October 28, 2009

How to Answer the Trickiest Interview Question

A few weeks ago, I was featured on Career Rocketeer for their article on interviewing tips. In the article, I talked about how to answer the "Tell me about yourself," question. I blogged about this ages ago, so I wanted to repost the original blog to give you more detail, perspective and guidance than what is listed in the article. However, I also encourage you to visit the Career Rocketeer article, since it has other really useful tips as well.

You can access the Career Rocketeer article here. Or continue reading for the original post on answering some of the trickiest interview questions.


If you have done more than a few interviews in your life thus far, then you've probably had one of these three tricky interview questions thrown at you. Here they are:

1.) Why should I hire you?
2.) What makes you special over any other candidate?
3.) Tell me about yourself?

The most difficult of these is usually the last one, because it is so nebulous. However, if you'll notice, they're all asking pretty much the same thing.

Translation: Give me some skills and experience that will make me think you'll add value to the organization.

You need to think about crafting your answer to discuss your background and strengths in a way that brings a benefit to the organization. The most common mistakes people make when answering these is 1.) Not knowing what the organization is looking for and 2.) not sticking to strengths and work experience.

As I'm sure you've heard before, you'll need to do some research on the company and the desired position, and know how you can bring positive to all parties. This involves not just external Google searches, but also your own internal assessment of your strengths and talents. You can avoid the second mistake by remembering that employers want to know "what's in it for them" if they hire you. While stories of your family and youth may help them get you know you better, it is not what they're looking for. So keep it professional and work experience based, and you'll be that much closer to landing your next job.

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