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Interviewing? “So, Tell me about yourself.”

June 9, 2011

Yes, one of the most simplest of questions, but definitely one of the hardest to answer.  Why, you ask?  Because every audience is different.  You have to be to “think on the fly,” and come up with the best answer at that time, for that audience, and taking into account what they

need to hear.

For example, what if you are at your potential new office for the interview?  Starbucks for coffee?  TGIFs for dinner?

More examples – What if you’re interviewing with a Recruiter?  The Hiring Manager?  Someone who just flew in from out-of-town to help with the interviewing?

Even more examples – What if you are in a conference room?  Out in the lobby?  On the noisy shop floor?

Could there even be more examples – What if you’re being interviewed by 1 person?  What about 4?  What about in front of your competition?

But wait, there’s more … examples – What if your interviewer only has a few minutes?  What if your interview day is more like speed dating than an actual 1-2 hour interview?

Do you see where I’m going with this?  And yes, all of these have happened to me.  A canned response will not work.  It must be tailored to the person, the environment, and the need at the time.

You think, hey, this would be a great time for my pitch, or my elevator speech?  Maybe.  Or maybe, you need to be well versed with 3 different versions of yourself, so you are comfortable, and can perform under any condition?

What works for me will not work for you, BUT THE APPROACH WILL.

APPROACH (1) might be your typical elevator speech:

Hi, my name is Aidan Foley.  I’m a Mechanical Design Engineer with 15+ years of producing results in Aerospace, Defense, and Aviation.  My best strength is being that of being a smoke jumper for those hot issues that need immediate attention and resolution.  I have been recognized with a U.S. Patent for my efforts on the blade fold program for the Apache Longbow helicopter in support of the 2nd Iraq War.  I’m cost-effective, dependable, a great communicator, and a leader with high integrity.  I’m targeting your senior level Mechanical Design Engineer position because I also have expertise in Control Account Managing functions which I believe will be a real asset on your new ??? program.  What do you think?

APPROACH (2) can be done by grabbing my fingers as I explain them to the interviewer,  and to also help with remembering them:

[Pinky finger] – I’m Cost Effective.  For example,  …

[Ring finger] – I’m Dependable.  For example, …

[Middle finger] – I’m a great Communicator.  For example, … (please, no comments necessary)

[Index finger] – I’m a Situational Leader.  For example, …

[Thumb] – Lastly, I have High Integrity.  For example, …

APPROACH (3) might be whimsical, and off the cuff:

Well, I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and dog gone it, people like me.  😉

Thanks for taking the time to read this.  Feel free to add a comment below.  Thanks again!

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