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Liz Ryan Contributor

I write about bringing life to work and bringing work to life. full bio →

Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

I was a Fortune 500 HR SVP for ten million years, but I was an opera singer before I ever heard the term HR. The higher I got in the corporate world, the more operatic the action became. I started writing about the workplace for the Chicago Sun-Times in 1997, but it took me ages to find my own voice. Now I write for the Huffington Post, Business Week, LinkedIn, the Harvard Business Review, the Denver Post and Forbes.com and lead the worldwide Human Workplace movement to reinvent work for people. Stop by and join us: http://www.humanworkplace.com

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Leadership 599,003 views

How To Answer The Question 'Tell Me About Yourself!'

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What happened in this interview? The power dynamic completely shifted. Lynda helped Jim rise out of “I’m the manager, and I’ll ask the questions” mode to become a guy with a problem — Lynda’s favorite type of person to meet! Lynda only did the same thing she’s done hundreds of times with internal and external customers.

She asked questions. She didn’t offer solutions. She showed Jim a path, instead — she showed him enough of her process to let him know that she knows what she’s doing.

Most job candidates wouldn’t have the nerve to Spin the Table the way Lynda did. They’d sit in the chair like a good little Sheepie Job Seeker and answer Jim’s “tell me about yourself” question in the conventional, sheepie way.

Lynda doesn’t play like that. She’s been around the block. She knows that if she can’t get a person to lift the veil and talk about his or her problems, she can’t help them anyway. In this case, Jim knew that he had a wise counselor in his office, so he dove right into the conversation. The managers who can do that are the ones you want to work for.

Try this at your next job interview!



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