How do you respond to people who say that taking 3-4 minutes to answer the "Tell Me About Yourself" interview question is too long?
Personally, having listened to the Interview Series guidance on this, I'm 100% on board with the idea Mark & Mike give about taking 3-4 mins to deliver a comprehensive, effective response that actually tells the recruiter something meaningtful about your career trajectory they can't already extract from your CV.
The other day, I got into a rather spirited debate with someone who calls herself a career coach, and challenged this idea that you should take 3-4 mins to respond to this question. She said you would lose someone's interest after the first minute. She advises her clients to respond in 15-30 seconds, which I found baffling. I can't IMAGINE how a candidate could deliver an effective response to this question in <1 min, let along <30 seconds. I'm not saying it can't be done, but I've never seen it done, either as a candidate or hiring manager myself.
We agreed to disagree that day, but as luck would have it, I'm crossing paths with her again this Friday. We didn't get to finish our discussion, but I'd like to be as prepared as possible during Round 2 ;) I'd welcome any rationale or data (anectdotal is fine) you can share on this to help me defend the Career-Tools approach, which I believe is correct. Here's my initial rationale list:
- <1 min is simply not enough time to explain your key goals & accomplishments in each role
- If you provide structure up-front on how you plan to approach the 3 min response, 3 mins will not feel "too long" from the listener's POV
- You can always sense check your approach by asking, after your intro, "I'm now going to take 2-3 mins to give you a high level summary of my goals, key accomplishments, and transitions, then explain what brings me here today. Does that work for you?" (BTW, I can't imagine them saying, "No, just tell me in 15 seconds.")
- If you agree with the presumption the recruiter actually DOES want to understand how you perceive your trajectory--your key decisions and rationale for taking roles, you need a solid 3-4 mins to do more than superficially regurgitate your roles & companies.