If there’s one prompt you’re guaranteed to hear in a job interview, it’s “So, tell me about yourself...”
And it’s a tough one to answer without sounding contrived or a teensy bit awkward.
Author and leadership expert Simon Sinek has a novel solution to the quandary. As he explains to Business Insider, it involves a bit of prep (and bravery) but the investment will be worth it to help map out a genuine response.
According to Sinek, we need to call on our friends to nail down our “why”: the principle-led purpose that drives us at work, and in life overall. And the way to do this is via his “friends test”. Here’s how it works:
Step One: Pick out a friend who truly loves and trusts you. This can’t be a spouse, partner or family member.
Step two: Ask them, “why are we friends?”
At first, says Sinek, your pal of choice may be a little thrown at being asked such a direct question. It’s difficult to break down an ephemeral quality like friendship into one swift-fire reply, after all.
So, Sinek suggests you help along the process by asking something more detailed, such as: “What is it about me that I know you would be there for me no matter what?"
Read more: The art of perusing new female friendships
At this point, they may start describing your qualities and eventually, “they'll stop describing you and they'll start describing themselves,” says Sinek.
These are the golden nuggets of info you should pay close attention to – because they tell you what you give to the world. For example, your mate may say “you make me feel energised” or “I always laugh when I’m around you”.
Ideally, says Sinek, you will repeat this process a number of times with different friends, so that you can draw together their responses. Then, use them to craft a glowing “tell me about yourself” response.
All you need to do is articulate in a snappy fashion what it is that you personally bring to the table – as told to you by your friends – and tally that with why you want to work with the company in question.
Not only will you stand out from the crowd by sounding and feeling authentic, you’ll also have grabbed a quick ego-boost prior to the whole interview shebang. And that can never be a bad thing.
Find out more about Sinek’s technique on Business Insider.