If you have ever been on a job interview the odds are you were asked this open-ended, break-the-ice question, which is often the first one asked. Now if you worked with a resume writer/job coach like me, inwardly you would be jumping for joy because the exercises used to prepare your resume also prepared you to knock this out of the park.
However as a recruiter and hiring authority I was shocked at how many people were caught off guard when asked this question and how many struck out in my evaluation of them before the interview even started. After all, this question is a slow pitch lobbed right over the heart of the plate and I expected them to hit a home run, or at the very least to make contact and get on base.
OK I admit it, I am a huge baseball fan and the division playoffs begin this week.
So now that I got my baseball metaphors out of my system my advice to all of you is “expect to be asked this question and be fully prepared to offer the proper response.” After all this is not really a question, it is a request for information and your reply will set the tone for the balance of the interview.
How do you reply?
1: First off keep your reply as brief as possible, not less than 60 seconds but no more than 2 minutes. Remember this is generally the beginning of an interview so you have ample opportunity to present relevant information later on.
2. Write your answer out and rehearse it until it comes out sounding natural and unrehearsed.
3. Be aware of your body language. Keen interviewers judge you by eyeballing you as well as listening to what you have to say.
4: Your reply must offer the following personality traits that employers look for no matter what level job you’re applying for: intelligence, enthusiasm, confidence and professionalism.
5: Present yourself in a positive yet humble way and by all means avoid sounding negative, cocky or braggadocios.
6: If you ever heard a politician or professional interviewed in person, on TV or the radio you will know that most reply with the same opening line, and you may want to adapt it in your response by saying, “That’s a very good question, where should I start,” and then go into your prepared spiel.
7: When you are done, politely throw the ball back into the interviewer’s court in a way that puts you on a more equal footing as the interview moves forward.
What do interviewers want to hear? + More Tips and Complete Article