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Know Yourself!

This week, Dana Maggi, Owner of Career Pain Relief, spoke to my chapter of Business Executives Networking Group (BENG).   Actually, she facilitated a lively discussion on job search.   My takeaway from Dana’s presentation is ‘know yourself’.  This advice is always on point.  It is very difficult to gain traction in your job search if you cannot clearly communicate your value proposition. You cannot present your value proposition; i.e. the reason you are best suited for the job unless you know your strengths, weakness, and accomplishments.

The discussion eventually moved to tricky interview questions and how best to answer them.  One question caught my interest; the ubiquitous, “tell me about yourself.”  The group was confused about the best way to answer.  They were not clear as to the intent of the question, or how much detail to provide.

Well, how should you answer the “tell me about yourself” question? Do you talk about your personal life; your family, hobbies, or other interests? Do you talk about your career goals?  Do you talk about your favorite boss or past employer?  Or, do you convey your particular accomplishments, skills, training, and development? How would you answer that question?

My contribution was to remind the group of the big picture.  Interview time is a limited commodity, so make it productive.  Focus on why you are there.  As a prospective senior executive, your communication skills are of great interest.  They may be the most important aspect of the job in question. Directing a team requires clear communications.  Convincing more senior executives to fund programs or projects requires effective salesmanship.  Defending a budget, or a capital appropriation request requires persuasion skills.  Presenting to the Board of Directors requires exceptional poise and finesse. As with each of these activities, interview success depends on your ability to present a clear message that resonates with the employer.

Personally, I’m not fond of the “tell me about yourself” question. It is too ambiguous to yield a consistently useful answer.   I understand that it may be used as a conversation starter, but there is a better way.   I prefer to ask the candidate for a 60-second, thumbnail sketch of their current situation and what they want to do now.  This question is clear, requiring a focused response.   I expect to hear the common themes of their career, including their particular skills and strengths.  I want to gain an understanding of their plan for the next stage of their career.  It is my first glimpse into the candidate’s ability to communicate.   It is a more productive use of my time.  If the candidate can present her experience, strengths, and skills in an effective one-minute presentation, she has my attention.  I will move her forward in the process. It requires self-awareness.

From my point of view,  the “tell me about yourself,” is a poor way to begin an interview.  However, one must anticipate this question as it is so commonly used.  Fortunately, it presents the job seeker with an opportunity to influence the direction of the interview. I recommend an answer that is focused on what you’re trying to accomplish now while presenting the strengths and experience you bring to the party.  It should be a short answer, probably no more than one minute long.   It will require a well-rehearsed presentation.  The best response explains why you are the ideal candidate for the job.  In other words, your elevator pitch.  If done properly, your interviewer will ask follow-up questions that play to your strengths.  Unless you are asked about personal interests, stay focused on presenting your suitability for the job in question.

During job search, you must communicate a clear and concise message to capture the employer’s interest. To craft this message requires self-awareness.  Know yourself!

 

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Your feedback helps me continue to publish articles that you want to read.  Your input is very important to me so please leave a comment.

 

 

 

Jim Weber, President

NEW CENTURY DYNAMICS EXECUTIVE SEARCH

JimWeber@NewCenturyDynamics.com

Current Assignments

  1. COO- Northeast-based Casual Dining Restaurant Company – New
  2. Operating Partners – Legacy Pizza Chain – New
  3. Director of Biz Dev, Atlanta-based B2B Professional Services Company:    Completed
  4. Payroll-Benefits Manager, Atlanta-based Retail Company:  Complete
  5. Senior Accounting Manager – Atlanta-based Manufacturer. Complete
  6. Controller – Atlanta-based Consumer Products – Digital Company – Completed
  7. Outplacement Assignment – Atlanta-based Manufacturer:  Complete

Author of: Fighting Alligators: Job Search Strategy For The New Normal

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Jim Weber Bio
Prior to forming New Century Dynamics in 1999, Jim Weber spent 22 years with Fortune 500 franchising companies in the Food Retailing Industry where he developed a broad-based portfolio of “hands-on” line and staff experience in growth and turnaround situations.
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Breaking News

May 23, 2018:  ITB Partners Announces that we have placed one of our members as Fractional CEO for an Atlanta-based Not For Profit.

