I was recently interviewing and the toughest question they asked me was, “Tell me about yourself?” It totally threw me, and I lost my confidence after that question. How should I answer that question in the future? –Where to begin,
Dear Where to begin,
You are right, that is one of the toughest and most frequently asked questions to answer. The key is to go in prepared. Handling this question properly will definitely make you standout above your competition for the job! You have the opportunity to make a great first impression by coming across as well prepared, and confidant. You will also have the opportunity to sell them on why you are perfect for this job!
If you have a good understanding of the job description you should work through the questions listed in our featured article on, “Preparing for the Interview,” and put together a well thought out 2-3 minute commercial on who you are, and why you are the best person for this job. Let’s start by breaking your answer up into 3 easy parts:
1.Give a quick overview of your experience, skills & training. Use industry buzzwords that they are looking for, and numbers that measure your ability. Also list specific training, licenses, degrees, programs, or tools you use that would be important to his job.
“I have 5 years experience developing and administering a $75MMloan portfolio. I have completed formal credit training with …and I have completed my series 7,63,65 licenses. I call on high net worth clients who have over $1MM in assets and earn over $250K a year….”
2.Sell your successes & accomplishments. These are your selling points that make you stand out above your peer group. These should be easy to explain or illustrate, clearly showing how you impact the bottom line.
“Responsible for building credit card models using SAS in a UNIX environment. Accelerated model development through automation one program was worth more than $100,000/year in saved time; solved numerous technical problems – co linearity, eignen analysis NOINT models, validation, et al; and built the following models.”
3.Explain what you would like to do in the next step of your career. Make sure that you prepare this to match what they are looking for in this position.
“Moving forward I would love to continue to utilize the skills & expertise that I bring to the table…while having the opportunity to work for a leader in the industry, or for a strong independent bank…then list what they are looking for to solve a problem, to lead a team, to grow a department… make sure it is catered to what they have to offer.”
In conclusion, by arriving to an interview well prepared, you can take a difficult question to answer and turn it into an opportunity to give a clear picture of the skills & expertise that you bring to the table, how you can make a difference to their bottom line, and you have the opportunity to explain why you are interested in making a career move for this position.
— Good Luck, Headhunter
I have been with the same organization for the past seven years and due to several changes within our organization I am thinking about looking at new opportunities at this time. What is the best way to do that on a confidential basis?
Sincerely, Not sure how to proceed
Dear Not Sure,
That is a great question and every person that you ask will give you a different answer. There are several things you can do. First of all, start to talk to people in your network. They can be a great source for potential opportunities. Second of all, I would suggest working with an executive search firm that specializes in your industry.
They know which organizations are looking for someone with your talents.
They have developed long term relationships with the leaders in the industry. An executive recruiter is a must if you need to look confidentially. Executive recruiters can also assist you in assessing which companies have the culture, philosophy, and career potential that you are seeking.
Here is a list of questions to think about when considering looking at new opportunities:
What are you currently doing in your present job?
What do you like about your present position?
What do you not like about your present position?
Do you want to work for a major bank holding company, or a strong independent bank?
What would you look for in a new opportunity?
Why would you look at a new opportunity?
What type of culture and philosophy are you looking for in a new organization?
What products and services would best serve your current cliental?
Make sure before you move that the new organization has a commitment and/or an interest in working with your current network and cliental!
–Good Luck, Headhunter