“So, tell me a little bit about yourself” – don’t you just hate that question! Unfortunately, there’s no escaping that going through the interview process. Just try to search for the “most common interview questions” and you’re bound to find that question in the top 10; and my personal experience confirms my findings. Ironically, very few are cable of answering that question without choking. Given how frequent we get to be asked that question, I’m still surprised we haven’t mastered the answer.
For you to be able to give a compelling reply to this question, you first need to understand your brand thoroughly. How can you expect to sell anything to anyone if you don’t know the product or service you’re selling? The same applies to your brand! Therefore, you need to think long and hard of who you really are and what makes you unique. Always remember that there are two sides to every coin; how you see yourself and how others perceive you. Self-exploration requires of you to keep an open mind and not take yourself too seriously, that’s the only way you’ll learn more about the real you. Aside from 360 assessments and strength finder tools, I strongly recommend you give this book a try: “The Question Book – What Makes You Tick” by Krogerus & Tschäppeler. As the back cover clearly notes, the book “asks all the questions you’ve ever wanted to ask someone – and you never asked yourself”. The extraction phase of personal branding demands a lot of patience, but the gem you unearth will be worth your while. Now you have tons of material to use in formulating the answer to that inevitable question you’re bound to face in every interview.
Think of your answer as a movie preview – a customizable one at that. You can’t expect to expose the whole movie in the trailer, but you have to be able to earn the attention of the viewer enough to make them want to watch the whole movie. This is where customization of the trailer comes into play. Just like any movie, it usually has several different trailers that reveal different snippets of the movie intended to attract different viewers. Similarly, your reply should be customized to meet the requirements of the person pausing the question. The key thing to remember here is that the movie staring “you” is one and the same; you’re simply presenting in a different light according the situation.
Here’s my advice: prior to any interview, read more about the company itself and the job in question. Highlight keywords found in the company values and job description that match your own (unveiled in the self-discovery process described earlier). Now use those common elements to customize your trailer and a kick off that interview with a jaw-dropping performance that will keep them on the edge of their seats for the rest of the movie.
And like I always say, “You Shy, You Die!”
This article was first posted in YOUnique newsletter as part of my monthly column dedicated to help graduates stand out from the crowd and take control of their career legacy.