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Once you get the job interview for that positon you are pursuing, it’s your time to shine. The preparation that needs to be put into preparing for that interview can feel almost like a second job. That’s how much research, practice and reflection should go into each poistion you apply and interview for. They like you on paper, so now this is your opportunity to show the employer how you react and present yourself face-to-face.

The First Interview Question

The first question many employers ask during a job interview may be the hardest for some job seekers to answer—correctly and confidently, that is.

The interviewer briefly looks down at your resume, looks you in the eye, and says, “Tell me a little bit about yourself.”

This can be the best question you can get in an interview or the worst if you’re not prepared to answer it. The next five minutes is crucial! You don’t want to read (or recite) word-for-word what you’ve written on your resume. The hiring employer can read and should be familiar with what’s there already (not always the case).

Instead, take this opportunity to highlight some points on your resume; explain your thought processes for decisions you’ve made in school, in your career and in your personal development.

Demonstrate how your decisions have moved you toward your career goals. And, prove you have excellent verbal and interpersonal communication skills—a quality that employers always look for in job candidates.

In five minutes—that’s all the time you should take to answer this question—you can offer interesting details about what’s printed on that little piece of paper—and give your interviewer a glimpse of your abilities while opening the door to a discussion of the skills and talents you can bring to the workplace.

Things You May Want To Include

  1. Open with a great one-liner. For example, “I am extremely fortunate to be in a profession that is also my passion.” Right off the bat, you grabbed their attention, now keep the momentum moving.
  2. How has your professional career prepared you for this position. Here, you can mention the various or “diverse” experiences you have had in the field. Showing the range of adaptability can say you are able to adjust to new settings. Make that a strength.
  3. How has your educational career prepared you for this position. Show the extent of your education, be it short or long, but turn it into a strength. Show it as a learning experience.
  4. What steps have you taken to further your personal and professional development. Employers love to see that you value self improvement. You may want to mention that “learning is a life long process.” Then explain why you value learning.
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28 Comments »

Comment by Pastry shoes
2007-05-04 10:49:17

nice simple advice…I like it..especially the opening line about being passionate about what you do.

Comment by Study Tips
2007-05-18 01:53:30

Yes its nice if you can get a job like that. I have had a number of different jobs, and only recently found myself doing what I wanted to do, as opposed to just working to pay the bills.

You spend the majority of your waking life at work, its important to find something you are happy with… though for most people that may not be achievable… work after all is work…..

 
 
Comment by Jeff Kee
2007-05-04 10:55:16

Last time I got an interview question I couldnt’ answer, I just jumped onto the table and started dancing and stripping. Got the job. :)

Do not listen to me, I’m not the author of this blog, merely a commentator who tosses in dumb ideas here and there that should not be taken into consideration, and I am not liable for any of your losses.

 
Comment by Make Money Blogging!
2007-05-04 11:55:42

I always have trouble with this, I just can’t talk about myself, in my mind if I say anything good I’m being conceited, which doesn’t bode well with me.

Then again you have to say what you have to say to get the job.

Dylan

Comment by Study Tips
2007-05-18 01:57:24

I am a bit like that, but you just have to get over it. You learn that other people are over selling themselves, and, that if you under sell yourself you often see some lamer take a job you would be better qualified for….

In interviews you have to sell your skills and abilities, that isn’t to say you have to exaggerate or put too much spin on things… but if you are able to offer something to the company…. make sure they know about it….

 
 
Comment by Seo Blog
2007-05-04 12:06:13

It definitely is the most simple questions that trip me up. “Why do you want this job?” is one that tends to catch me off guard.

Great advice though. Passion is loved by employers everywhere.

Comment by Study Tips
2007-05-18 01:54:57

Do you answer

“for the money”

Job interview suicide that is ;-)

Assuming money is not the only motive for applying its normally an easy question to answer…. if money is the only incentive, you need a bit of spiel prepared!!

 
 
Comment by Free SEO Tips
2007-05-04 14:07:18

Hahaha, if you said it too much WITHOUT meaning it, I think the interviewer can smell you a mile away =P.

Real passion = real effort => no need to try hard and lie about it ;).

 
Comment by SEO Tips
2007-05-04 14:09:36

Seems like my comment didn’t go through argg…happen to first time commentator every ‘time’ huh?

