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  • "Why don’t you tell me about yourself?"

This question, often the interview opener, has a crucial objective: to see how you handle yourself in unstructured situations. The recruiter wants to see how articulate you are, how confident you are, and generally what type of impression you would make on the people with whom you come into contact on the job. The recruiter also wants to learn about the trajectory of your career and to get a sense of what you think is important and what has caused you to perform well.

There are many ways to respond to this question correctly and just one wrong way: by asking, “What do you want to know?” You need to develop a good answer to this question, practice it, and be able to deliver it with poise and confidence.

The right response is twofold: focus on what interests the interviewer, and highlight your most important accomplishments.

More tips

“The traditional interview questions do not allow a candidate to demonstrate their uniqueness, personality, or dynamic skillsets,” explains Shara Senderoff of Intern Sushi, “I love to catch candidates off guard with the following:

  1. What color is your personality?
    This gives me a look into how a candidate views themselves without having to ask them for a list of adjectives. When you ask in this manner, you can identify traits about the candidate based on social interpretations of colors that may not have been apparent in that first interview, even when you can’t get a candidate to go into depth with his or her answer. I’ve also found this to be a great lead in question because it relaxes the candidate and allow them to think outside-of-the-box.

  2. Tell me three things you could do with a brick. 
    This always lends itself to very original thinking and believe it or not, demonstrates experience and maturity or lack thereof. At this point I could create a list of over 100 unique responses and with each response I can understand how an individual thinks and what they’ve been through.”

More odd but revealing interview questions

Writer Rebecca Thorman’s advice on interview preparation: "Rifle through your resume and cover letter to find three times where you felt unstoppable—anecdotes that ‘illustrate your relevant skills, experience, and lessons learned.’”

How telling great stories can help you land a job


LinkedIn’s Reid Hoffman On Groupon’s Big Advantage: Big Data

FC: Big data is also why you have faith in Groupon 

RH: Yes. There’s two points on which a lot of the discussion about Groupon misses key insights. First is what exists with Groupon today: both scale and data. Data becomes important because of the scale. If you look at the core service that Groupon built on, it’s: Here are some offers that may motivate you to act today. That’s interesting enough for you to plunk down the money.

As the activity in this space gets denser, it becomes important for [deals companies] to maintain their value proposition, both for the merchant and the consumer, and to be able to match the right two. The ability to do that kind of matching, off the data, is the kind of thing that has a robust, at-scale, defensible value proposition and makes it harder for other people to offer products that are as good.

I also think people discount Groupon’s ability to build new value propositions. Groupon launched Groupon Now. An ability to raise my mobile phone and say there’s a 20 percent off offer two blocks from you in the next hour is actually pretty useful. And that’s a value of scale.

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