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004. #1 Interview Question Most Women

There are hundreds of potential interview questions an employer may ask. Many of them are common across any industry but one question is consistent. This question although it may be asked in a variety of forms, employers are looking to get a good glimpse into who you are and the potential value you can add to their organization. Your response to this one question sets the tone for the rest of the interview and either reels the interviewer in or causes the interviewer to lose interest. So what question is it? Tell me about yourself. Well it’s not really a question, more like a request, but you get the point. This request seems simple, no one knows you better than you do, right? It seems simple enough, so why do so many women bomb this question? As women, it is natural for us to want to showcase of nurturing side, we identify with our standard gender roles being a wife, mother, etc. Power to womanhood, but in an interview this means nothing.

Most women start out with something like this, “Well I’m happily married with 2 young daughters who keep be very busy. I’m originally from Detroit, but my family and I moved here with my husband because his job relocated him here.”

Can you say FAIL? EPIC FAIL. If you answer this question like this or remotely along these lines, you can assume the interviewer checked out of this dialogue somewhere around happily married. Your interview has just begun a tragic downhill spiral. What makes this response so wrong? It’s taking this interview in a different direction than what needs to occur. Think about it, why are you in this interview, to land a job. All that has been relayed to the interviewer is your family comes first, you’re married and when your husband’s job moves, so will you. Not to mention, while women have come far with blending roles in the workplace, there are still underlying stigmas with working mothers and absenteeism.

Every bit of information you relay from the beginning to end of this interview process should be to position yourself of the top of the interviewer’s potential candidate roster. The fact that the employer has elected to interview you shows you have met most, if not all of the qualifications for the position for which you have applied. The purpose of the interview process for the interviewer is to gain more information about you to: a) weed out the weirdoes, scammers and imposters and b) determine if you are a good fit for their organization. The interviewer is looking for more than just a body to fill a vacancy but someone who is a good fit for the position AND their team environment, who will be an asset and viable team player. Therefore, your job during this process is to prove to the interviewer you are a good fit for the organization and not only are you a potential candidate but the most obvious choice for this position. Your focus should be centered around this concept.

Sell yourself, you are a package. You want to focus on showcasing your skills and qualifications for the position and also showcase your interpersonal skills as well, as these are directly related to the job. Focus of the interest or needs of the interviewer in filling this position. What experience, skills, and abilities do you possess that are pertinent to the job? Take a moment to think about your best three to four professional qualities and use these attributes to develop your personal statement. Remember to keep it professional, the interviewer does not care about your hobbies, your family, where you are from, how old you are, etc. Remember you are selling yourself, state your qualifications for the position, education, and experience related to the job. Here is a simple formula for acing the personal statement: state your educational background, state your lengths of time of related work experience referencing specific job duties you have performed and summarize your personal statement by stating three/four of your best skill of qualities pertinent to the job.

Example: I have a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. I have 8 years of experience as an administrative analyst, where I worked closely with the department director in conducting special research studies and preparing statistical reports. I am very detail-oriented, with an advanced knowledge of planning, research, and data analysis techniques and procedures. Additionally, I have the ability to prepare and present comprehensive written and oral reports.

Share the information you have practiced and wrap-up the question by asking the interviewer if there is any additional information he/she would like to know. If you get stumped or if you are not sure what type of information the interview is seeking, ask the interviewer if he/she could give you an idea of the type of information he/she is looking for. Even if the interviewer does not ask you this question word for word it is a good question to practice over and over, because it will help with answering other questions as well.

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