Saturday, December 5, 2009

Tell me about yourself

The past one month or so saw so many events and buildup to those events that it seemed like an entire year.
One of the reasons for this misaligned time length perception was the dreaded HR interview.  From the hallowed area of placement office, word seemed to spread that preparation for the HR interview would be crucial during the placement season.

The more meticulous (and jobless) inhabitants now sought "suitable" answers to more than 100 possible HR questions. The ones with more diversified activities, though primarily directed at finding a "good" job - chose to work on a set of two or three questions. Then there were others for whom job was a backup plan, so they just tried to answer the single most difficult question - "Tell me about yourself."

When I heard this question for the first time, I was amused. Why should such a innocuous question be dreaded so wildly. But, as it turns out, there is more waves associated with this question than the acoustic ones.

Few pointers to let you know why this question is important:
1) The interviewer needs sometime to go through the resume. If you point at things that (s)he needs, then the work of both you and the interviewer are simplified.
2) Will you fit well into the company culture?
3) How are your past experiences relevant to the job you have applied for.

But most importantly, the interviewer wants to know DO YOU KNOW ABOUT YOURSELF!
When people are self aware and take conscious decisions to pursue something - they are more likely to succeed and do well. And at a place where there is little to choose between the caliber of different applicants, the interest in the pursued field determines the chances of success.

Its easy to believe that one could say that one is passionate about something despite not being so. But the trouble here is that passion is transparent. Unless you are George Clooney, you will not be able to demonstrate the passion as well as someone who is genuinely interested.

Being self aware also helps in answering unexpected questions, then you have to answer honestly, simply because you haven't prepared any answer. Here your true interest will be reflected.

So if you are sitting for placements in the coming days, then please do ask yourself about yourself - why you chose what you did, why you want to do what you are choosing and how will what you did help you in what you are choosing now.

In the response to this question, you just have to convey two things:
1) Your passion
2) How your past will help you perform better at the position applied for.

Best of luck to everyone reading this post. May the force be with you.

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