Talking about yourself isn't hard... or is it?
Strangely, it seems to be. The most common interview opener entails something along the lines of, "Can you tell me about yourself." I've interviewed hundreds of candidates, and this is actually one of my favorite questions to ask. However, I've seen it go south way too many times.
From giving completely irrelevant (and sometimes even inappropriate) information, to consuming the rest of the interview time in a boring AF monologue about themselves, there is a lot of wrong ways to answer this interview question.
And we do not want that to be you, my friend.
And that's why I developed the LOVE formula.
What is the LOVE FORMULA?
The LOVE formula is the perfect 'tell me about yourself' interview answer. It checks the boxes for all the things you want the interview to be in the interview: concise, captivating, and impressing them with your triumphant talking points so they can't help but ditch their boring Q's to have a real conversation.
It's really simple and breaks down into four different components, label, origin, value, and engage.
Let's dig in to what each of these is.
This is simply the job title for the job you are interviewing for.
The human brain loves labeling and categorizing, and one of the fastest ways for someone to associate you with a label is to assume the label. Assuming you are perfect for the role this is a simple perception hack that wires their brain to associate you with the role.
This is true even if you aren't in the role quite yet - assuming you meet the qualifications for the role (and no one would laugh you out of the room for it, which I doubt they would). This helps to connect the dots more directly for your interview, and removes the opportunity for confusion.
For example, if you're interviewing for an Account Executive role, you aren't going to say, 'I'm a salesperson' or 'I want to be an Account Executive. You would say, 'I'm an Account Executive.'
Note, I'm not talking about like the origin of man, or you from conception to current date.
Your origin story is how you ended up doing what you're doing - if your path from Point A to Point B. By constructing a narrative that it's easy to follow, they will clearly see the pathway and draw inferences for your continued growth potential.
If you took a straight career path, this is going to be really easy. You simply give a synopsis about your original interest, and how it converted into what you went to school for, and now what you do for a living.
For example, 'I always loved computers and programming, and I went decided to get my degree in computer sciences, and have been working as a software developer for 3 years.' However, if your pathway wasn't quite so straight (like mine) this actually might take a little bit of work to help tie things all together.
For example, I'll tell you my story. I originally meant to be a criminal defense lawyer, but months before beginning law school I realized I did not want to be a lawyer anymore; after trying a few different careers including recruiting, accounting and sales, I ended up finding my home in Client Success and Professional Services. If I don't talk about how that happened (and what a huge benefits it is), no one would get it.
No one connects the dots intuitively between disparate jobs.
What you are really trying to do in the origin story is share how you were always doing the same the same thing at its core - even when you had disparate job titles. This is going to help affirm to them your breadth and depth of experience, and it's also going to be a great demonstrator that you really are able to shift and adapt.
The trickiest thing about the 'tell me about yourself' interview question, is it is seemingly about you, but it's actually about them.
If you've been a good candidate, you did your research and prepared for the job interview, and you know exactly what they need, which helps you showcase the value that you bring (and how you're the only real choice - obvs).
For example, if you're a sales representative and they're hiring an Account Executive to open up a new region or territory. This happens to be something that you are particularly good at, you're really passionate about, and have done multiple times. This is absolutely something that you need to integrate into your, 'tell me about yourself' answer.
When this is done well and with precision, you are going to demonstrate the exact value that they need, and leads you directly into the fourth component...
This will ideally in integrated with the value component of your 'tell me about yourself' interview question answer. These two components really do belong together in many ways, however it's possible to include value without an engage component (but not vice versa).
In the this component you will strategically end on a talking point that is going to move the conversation to highlight one of your triumphant talking points and how it pertains to what they are looking for.
Drawing from the last example about the sales representative who's really good at opening new territories. They're end their answer on that point, but they may also integrate that they have established a very repeatable and proven process to quickly accelerate a new region's development. This is going to be something that their future manager will definitely i want to discuss, and is likely to have them organically ask questions about it (since their interest is piqued).
This leaves both of you in the exact position that you want to be in in a job interview: having a conversation.
No Matter What, Remember This
There's one thing that you really need to know about the tell me about yourself interview question answer. This is essential whether or not you're using the LOVE formula.
You need to keep this answer tight.
I generally recommend leaving it to about 90 seconds or so, because if there is anything that they want to know more about, and especially when you are leaving off with a great engagement point, the conversation is going to organically continue.
Most of the hiring managers that I have spoken with really stopped paying attention after the five minute point (max).
No matter what, longwinded answers don't win second interviews - and they definitely don't win job offers!
Commit to breaking up with boring interviews
You have everything you need to begin the interview with intriguing facts that are directly related to the job opportunity, and will spark organic conversations (and hopefully woo them).
Now get out there and slay!