8/25/12

I know that this question has been done to death, but I was just wondering what you guys considered the do's and dont's of answering this question.

Comments (36)

8/24/12

I'd probably avoid mentioning the dead hooker in your trunk. Or maybe not. You gotta play it by ear.

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8/24/12

Patrick (?) posted something on this a few months back and it totally shifted my opinion of the question. This part of the interview is a gift. It is an allotment of time to "sell" yourself.

I created an outline and shifted my emphasis according to the company I was interviewing with. This may only be useful out of undergrad, but take a look and see if it to helps you:
- Home town
- School and why you chose it
- Campus involvement [had a really good talking point here that usually started a short dialogue, giving me a break from being the only one talking]
- Internships and what you learned from them
- How those shaped my desire to work in [whatever I was interviewing for]
- Conclusion along the lines of "...and as a result of all that stuff I just said I am certain that this is the perfect job for me. Thank you for taking the time to speak with me today; I'm open to any other questions you have about my background and experience."

Boom.

Nothing short of everything will really do.

8/25/12
bonks:

Patrick (?) posted something on this a few months back and it totally shifted my opinion of the question. This part of the interview is a gift. It is an allotment of time to "sell" yourself.

I created an outline and shifted my emphasis according to the company I was interviewing with. This may only be useful out of undergrad, but take a look and see if it to helps you:
- Home town
- School and why you chose it
- Campus involvement [had a really good talking point here that usually started a short dialogue, giving me a break from being the only one talking]
- Internships and what you learned from them
- How those shaped my desire to work in [whatever I was interviewing for]
- Conclusion along the lines of "...and as a result of all that stuff I just said I am certain that this is the perfect job for me. Thank you for taking the time to speak with me today; I'm open to any other questions you have about my background and experience."

Boom.

Agree with this. One thing I'll add is to keep it really concise. I think this is the part where you layout what you want the interviewer to pick at, so there's no need to go into a lot of detail right off the bat.

2/26/14

@bonks how long did all of those points take you? 2-3 minutes tops?

8/24/12

I'm gay.

8/24/12
BigHedgeHog:

I'm gay.

Is that a do or don't?

8/24/12
GED or Bust:
BigHedgeHog:

I'm gay.

Is that a do or don't?

Its a 'do'. Aslo tell them them you enjoy s&m. The whole interview is actually about your sexual orientation and they want to know you are creative in the bedroom because that makes for happier employees.

"Dont compromise yourself; you're all you've got" - Janis Joplin

8/24/12
MissNG:
GED or Bust:
BigHedgeHog:

I'm gay.

Is that a do or don't?

Its a 'do'. Aslo tell them them you enjoy s&m. The whole interview is actually about your sexual orientation and they want to know you are creative in the bedroom because that makes for happier employees.

MissNG, you sound extremely knowledgeable. Can you please PM me your personal interview strategies. Thanks.

8/24/12

right on the above.. Check out the WSO networking/interviewing guide.

In addition to the above by bonks. keep it 3-5 minutes.

Fear is the greatest motivator. Motivation is what it takes to find profit.

8/24/12

"What do you want to know?"

8/24/12
Nabooru:

"What do you want to know?"

Ha that is the first thing I always think.

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8/24/12

ultimate softball

8/24/12
dzar:

I know that this question has been done to death, but I was just wondering what you guys considered the do's and dont's of answering this question.

"I know this question has been beaten to death, so I thought I would ask it again"

seriously?

8/24/12

i may or may not be a gigolo

next question

Sometimes I go about in pity for myself, and all the while a great wind carries me across the sky
8/24/12

This just in - GS's new interview process:

8/24/12

^ Despite its ending, Exam was a solid movie.

8/24/12
CoochieMane:

^ Despite its ending, Exam was a solid movie.

yeah I enjoyed it too

8/24/12

i was plannin to be all slick and quote that part when the character called deaf breaks his glasses and starts rambling some philosophical line in french, but i cant find the quote damnit. my googling skills need work :(

Sometimes I go about in pity for myself, and all the while a great wind carries me across the sky
8/24/12

This question always drives me nuts cuz playing mysterious is my first priority. and I feel rehearsing my life stories such a pain in the ass.

--Money can't buy happiness. it can only buy orgasms.
--Who the hell says I want happiness? Orgasms all I need.

8/25/12

good advice

8/25/12

This is the interviewer being lazy.

DO:

-Tell your story, but get straight to the point about why they would want to hire you.
-Work your elevator pitch in.

DON'T:
-Ramble
-Talk about anything from before four years ago if you're an undergrad. (The period of professional relevancy gets longer as you get older; generally it's one year for every two past 22)

Example:

Hi, I'm IlliniProgrammer. I did my undergrad in CS at UIUC where I TA'd a graduate algorithms course. I worked for Lehman Brothers for a year; was working on the night of the bankruptcy, I spent four more years working in equity flow vol desk analytics, and now I'm a grad student in finance! I enjoy open water swimming, hang gliding, and motorcycle racing. (Pause here. Don't ramble.)

If the interviewer stays quiet, you can keep talking.

10/25/12

hey i race motorcycles too, what tracks you run?

IlliniProgrammer:

This is the interviewer being lazy.

DO:

-Tell your story, but get straight to the point about why they would want to hire you.
-Work your elevator pitch in.

