How to answer the toughest interview question

“So, tell me about yourself…”


From a hiring manager’s perspective, what you share tells me a lot about you as a person. At this point, you don’t need to tell me more about what you’ve done professionally. I’ll continue to ask more specific questions about this if I need to know more. I’ve already reviewed your resume, application, and LinkedIn profile. You have already met the job requirements well enough or we wouldn’t be at this point. Now I want to know more things about who you are, more personally speaking.

What are your strengths, values, interests? What motivates you? What are your priorities? What is it like to work with you? How do you make decisions? What kind of employee are you and how well would you fit in with other members of my team?
The more you share with me, the better I’ll know you and the better hiring decision I’ll make. I want the candidate who is the best fit for the job, work group, and company culture. There are many factors that go into this decision. How well you can do the job may be the most important, but there are other valuable qualities. This is your opportunity to share more about you. What makes you unique? Why should I consider you first and foremost? You need to sell yourself, but be cautious while doing it. This shouldn’t be a long narrative.

When you communicate and articulate your strengths, it tells me how well you know yourself. It shows me if you are confident and secure. When you share your values, I can see if they match our mission and vision to ensure we are on the same page and looking to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes. It helps me to see that we have similar priorities and will probably make a strong team. It helps both of us if I learn your strengths to cultivate and develop them, to help you grow professionally.

At this point, I’m looking for four or five of your most important strengths and values. Summarize these in an authentic way that truly tells me about you, not the canned version that is what you think I want to hear. Trust me, I know the difference.

Contact me for a Career Portfolio Session to work on defining your strengths and values so that you can articulate them the next time you are asked the toughest interview question. We’ll create a robust personal statement you can use as you share your true self while pursuing your next opportunity.

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