When an interviewer asks an open-ended question like this, it can be difficult to know where to begin...and end! This question haunts many individuals who may have accidentally gone a little too in-depth into their personal lives. It happens. Keep your reply light, and work relevant. Share how you became interested in this career path and what you enjoy about it. This question offers an excellent opportunity to describe yourself by discussing the strengths and qualities that you bring.
"I am a competitive individual who is driven and likes to win. In addition to my successful sales career, I also spend time playing competitive sports. I give back by volunteering at the local animal shelter and working for a variety of annual fundraisers in our community."
"I am a very active individual who loves to workout and goes to the mountains on the weekend. I feel that my level of activity on my off time greatly improves my work during the week. I have a high amount of energy to offer, and am even more cheerful when the phone rings! It must be that fresh mountain air."
"I am a calm and quiet leader, with excellent written and verbal communication skills. Even though I am quiet, I can motivate my team and keep morale high."
"I would say that I am both analytical and creative, I'm extroverted at times, but like to hunker down and work on my own to knock out projects. When not at work, I love attending musicals, museums, and traveling. Not only is it something I love, but also I think it helps me expand my horizons on how I approach my creative work."
"I am a passionate, excited team player who loves to learn on the fly, take the lead when possible, and I have a proven track record of success. I'm loyal and have shown that through my decade-long career at one employer. I have risen through their ranks, and am ready to take on the next challenge. Outside of work, I love to travel and do DIY projects in my home."
"Professionally, I'd describe myself as competitive and extroverted; I am in sales after all. Contests, encouragement, accolades motivate me, and of course, the financial carrot dangling in front of my nose. At the same time, I love a team environment and know that culture and mutual respect play such a huge role in my success. On a more personal note, I love to spend time with my family and travel as often as possible."
"I'm pretty sure you can tell, but I'm super excited and passionate about my job, the language, my students, and continual learning. I feel so privileged to have a job that I leap out of bed for every morning. I am a mom of boys, and I am a fitness enthusiast: as their soccer coach, the high school soccer coach for freshman girls, and a runner in my spare time."
Recruiters and hiring managers often receive hundreds of applications per job. If you are lucky enough to land an interview, make some effort to research the opportunity. You don't need to be an expert, but you do need to be knowledgeable about the company before your interview. Start by searching the company website and take particular note of any recent news articles, events or contributions they have made to the community. Identify their mission and values.
"Your company mission of excellent customer service and loyalty jumps out to me. It is why you are the longest standing business of all your competitors. I also love that you are working to make your office green by recycling and minimizing energy costs."
"I conducted a great deal of research before coming in today. I see that you are expanding the existing business into South America. This expansion is a great sign, and I am thrilled with the idea of being part of the administration team in a global organization."
"I have researched your organization a great deal and see that you recently earned the 'XYZ Award' for industry innovation. You had a lot of competition when it comes to winning this award, so this tells me that your team is incredibly dedicated and focused."
"I know that you are shaking up a commodity that is so beloved worldwide but barely consumed in the US, and you're working to make it accessible, understandable, and affordable. The three-pronged tagline hits your value proposition home and resonates with me as a millennial consumer of tea. As I mentioned, I've been a customer for a few years now, and so I believe I have an additional something to add in the form of personal interest."
"I know that, without a doubt, you are the industry leader, both in thought leadership as well as sales. I love that you heavily educate, train, and promote from within and that your average tenure of full-time employees in over a decade. That is an achievement to be proud of, and something I value in my next employer."
"I have been looking for a high-growth startup for quite a while, and your organization is what I've been seeking. You value your people and have an awesome culture centered around achievement, growth, and accountability. You are disrupting an industry that needs some shaking up, and you have science that is allowing that disruption. The energy in here is contagious, which only make me even more excited about the opportunity."
"I know that your district is a leading district in the state both for test scores, as well as one of the best places to work. I live in the community and send my kids to these schools, so I know first hand how great the district is. I grew up here, and I like to think that I am a great representation of all the good teaching that goes on in this district."
If the position you are interviewing for requires leadership skills, you need to come prepared with examples of when you have been an active leader. If this is an entry-level role without a leadership component, the interviewer wants to see that you can take the initiative when there is an opportunity.
"I feel I have an open, enthusiastic style of leadership. To me, a leader wants to nurture others to their fullest potential, and it is something I have enjoyed since childhood. I love to be an example to follow and help guide others to bettering themselves and their careers. I've found that my teammates aren't afraid to bring me their questions or mess-ups, since they aren't afraid of repercussions, but rather know we will collaborate to figure it out and learn from it together."
"As director of administration, I am an open-door kind of leader. I give the junior account administrators space and freedom to complete their work, but my door is always open for guidance and advice."
"My leadership skills can be described as creative, open, and encouraging. I always do what I can to foster an environment that is conducive to the learning and growth of my employees. I find that by leading this way, I retain staff much longer and productivity goes up."
"I feel as though I'm a 'lead by example' type leader. I always strive to do the right thing and hope others will follow. Since I've not yet been in a marketing management position, I feel this is the best way to demonstrate my hardworking nature. I hope others will be inspired to follow suit."
"I think of myself as a coach. I am there to help my retail sales reps grow. They all have their strengths and weaknesses that I need help them identify, and make a joint plan to bring them to the best version of themselves. Every employee learns differently, so I try to understand their needs, what motivates them, and how they like to learn."
"In previous employer reviews, I have had my leadership style described as attentive, open, and confident. I will always listen to my team and give them the benefit of the doubt when it comes to their performance. An example of this would be with my current sales team. When one of my team members is not hitting their quota, that is when I will step in and begin coaching. I want to believe they are capable in their job unless they show me otherwise. This type of leadership has worked well with my team, and we are the #1 sales team in our region."
