How to Answer the Toughest Question at a Job Interview
Black Enterprise Magazine July/August 2018 Issue

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When you’ve made it to land an interview, you may have your best power look going and your resume and presentation prepped, but what happens when you face a dreaded and oftentimes difficult question at the top of the interview?

The prospective boss shakes your hand, asks you to take a seat, and then asks …

“So, tell me a little about yourself.”

Do you err on the side of modesty or toot your own horn? Do you include personal attributes or strictly stick to your career accomplishments? What if what was supposed to be a 30-second elevator pitch turns into a nervous rambling of your life story?

Well, consider these tips from hiring manager Melanie Szlucha, via Brazen Careerist, on how you can best answer one of the most difficult job interview questions:

Think of your responses as a movie preview, she advises.

The movie preview always relates to the movie you’re about to see. You never see a movie preview for an animated flick when you’re there to see a slasher movie. So the “tell me about yourself” answer needs to directly fit the concerns of your prospective employer.

It should also be as short and engaging as a great trailer.

Another approach, touted by venture capitalist Brad Feld is “to do the opposite of what comes naturally and go backwards in time.”

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Janell Hazelwood

Janell Hazelwood is associate managing editor at Black Enterprise, managing content across core areas of Money, Career, Small Business and Technology. She is also a featured blogger with My Two Cents, providing insights on branding, millennial career development, employment trends and leadership. She was previously a content producer and copy editor for Black Enterprise magazine, working across several editorial sections. The Hampton University graduate got her start in the newspaper industry, having worked for companies including The New York Times and Scripps Howard News Service. Her works and insights have appeared on The Huffington Post, MadameNoire, E!Online, Brazen Careerist, CBS News, and Arise TV.