Monday, November 10, 2014

Tell Me About Yourself

"So tell me about yourself" These five simple words that have the capability of messing up your interview right from the start. This one question strikes fear, dry mouth, increased heart palpitations and not to mention unsightly sweat in all the wrong places in even the most capable applicants.

Where do you start? Do you go back to the early days? Are they really interested in “…it all started in a small town just outside of Waco Texas” or the more boring “I don't think you can read my resume so let me repeat everything that is written on it”. Which is akin to reading every slide in a presentation in case people can’t see or read. The third alternative is to just rattle on and on about how “I am the greatest thing since sliced bread and any company would be lucky to have me” speech. 

Well I know there is a much better alternative to the painful suggestions made by most recruiters. You see, when someone asks you tell them about yourself what they are really trying to do is answer a very simple set of questions in their mind:"What's in it for me to hire you?’ ‘What should I pay you for that will make me more money?’ And lastly, ‘Do I need your skills and if I so, do I like you enough to believe that you will be a good fit with everyone else that works here?" 

You see I believe that before you can answer any of these questions you need to be comfortable enough to understand exactly what are you good at, and what skills you possess that someone should pay you for. As you prepare for an interview ask yourself what kind of people you work best with and do they exist where you are applying? Secondly, is your conflict resolution style compatible with the firm you are hoping to be hired by? And lastly, if you could describe the perfect day of activities that you will be required to do does it match the job description? Seems simple enough, yes? Write it down, it will provide clarity. I have received countless feedback from those that I mentor despite how simple these questions seem they provide great clarity.  

Far too many people fall into the trap of describing themselves in terms of their CV or Resume, which in my opinion is nothing more than a trip itinerary of jobs. Seriously I always ask my clients and those I mentor, "Is that the single best document to describe who you are, what you are good at and why someone should hire you?" I sincerely doubt it and in all my years of asking the question nobody has ever said yes it is! But we still use the conventional resume...well I have a different I idea for you in how to revamp your resume and how to answer the dreaded question.  

In my book, "How to hire the perfect Employer", I outline how you can go about building your own infomercial so that when asked the question "Tell me about yourself" you will have rock solid pitch that will ensure that the employer will be able to figure out whether they need your skills and want you as in your personality and character.  So, for those that have not read the book, what does an infomercial look like? Let me share my infomercial with you, the one that I use every time I go on a pitch for new business. 

When asked the dreaded questions, I start by saying; "I am trusted advisor to CEOs, Department heads and managers of financial services organizations. I work with them in helping execute their plans by doing recruiting, consulting and coaching"I then continue to tell them that throughout my career I have hired over 900 people while I was at CIBC and BMO. I was responsible for numerous strategic initiatives both in their creation and execution. Lastly, I have mentored and coached numerous people that have gone on to great heights. I am collaborative in my conflict resolution style and the perfect day for me is doing all three of the above mentioned in my infomercial, working on finding good people, advising clients on how to improve their businesses and lastly but most importantly coaching people into finding the perfect fit in employment for them. 

The perfect employer for me is someone who is first and foremost seeking a trusted advisor with my background and experience. IF they are just looking for a Head Hunter to show them CV's then I direct them to the many other firms that do that for a living the way the client wants it done.With this clear understanding of my strengths and what I offer to each client I work with, I approach the dreaded ‘Tell me about yourself’ question with ease…. 
‘Let me tell you about myself, I am a trusted advisor to CEOs….”

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