Smart Answers to
Tips for Clear Communication
Have clear beginnings and endings. Don't let your sentences run
together or trail off.
Avoid using vocal pauses and slang like um, uh, like, and
Plan what you want to communicate to the interviewer. (For
example, before speaking to an employer on the telephone or in person,
practice your introduction and greeting.)
Answer the question asked and volunteer relevant information.
Answer "the question behind the question": What is the interviewer
Don't use slang and other forms of poor English.
Beware of using too much industry jargon.
Telling Stories during Interviews
Think about how you can describe your experiences and
skill areas to an employer in the form of a story.
Explain the situation you were in (or the problem you
were responsible for), tell what action you took, and list the results.
Successful candidates can demonstrate "hands-on" action with results.
Prepare three or four examples of how you've used each
of the key skills you have identified.
"Tell Me About Yourself" - The Toughest Question in the Interview
By Don Straits, CEO and Dragon Slayer, Corporate Warriors
When you, as a job seeker, are asked the most common, and
toughest, interview question, "Tell me about yourself," your
answer can make or break you as a candidate. Usually job seekers
will respond with their "30 second commercial," and then elaborate
on their background. While almost every career book and career
counselor will tell you that is the appropriate response, I totally
Many people fail in their job search because they are too often
focused on what they want in a job including industry, type of
position, location, income, benefits, and work environment. Their
"30 second commercial" is centered around this premise. The
commercial describes the job seeker's career history and what they
are looking for. Too often, this is in direct contrast to what
employers are looking for.
There are two dominant reasons why job seekers are successful in
the job search. The first is focusing on the needs of the
organization. The second is focusing on the needs of the people
within that organization. In this article, we are going to examine
how to focus on the needs of the people within organizations. This
will assist in rethinking your response to that all-important
question, "Tell me about yourself."
In order to learn how to respond to the needs of the interviewer,
let's first learn more about ourselves. We can then apply that
knowledge about ourselves to knowing how to understand and respond
to the needs of others.
Most social psychologists recognize four basic personality
styles: Analytical, Amiable, Expressive, and Driver. Usually, each
of us exhibits personality characteristics unique to one of the
styles. However, we also possess characteristics to a lesser degree
in the other styles. To determine your unique style, you can take a
Myers-Briggs assessment or go to the following site for a free
Keirsey Temperament Sorter assessment test: www.keirsey.com
Here are the characteristics that are most commonly associated
with each of the styles:
Positive Traits: Precise, Methodical, Organized, Rational, Detail
Negative Traits: Critical, Formal, Uncertain, Judgmental, Picky
Positive Traits: Cooperative, Dependable, Warm, Listener, Negotiator
Negative Traits: Undisciplined, Dependent, Submissive, Overly
Positive Traits: Enthusiastic, Persuasive, Outgoing, Positive,
Negative Traits: Ego Centered, Emotional, Exploitive, Opinionated,
Positive Traits: Persistent, Independent, Decision Maker, Effective,
Negative Traits: Aggressive, Strict, Intense, Relentless, Rigid
Gaining an in-depth understanding of your personality style has
enormous value in your career as well as your personal life.
However, our focus today is learning how to use this knowledge to
make you more successful in your job search.
Once you have learned about your own style and have studied the
other styles, I encourage you to have a little fun in trying to
determine the styles of others. When you meet someone for the first
time, try to identify his or her style within the first two minutes.
You can often identify styles by observing a person's demeanor,
conversation, body language, appearance, and possessions.
To demonstrate what I mean, let's take some examples from the
business world. While there are always exceptions, generally
speaking the styles fit the example.
Analytical Style: Financial Manager (or programmers, engineers,
and accountants). They like systems and procedures. They are slow to
make decisions because they will analyze things to death—but their
decisions are usually very sound. They prefer working independently
and are usually not very good in team environments, but they are
also dependable. They buy cars with good resale value and great gas
mileage. They are conservative dressers. At the party, they want to
know why so much money was spent on Michelob when we could have
purchased Busch. They come to the party with their laptops.
Amiable Style: Human Resources Manager. Very people-focused. They
are dependable, loyal and easygoing; very compassionate. They will
give you the shirt off their backs and the last nickel in their
pockets. They are good listeners and value team players who don't
"rock the boat." They are usually conformists and followers—rarely
leaders. They avoid conflict and are not good decision makers. They
drive four-door sedans or mini-vans to take the kids to sporting
events. They usually clean up after the party is over.
Expressive Style: Sales Manager. Very outgoing and enthusiastic,
with a high energy level. They are also great idea generators, but
usually do not have the ability to see the idea through to
completion. Very opinionated and egotistical. Money motivated. They
can be good communicators. They prefer to direct and control rather
then ask and listen. They drive red convertibles with great stereos;
to heck with the gas mileage. They come up with the idea for a
company party, but never help clean up. They are on their way to
Driver: Corporate CEO. Intelligent, intense, focused, relentless.
They thrive on the thrill of the challenge and the internal
motivation to succeed. Money is only a measure of success; it is not
the driving factor. They are results/performance oriented. They have
compassion for the truly disadvantaged, but absolutely no patience
or tolerance for the lazy or whiners. They drive prestige cars, not
because the car attracts attention, but because it was a wise
investment. They want to know why we had a party; what were the
benefits of the party, and did we invite the banker?
Ok, now you are really getting some insight into your style and
the style of others. It is time for the interviews. Throw out your
30-second commercial. Think on your feet.
You will be interviewing with the human resource manager, the
finance manager, the sales manager, and the CEO. The first question
each of them will ask you is: "Tell me about yourself." How should
you respond? Remember the second reason for succeeding in a job
search: focus on the needs of the people in the organization. Here
are just a few examples of how to respond to that question:
"Tell me about yourself?"
Response to Finance Manager: "I have been successful in my career
by making well-thought-out decisions based on careful analysis of
all factors. I approach problems with logic and sound reasoning. I
would enjoy working with you in developing the appropriate systems
and procedures to make our two departments function efficiently
Response to Human Resource Manager: "My career has been
characterized by my ability to work well with diverse teams. I seek
out opportunities to involve others in the decision-making process.
This collaboration and communication is what has enabled me to
achieve success in my department. People are the most valuable
resource of any organization."
Response to Sales Manager: "Throughout my career I have always
adhered to the principle that everyone in the organization must be
sales-focused. My department is always trained in customer service,
providing outstanding support to the sales team and to our
customers. Without sales, the rest of use would not have a job. I
look forward to helping you drive sales in any way possible."
Response to CEO: "I have achieved success in my career because I
have been focused on the bottom line. I have always sought out
innovative solutions to challenging problems to maximize
profitability. Regardless of the task or challenge, I always
established benchmarks of performance and standards of excellence. I
have never sought to maintain the "status quo." An organization that
does not change and grow will die. I would enjoy working with you to
help define new market opportunities in order to achieve the
In each instance, we responded to the "needs of the individual."
It is almost guaranteed that, when you respond appropriately to the
diverse needs of the different managers, you will become the
standard by which all of the other candidates will be measured.
I challenge you to learn about your personality and leadership
style, learn about the styles of others, and learn how to think on
your feet when responding to questions. Whether you are seeking a
job or you are gainfully employed, by understanding the needs of
others you will become a more valuable person, employee, manager and
Appearance tips and advice -
How to dress for an interview.
How about the toughest Interview Question of
What salary are you looking for?