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"Tell me about yourself"


Business and Professional Relationships Networking and maintaining a positive environment in the work place is important! Surviving the 9-to-5 within.

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Old 16th January 2015, 10:40 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by smg15 View Post
I honestly think it's a lazy question by the interviewer

When I interview people I ask it because it's one of those Qs where I don't really care about the answer unless the person says something so boneheaded I know I will never hire them.

Ex: I actually had one person tell me they enjoy webchatting on cam in the nude. On a personal level, I didn't care. On a professional level, nothing else that person said to me & no matter what their resume said mattered because they had no sense of boundaries or what is appropriate in the work place.
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Old 16th January 2015, 7:24 PM   #17
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I occasionally ask this question and do so under two circumstances: the interview is going badly because I can't seem to find a spark of life or any personality in the interviewee OR I've got a number of good candidates, this is one of them and I'm trying to see what personality fits the best.


What am I looking for? Something about you! I want to know if you like to ski and why, for goodness sake. Is it the thrill of going down the mountain, is it something you did with your dad, is it because you grew up in the north and there was nothing else to do in the winter.


When interviewers ask this question, they're looking for a hint at your personality. I don't want to hear about how well you did in grad school, what you liked about your last job, or how you volunteer on weekends, unless it says something about YOU. What I'm really trying to gauge is, "will you fit in?"


When this question elicits the failed response of, "Well, I really like marketing so I took two extra classes in it in college," well I am going to think you're a dud, even if you do have a great personality. When I get a little personality, I'm likely to really remember you and pick you.


The best response I ever got? Someone told me that they loved being a dad and that their favorite part of the day was coming home and having their three-year-old light up when she saw him. He looked me straight in the eye and said, "I'm sorry. You were probably looking for something more work-related or better than that." I told him it was the best answer I've ever heard and I hired him.


Good luck, GG
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Old 16th January 2015, 7:47 PM   #18
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The best response I ever got? Someone told me that they loved being a dad and that their favorite part of the day was coming home and having their three-year-old light up when she saw him. He looked me straight in the eye and said, "I'm sorry. You were probably looking for something more work-related or better than that." I told him it was the best answer I've ever heard and I hired him.
See that answer would have caused me not to hire the person because his priorities are elsewhere. To me it's also a boundary thing. Why would you tell an interviewer that. It's tricky though because if somebody thought I was not hiring him because he might have needs that entitled him to FMLA time, I would be opening myself up to a lawsuit.
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Old 17th January 2015, 11:29 AM   #19
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See that answer would have caused me not to hire the person because his priorities are elsewhere. To me it's also a boundary thing. Why would you tell an interviewer that. It's tricky though because if somebody thought I was not hiring him because he might have needs that entitled him to FMLA time, I would be opening myself up to a lawsuit.

I think it's very sad to imply that because someone's greatest priority was his children that he is somehow unsuited for a position in your company. Employers really do want mindless and passionless zombies, don't they?
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Old 17th January 2015, 1:29 PM   #20
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I think what donnivain is getting it is a lot of employers experience people that try to gain work, just for FMLA and other benefits, rather than being a contributing employee, as this is an actual issue employers do face.

The fact that I had both a wife and child did come up several times, but it wasn't because of a "this is my greatest joy" type deal. Rather it was used to explain how I maintained my GPA, worked, took exams outside of the university and had a family, hence showing how much I can do at the same time. That lead into them wanting to know a bit more about my family.

It's about your delivery, which is what makes the question I posed in this thread tricky, especially in today's market. Each interview I have had involved being interviewed by 4 to 6 people on average. Back several years ago, maybe two max, times have changed in the labor market.
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Old 26th January 2015, 4:37 PM   #21
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See that answer would have caused me not to hire the person because his priorities are elsewhere. To me it's also a boundary thing. Why would you tell an interviewer that. It's tricky though because if somebody thought I was not hiring him because he might have needs that entitled him to FMLA time, I would be opening myself up to a lawsuit.
I agree I would consider this information irrelevant to the job and look for someone whose first response to this question in a job interview is to talk about education, areas of work interest, work ethics, work style, whether they are open to travel if needed, reliability, and job interests. If someone goes straight to their personal life at a job interview, their mind isn't even on the job interview and probably won't be on the work either. And I agree that it seems like them preparing you for family-related absences.
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Old 29th January 2015, 6:36 PM   #22
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Interesting observations, dOnnivan and peraph. It shows - likely - that there is no easy, scripted answer to this question and that each interviewer is different.


For me, I hired because I thought it was an honest answer and it gave me a sense of who the person was. It also showed a little bit of work/life balance and that's something as an employer I've come to appreciate.


As for setting me up for an FMLA or leave? Didn't happen. So, that may be an unfounded fear.
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