By the way, Jane, you should go into the header.php file and remove “Blog Archive” in your tag, as it kinda reduced your SEO effort.

Comment by Study Tips
2007-05-18 02:01:11

I dont know why wordpress templates use the titles they do… they almost all need switching around, I thingk the i-theme is the only one I have seen with decent titles ready to go….

 
 
Comment by Community Building Blog
2007-05-04 14:21:06

My favourite question is always, ‘What are your weaknesses?’.

I don’t think I have ever had an interview without this one coming up, and consequently I am well versed in my response!

- Martin Reed

Comment by Study Tips
2007-05-18 01:49:10

I hate that one, its a real pain, interviews are a bit a false process IMO, I think most employers recognize this and use a variety of methods nowerdays, but that question still persists….

 
 
Comment by Gary Lee
2007-05-04 16:32:06

With no accounting experience, I used this line to land me a job at a entertainment accounting firm in LA - “Look, I know I don’t have much experience, but look at me as a clump of clay you can mold into an accounting machine!” Next thing I know, I’m doing accounting for B-Class actors all over hollywood!

Oh . the worst question i ever got that i couldn’t answer was back in college - “What fruit would you be and why?”

Comment by Study Tips
2007-05-18 02:05:31

What did you say to that?

I would be quite irritated if someone asked me that. If it was for a job as a creative writer, or possibly sales (where the ability to bull$%*! on the fly is required) then maybe its relevant, but if that was for a role in accountancy I think I would tell them I thought it was irrelevant…..

 
 
Comment by Andy
2007-05-04 17:29:44

Yea, I’d have to agree. The most simple questions are the ones that get to ya. I remember my interview days, I used to get really worried and nervous.
Imortant tip: do some background reasearch on the compay thats gonna interview ya.

 
Comment by zoid
2007-05-05 06:27:11

Advices are nice. The easy questions are hard to answer ones.

 
Comment by Merija - Taste of life
2007-05-05 07:07:44

I think useful advices… That’s could be true,that simple questions might be not so easy… and they might be the reason of failure

 
Comment by Asian Girls
2007-05-05 07:23:49

Woo! Thank you so much for the opening one-liner. I’ll be using that! I’m in the hospitality business and that’ll be an awesome start to an interview.

 
Comment by Ja Kel Daily Dot Com
2007-05-05 23:24:28

How has your educational career prepared you for this position? Five years of beer drinking prep, now I assure you my drinking will not interfere with my professionalism at work.

 
Comment by Best CD Rates
2007-05-05 23:30:35

hehe the one liner sounds a bit cheesy to me :P

Comment by Study Tips
2007-05-18 01:59:36

It is cheesy, but interviews often are…. a lot of interviewers are not very imaginative and look for a bit of ‘padding’.

I bet a lot of them now lift half their questions of career ramblings anyway haha, just read here and stay ahead of them ;-)

 
 
Comment by Richard
2007-05-06 03:41:12

Pretty good advice overall but I would add one more suggestion
Many people dont realize that its OK to invlove the interviewer more. When you’re asked to tell about yourself, Ive found, and have advised my clients, to ask what they want to know.

Comment by Study Tips
2007-05-18 01:51:57

I agree, it is possible for the interviewee to take some control over the process, and, many employers actually look for that ability.

Also, a lot of job opportunities are over sold, I had a problem recently after taking a job that was not as described, I left after a few weeks, during the next job interview I was a lot more probing in terms of what the role would deliver…. tactful of course….

 
 
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2007-05-07 06:37:01

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2007-05-07 21:26:17

[...] Career Ramblings - This is one of my favorite blogs. It is run by Jane May and John Anthony, and they discuss various aspects of your professional life, finances, personal development, etc. It’s a good read, good learning. John Anthony focuses more on the business person’s perspective, while Jane May has it all figured out on how to survive and excel in a corporate employed environment. [...]

 
Comment by Team Tutorials
2007-05-15 06:14:55

Every interview question sucks.

 
Comment by Study Tips
2007-05-18 01:46:51

Yeah that question can be a real pain, but TBH if you go to an interview un-prepared you are asking for trouble….

I got caught off guard by “what were your best professional achievements in the last 6 months” I did not answer that one well, but it was a lesson learned….

 
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