He hasn't had a job interview for over a decade so, understandably, his interview skills are more than a little out of practice.

We did a mock interview and, as many interviewers do, I started by asking: 'tell me about yourself'.

In reply, he mentioned that he was a 'deeply spiritual' person.


A couple of weeks ago, another coachee answered the same question by talking about her childhood, where she had grown up, and how proud she was of her son.


Now. Neither of these answers are wrong per se. But if you've only got a limited amount of time with an interviewer, by talking about your personal life, you lose an opportunity to sell your experience and relevant skills. So always answer this question as if the interviewer had actually asked you: 'Tell me briefly about your professional experience and the relevant qualities that make you a strong candidate for this job.'