"As a teacher, I'm always looking to inspire leadership in my students. Also, I have been part of a mentorship program since my first year as an educator. I am one of the curriculum developers in my current position as well."
Even though you may have a great relationship with your employer, there may be times where you don't see eye to eye. Think of a conflict or disagreement you had with your boss where you responded well, either by suggesting a compromise or taking a calm, relaxed stance when you could have answered in a heated tone. Getting along puts you in a high position with your boss, because it shows your desire to work together and highlights your creative problem-solving abilities.
"My boss and I disagreed about whether my assistant was right for promotion into another department. He believed that she should remain in her current role, and I also knew she wasn't quite ready; however, I knew that we'd lose a valuable team member if she weren't given an opportunity soon. We chose to promote her accompanied by heavy training. The outcome was positive."
"My previous boss wanted to have a large hand in our social media marketing despite his lack of understanding of how it worked. He wanted to add complicated pricing and photo collages where I felt that a simple teaser and call to action was enough. We compromised, and each did it our way for one week. We then collected the insights related to customer engagement on each. I was correct in my stance. After that, he allowed me to manage our social media independently."
"I had a boss that regularly forced overtime on employees at the last minute with no opportunity to make personal arrangements. I spoke with him at length about morale, and eventually, he started giving the notice sooner, making everyone's lives easier."
"In a previous role, my supervisor thought we did not need to invest the time or money into growing an email distribution list or consistently putting out email content. I strongly disagreed, especially after getting my email marketing certification. I approached the topic gingerly and used hard numbers from case studies and tied them to the ROI. By removing emotion from the equation, and focusing strictly on data and analytics, I was able to lay it out in a way that would be hard to dispute or elicit an emotional response. He ultimately gave the green light for piloting the program."
"I have done my best to always get along with my bosses, but inevitably I've disagreed with them in the past. The disagreements have been about the distribution of tasks among the staff. I'm not very confrontational, but I did pull my boss aside on a few occasions to let her know that the treatment seemed unfair to me and it was hurting morale. I asked her to please stay in touch with me about my team and let me make those types of decisions since I know the team intimately. She was not thrilled at first since it questioned her authority and knowledge of the team, but after explaining how it was impacting the morale, productivity, and ultimately my influence as a leader, she tried it my way, and it has gone well since."
"My sales director and I disagreed on the pending termination of one of my sales employees a short time ago. I wanted to spend time training him a bit more after he missed his targets for four months in a row. My director wanted to terminate him immediately. I presented to my director that it would be more expensive to replace him than to re-train. He agreed, and we came to a middle ground."
"I like to think that my department chair and I have a great relationship in which we can both challenge each other to think differently. In light of that, we do occasionally disagree but always respectfully. Through this process, we have become more innovative and thoughtful with the policies, curriculum, and lessons we implement."
The interviewer wants to know how your education has prepared you for this job. A few highlights you can focus on are some of the relevant topics you learned about while attending your courses. Discuss how they will help you in this new role. Some ideas for you: - If you have experience working on group projects, share how you improved your listening and communication skills when working on a challenging project. - If you learned a new type of software or equipment type you will need to know about in this new job, talk about what you know and how you will apply this knowledge. While attending post-secondary studies, you likely learned some core skills that would be transferable to any position. Think about what you learned at your highest levels of education and how that knowledge applies (or will apply) to your work. Some of these skills could include: - Time Management - Creative Thinking - Proposal Writing - Public Speaking - Presentation Building - Independent Learning - Academic Research - Self-Motivation
"I graduated with my Bachelor of Science in 2007 from University XYZ. I received a variety of scholarships due to strong grades. I was on the Dean's list and graduated top of my class. This experience taught me pure dedication and how to manage deadlines."
"I am a big believer in post-secondary education. It adds a lot of value to those newer to the workplace. My post-secondary education was in Communication and Journalism. The courses in this program helped me to develop stronger business relationships through professional correspondence. I also learned persuasive writing skills which have proven to be incredibly helpful when editing client proposals."
"I received my Master's in Computer Engineering and Computer Science. Before that, my undergraduate degree was also in Computer Science. This education helped further form my analytical mind. My analytical way of thinking is well suited to a management role where I oversee technicians and engineers."
"I earned my degree in economics from the liberal arts college at my state university. So while my degree exposed me to the business side of the world, the rest of my education was in the humanities. I feel as though I've leveraged both sides of my education in my career. I certainly learned things outside of the classroom including time management, how to work cooperatively in a group, and how to be intrinsically motivated. I truly think I use these skills on a daily basis, so I'm especially grateful for my education."
"I have my associates degree in fashion merchandising and my bachelors in communications. I received a scholarship for my excellent grades and worked full time throughout college. Fashion merchandising helps daily in my job, as does my training in communications. Also, I learned time management, avoiding exhaustion during peak times."
"I have a B.A. in English and Spanish. I graduated with a 4.0 from ABC College. I worked full time while going to school, so I learned a lot of time management skills and that I work best under some degree of pressure. I know that these skills I learned during college have helped me thus far in my career and I have continued to refine these competencies. I look forward to continuing to learn and grow from new experiences and bring my education and life skills to your company. I think I will be a strong asset to an already seemingly incredible team."
"I have my Bachelor's in Spanish education K-12 as well as a reading endorsement. I graduated from Elmhurst College with honors. I am also looking to head back for my masters in teaching leadership. I value continuous learning and want to ensure that my graduate degree applies to my day to day job."
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