DON'T:
-Ramble
-Talk about anything from before four years ago if you're an undergrad. (The period of professional relevancy gets longer as you get older; generally it's one year for every two past 22)

Example:

Hi, I'm IlliniProgrammer. I did my undergrad in CS at UIUC where I TA'd a graduate algorithms course. I worked for Lehman Brothers for a year; was working on the night of the bankruptcy, I spent four more years working in equity flow vol desk analytics, and now I'm a grad student in finance! I enjoy open water swimming, hang gliding, and motorcycle racing. (Pause here. Don't ramble.)

If the interviewer stays quiet, you can keep talking.

If the glove don't fit, you must acquit!

2/26/14

@"IlliniProgrammer" you don't even mention your background? Fpr instance, I have lived in 3 different countries in my life and I think it's contributed to my major choice as well as it's something that's unique. I know people might not give two shits about it so I'm curious as to what you think especially for someone coming right out of undergrad

8/25/12

Ha I asked this yesterday on a couple of interviews I did. Only one was able to spin it as suggested by Bonks

8/25/12

split it to two parts

part a) talk briefly about your background - things like where you're from, a quick run through of your career/education so far. Keep this quick, light-hearted

part b) talk about your career - and as you do that, keep the flow natural but pick topics that you believe are relevant to the job you're interviewing for. It should feel like you're talking about something that you did that you're passionate / proud / interested about but it should align with the job (for e.g. if it's a consulting fit, you'd subtly talk about challenging business situations, problem solving issues. client issues...). That way you're not rambling some nonsense no one cares about.

8/25/12

I take this question as an opportunity to highlight my background to reflect how exactly I fit in the role (job duties and experience). Start with your most recent job experience and focus on the skills/talents that are needed in the job and mention by giving examples of how you have acquired those skills and completed exactly same tasks.

Best Response
8/25/12

Here's how I do it:

Interviewer: "Tell me a little about yourself."

Me: "In college, I majored in Economics, the 'science' of making choices in a constrained environment to help me figure out what motivates people. I minored in Philosophy to hone my art of bullshitting. Combining these two fields with my natural proclivities has allowed me to separate very large sums of money from untold quantities of people in my 14 year career on Wall Street. Knowing the ins and outs of several large product areas has given me the knowledge of where to best hide fees. This way, the client thinks they are getting a great deal while I am ripping their fucking face off. This has allowed me to garner repeat business from said targets giving me a recurring, high margin revenue base that is portable to your firm."

You may need to adjust based on your personal circumstances, but this works pretty well for me.

adapt or die:
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8/25/12
SirTradesaLot:

Here's how I do it:

Interviewer: "Tell me a little about yourself."

Me: "In college, I majored in Economics, the 'science' of making choices in a constrained environment to help me figure out what motivates people. I minored in Philosophy to hone my art of bullshitting. Combining these two fields with my natural proclivities has allowed me to separate very large sums of money from untold quantities of people in my 14 year career on Wall Street. Knowing the ins and outs of several large product areas has given me the knowledge of where to best hide fees. This way, the client thinks they are getting a great deal while I am ripping their fucking face off. This has allowed me to garner repeat business from said targets giving me a recurring, high margin revenue base that is portable to your firm."

You may need to adjust based on your personal circumstances, but this works pretty well for me.

of all the times for me to run out of bananas.

8/26/12
melvvvar:

of all the times for me to run out of bananas.

Glad to help. As you know, I have a lot of experience in this field, so some of the noobs may need to adjust their pitch to express their desire to do these things, instead of being able to claim they have already done them. Either way, the layout should be helpful in future interviews.

adapt or die:
What would P.T. Barnum say about you?

MY BLOG

8/26/12
SirTradesaLot:
melvvvar:

of all the times for me to run out of bananas.

Glad to help. As you know, I have a lot of experience in this field, so some of the noobs may need to adjust their pitch to express their desire to do these things, instead of being able to claim they have already done them. Either way, the layout should be helpful in future interviews.

Sb'ed, thanks for the fatherly advice!

The Auto Show

8/25/12

Don't mention your name. E.g. "Well, my name is John Smith".

8/25/12

make sure every professional step highlights a logical reason why the position you're interviewing for is the next step in your career.

8/29/12

Any way to intelligently tie coming up short on achieving professional athlete aspirations (very close) with discovering a specific career in finance in the latter part of college without rambling on, and more importantly, not sounding like a failure?

Maybe I'm just overthinking it, but I feel mentioning that I failed in something I chased all my life will provide the interviewer with ammunition to conclude that despite passion, dedication and years of training I couldn't hack it and will inevitably burn out fast and/or change my mind about what it really is that I want to pursue in life.

" A recession is when other people lose their job, a depression is when you lose your job. "

2/26/14

Go through the basics (hometown, school, major, work experience, etc.). Then the kill...

"As much as I'm sure you're dying to hear every waking detail of everything I just mentioned, if there is one thing that you walk out of this room with about me let it be the fact that I will go to the ends of the earth to get results for this company. I don''t know who else you're interviewing, where they went to school or what their GPA was, but I do know that if you pit me against them in this role that I will come out on top. From competing in hockey at a high level my entire life I'm conditioned to dogfight and absolutely refuse to lose, which is the mentality that I will carry into every single deal that I am assigned to should you hire me."

Of course, tweak this based on your own history...

Edit: I (personally) believe this needs to be said a certain way. You need to sound genuinely confident but need to be careful that you don't come off as cocky.

2/26/14

If the glove don't fit, you must acquit!

1/22/15
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