How do you deal with an open-ended question in a job interview? Where do you start? How much do you say? Here is an example of one of the most daunting (and likely) open-ended interview questions you could be asked, and how you can prepare for it.
Preparing for an interview? Putting together a job search strategy?
If so, one of the most dreaded directives you will hear from your interviewer is: Tell me about yourself.
The best way to avoid the anxiety around being asked that question is to prepare for it well.
Mindful preparation will actually have you looking forward to the opportunity to share some positive things about who you are and why you are a perfect fit for the position.
The first thing to remember is that because this is an open-ended question, you could talk for hours in response. Obviously, the interviewer doesn’t want to hear you talk for hours!
So it’s important to be well-versed in your answer, to make it concise and articulate, and most importantly, to customize your answer to fit the job description for the position you are interested in.
How do you customize your answer? You reverse engineer it.
So, if the job description indicates they need someone who is organized, has great communication skills, and is a self-starter, your responses to this question should demonstrate that you possess these qualities.
With the job description as your guideline, you will now come up with one behavioral story, and three key things you are most proud of about yourself.
If you aren’t familiar with the term behavioral story, I’ll explain.
A behavioral story is an instance that illustrates how you, in real life, handled a situation.
So, using the example job description specifics mentioned above, let’s say you took the initiative to organize the community work space in a previous job. This is a perfect behavioral story, because it demonstrates that you are a self-starter, and that you have organizational skills. Give a few details about how you labeled everything and set it up so your co-workers could easily keep everything in its proper place. That’s a type of communication, so now you’ve covered all the qualities mentioned above.
Follow the same protocol for the three things you are proud of about yourself.
Let’s say, for instance, you like that your friends and co-workers come to you for advice when they are having a conflict with someone because you are such a great communicator. Maybe you enjoy the fact that you take a breath of satisfaction every time you walk through your front door because of how neat and tidy you keep your personal space. And you appreciate that you never have to wait for someone else to tell you how to solve a problem since you love doing research and finding the answers for yourself.
Voila’! Now the three things you’re most proud of about yourself are perfect testimonies to your well-suited skillset.
And now, you can add to that list that you are great at preparing for job interviews!
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