How To Answer The Inevitable Interview Question: ‘Tell Me About Yourself’

It seems that just about every job candidate waits on pins and needles for a single and inevitable moment in the interview … that moment when the interviewer says, “So, tell me about yourself.”

It strikes fear in the hearts of fine jobseekers everywhere. In reality, though, the question is an excellent opportunity for job candidates to shine. It is just a matter of choosing, adopting and owning a strategy that highlights the candidate’s finest qualities, experiences and goals with confidence — without coming across as arrogant.

The Winning Answer Strategy

Are you facing a series of interviews with hiring managers who probably can’t wait to learn more about you via a disarmingly pointed question?

If you are, there is no reason to worry — you can handle this.

With the right strategy, you can ace this question, relieving you from stress and self-doubt while giving you handy tools to help you communicate important background information and desired professional traits for the interviewer that are essential to the position.

The Present-Past-Future Formula

Some time ago, recruiting professionals recognized the struggle that jobseekers consistently face when the “tell me about yourself” question occurs. Over the years, the present-past-future formula has become a leading strategy recommended to earnest job candidates by hiring professionals.

The formula is perfect because it provides you with a simple, three-part “script.” It is concise, comprehensive, easy to remember, and sure to fill you with confidence — which is often more than half the battle.

Most importantly, this strategy gives recruiting managers a panoramic image of who you are, how you work, and what your goals are — especially related to their organization — in a three-point snapshot.

Take a look at a few good present-past-future samples to get an idea of what might work for you:

  • I currently work for a small business — with a staff of 30 — as the office manager. The whole team is fantastic, but I feel like I’m ready — and incredibly eager — to take on a busier office environment. Since you house 150 employees at this location alone, I think it is the perfect place for me to up my game.
  • After receiving my communications degree, I knew I wanted to work in public relations. While searching for the perfect job, I worked as a server for a catering company where I made many great connections, including my last employer that owned an advertising agency. Although I have learned the finer points of marketing and advertising at my current position, I crave the experience of managing talent’s public images. I believe I could become a solid and reliable resource for your local media and sports clients.

While the second sample was not in the official order, it still hit all the same points of present, past and future. Mix it up, but make sure that it is something you can easily tap into.

A bad example might look like the following:

  • • I have worked at my current job as a receptionist for three years and have built some good relationships. I learned a lot, too. In my spare time, I paint in watercolors and run long distance. I think I can easily learn the ropes here and help as an executive assistant.

This answer does not work for a number of reasons — including the issue that the answer seems disjointed, unprepared and disinterested. The interviewer might wonder whether this person had not prepared well or simply did not want the job.

Do You Need More Help Preparing for Important Job Interviews?

Do you feel like your job interview answers sound a little robotic, uncertain or insincere? If you are having problems with any phase of the interviewing process, our recruiting team at Whitman Associates is here to help hone your skills. We are happy to sit down with you to work out strategies tailored to your strengths and comforts while helping you avoid any pitfalls.

Contact us today to talk about interviewing issues, any of our listed jobs that interest you, or whatever else we can do to help you land your dream job.

How To Write The Perfect Job Description To Attract The Most-Qualified Candidates

Is it once again time to write a job description for a recently vacated or created position in your organization? Regardless, you may be exploring ways to maximize your job posting to attract the most-qualified candidate as effectively and quickly as possible.

By blending the facts you know about the position with some new strategies for conveying that information to awaiting candidates, you can certainly streamline the job description writing process.

First, Determine What You Want Your Job Posting to Accomplish

Following are five key points that you want your job post to accomplish, regardless of the nature of the position:

  1. It sells the position and your organization by sharing key information about both.
  2. It provides a list of technical requirements, soft skills and personality traits candidates need to prove they obtain.
  3. It homes in on candidates who will quickly adjust to their position and corporate culture by providing details about their respective nature. For example, more introverted job candidates may skip applying for the position if they see your company prides itself on its highly interactive culture.
  4. It is friendly and welcoming to anyone considering the role, whether a particular ad reader is ultimately the right candidate or not.
  5. It offers clear instructions on how and where to apply, along with the application deadline.

