"Tell me about yourself." In the numerous interviews I have done over the past 6 months, most, if not all, started with this statement: "Tell me about yourself." The question really says: "tell me about your past experiences, what you learned, etc."
There are tons of different ways to answer this question. Surely everyone has a different approach.
What I have thought a lot about, as a reference to this question, is what moments in my life have defined "me." Which past experiences are the ones that made me stronger, helped me grow the most, learned the most?
I think the conventional way to find those past experiences is to look back on your past accomplishments/resume points.
"I interned at x company."
"I wrote for x publication."
"I built x project."
When people ask us to tell them about ourselves, we point to what we have done in the past. We share why
we did it and what
we learned. Basically, this is us walking through our resume. I think that this approach works, and to recruiters/employers/etc., this is probably what they want to know. They want to learn about you.
But if I were a recruiter/employer...I would change the question. I would not ask for a walk thru of the candidate's resume. No.
I would make it simple...
I'd ask, "What are moments in time where you really wanted something, like super super bad, but did not get it. During those moments, what did you do next?"
I find that question to be incredibly revealing. As you are reading this take a second. Look back on your life.
Life is super hard. Shit hits the fan all of the time. Things never go your way. Now seriously go back to that moment. What did you do?
In high school, Sophomore year, I really wanted to make the basketball team. It was something I trained for months for. Dedicated hours for. All my friends were doing it. It was the world to me.
I did not make the team.
In the moment - that was the worst. Even thinking about it right now, I feel sunk. But what happened next I am super grateful for.
It was that year, due to all of the extra time I had from not making the team, that I started a business. I started a non-profit as well. Both of those things turned to be incredibly instrumental in my life.
I bounced back.
The same thing happened in college. I really wanted to make a certain fraternity my Freshman spring semester. Like seriously this was the world to me. All my friends were doing it, this is what I wanted out of college. But I did not make it.
I came to a crossroads. This is the crossroads that I am most fascinated by. What do you do when shit goes bad?
Last spring, I started this daily blog
- largely because I had extra time
from not joining the frat. I started interning at companies. I talked to hundreds of people. All because I had extra time. This was an incredible propellor of my growth.
Again, I bounced back.
You see, so many times in life we are presented with opportunities that seem extremely appealing. But even more often in life we do not get them. Even if we really want them, we do not get them.
You really want a certain job. You really want to get into a specific college. You really want to talk to x person and he/she turns out to be an asshole.
What do you do next?
Some people fold. Actually, most people fold. They give up.
Those who do something different - they win.