4 Steps to Writing an Effective Job Description

Review these four tips to see if they might help you enhance, debug or fully revamp your job description writing process to get the results you want:

  1. Define and summarize the position. In this step, you will gather the most vital information about the position. Set up a meeting with the department manager, requesting that he or she provides as much overarching information about the job as possible, as well as five or six day-to-day functions of the role. Here, you have the chance to paint a vivid portrait of the position for prospective candidates.
  2. List and clarify all experience and qualifications needed. It is important to let candidates know your requirements for a position early in the description, so they can either move on to the next posting or settle in to learn more about your organization and the job. List necessary qualifications — which may include the level of education completed, previous experience in the field, required certifications obtained and maintained, computer languages, data entry proficiency, writing and editing, and anything else crucial to performing the position and adding value to your business.
  3. Provide a detailed list of responsibilities and duties. Expanding on the overview of daily functions you provided in the summary, give potential candidates a more precise idea of what the job entails. For example, let candidates know whether their job is more teamwork-focused, or if they will regularly work independently. Additionally, let readers know how their position works within the larger framework of their department and the organization. This context informs prospects of the value that your organization places on their responsibilities.
  4. Use bullet points, numerical lists and strategic keywords for easy eye-scanning. Just like you end up reviewing multiple resumes and applications, your potential candidates spend countless hours reading through job boards, social media posts and employment forums. Putting the same volume of information into a tidy list is easier on the eyes for you and candidates. Also, make sure to use keywords germane to the position and the prospective candidates’ possible qualifications. For example, if you are a recruiter with an accounting firm and need a new accounting professional, season your job description with keywords such as “CPA”, “financial professional”, “certified public accountant” and “auditor”.

Would you like additional tips to tackle a particularly tricky job description in your queue? No matter what you need, our recruiting team at Whitman Associates features nearly five decades of collective recruiting success to help streamline your process and connect you with well-suited candidates.

Take the next step by calling (202) 659-2111 or filling out our staffing request form.

Referral Bonus!

Whitman Associates, Inc. (WAI) would like to thank you for all of your hard work and continued support. With that being said, if you know of anyone who is looking for work, please let them know about Whitman! Whether they are between jobs, trying to get their foot in the door, new to the area or wanting to try out a company before committing, WAI would love to help them find that perfect job!

To show our appreciation for your thinking of us and referring your friend, WAI will treat you and your referral to a free coffee from Starbucks once your referral starts working! In addition, you have the opportunity to receive a $50 Amazon Gift Card!

The entire WAI team is immensely grateful for your outstanding efforts and we look forward to meeting your referrals!

An Unexpected Transformation: How To Move From Temp To Full-Time

In 2018, employers have greater access than ever before to an incredibly large pool of candidates. As a result, an increasing number of employers are embracing the luxury of taking their time to find the perfect new team member via hiring people on a temporary basis prior to offering permanent, full-time employment. While this may seem disappointing for those seeking full-time employment, that doesn’t have to be the case. As David Shindler, an employability specialist, explains: “It’s a two-way street, as employers can see how you perform and how you fit in. I know of people who have had jobs created for them as a result of the impact they have made.”

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Social Media And Professional Networking: Two Peas In A Pod

It can be so easy to place one’s social media profiles into separate buckets. Use Facebook to connect with old classmates and family. Log onto Snapchat to send rapid-fire messages to close friends and Twitter to demonstrate one’s cleverness in 140 characters. Use LinkedIn to…network? “Networking is speaking to an individual in the hope of learning about them and potentially helping them…It’s about learning and helping,” according to Michael Goldberg, an author, networking expert, and adjunct professor at Rutgers University. But is it possible to successfully network via social media?

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Building Authentic Relationships With Employees, And Why It Matters

Every business depends on fresh ideas and innovation to grow. Where does innovation come from, if not a team of dedicated, trusted employees? But trust and dedication aren’t built into the workplace. These qualities must be earned by every employer, and that’s only possible by building authentic relationships with the people who comprise your team.

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