May 21, 2018:  New Century Dynamics Executive Search Announces that we have completed the CEO search for a Casual Dining Client based in the Midwest.

May 21, 2018:  New Search Assignment:  New Century Dynamics Executive Search Announces that it has been contracted to find a VP Operations for a Southeastern-Based Casual Dining Chain.

April 18, 2018:  New Century Dynamics Executive Search Announces that an offer has been made, and accepted to complete the search for a CEO for a Casual Dining Client.

February 19, 2018:  New Century Dynamics Executive Search Announces that an offer has been made, and accepted to complete the search for a  Corporate R&D Chef, Based in the Atlanta, GA area, for a Home Meal Replacement Start-up.

February 5, 2018:  New Search Assignment:  New Century Dynamics Executive Search Announces that it has been contracted to find a CEO for a Fast Casual Restaurant Brand. Your interest and referrals are welcome.

January, 23, 2018:  New Search Assignment:  New Century Dynamics Executive Search Announces that it has been contracted to find a Corporate Executive Chef, Based in the Atlanta, GA area, for a Home Meal Replacement Start-up. Your interest and referrals are welcome.

 

December 31, 2017:  New Search Assignment:  New Century Dynamics Executive Search Announces that it has been contracted to find an Area Supervisor, Based in the Carolinas for a Legacy Pizza Chain. Your interest and referrals are welcome.

December 1, 2017:  New Search Assignment:  New Century Dynamics Executive Search Announces that it has been contracted to find Operating Partners for a Legacy Pizza Chain. Your interest and referrals are welcome.

December 1, 2017:  New COO Search Assignment:  New Century Dynamics Executive Search Announces a new Search Assignment: COO for a Northeastern-based Casual Dining Brand. Your interest and referrals are welcome.

October 7:  ITB Partners closed a deal to help a client get their franchised business up and running.  The client signed our contract to help them develop a franchise area agreement.

August 14, 2017: New Century Dynamics Executive Search completes Controller Search for an Atlanta-based Consumer Products Company.

July 26, 2017: ITB Partners Lands Consulting Project with Home Meal Delivery Startup for Fractional CFO, Operations Effectiveness, and Supply Chain Management.

June 14, 2017: New Century Dynamics Executive Search lands Controller Search for an Atlanta-based Consumer Products Company.

April 20, 2017: New Century Dynamics Executive Search lands Outplacement Assignment for Key Client.

April 4, 2017: New Century Dynamics Executive Search Announces that Offer of Employment has been accepted for Senior Accounting Manager Search assignment: Atlanta-based Manufacturer.

March 13, 2017: New Century Dynamics Executive Search Announces the Completion of a search for a Human Capital Manager.

March 1, 2017: New Century Dynamics Executive Search Announces a new Search Assignment: COO for a Southeastern-based Casual Dining Brand. Your interest and referrals are welcome.

January 8, 2017: New Century Dynamics Executive Search announces new assignment: Controller for a Southeastern-based Casual Dining Brand.

January 16, 2017: Bill Black Joins ITB Partners

Bill Black brings over three decades of accomplishment-laden marketing experience in the food service and retail industries, having served as a Marketing Executive for some of America’s most recognized and loved brands, including Starbucks Coffee Company, Dunkin Donuts, Baskin-Robbins and Krystal Hamburgers. Read more at: http://www.itbpartners.com/bill-black.html

November 23, 2016: New Century Dynamics Executive Search announces new assignments: Payroll-Benefits Manager – Atlanta Based Retailer; Business Development Manager; Atlanta-Based Marketing Research Company.

June 29, 2016: New Century Dynamics Executive Search announces a new assignment: Senior Accounting Manager – Atlanta-based Manufacturer

June 4, 2016: New Century Dynamics Executive Search announces a new Coaching Client.

May 31, 2016: New Century Dynamics Executive Search announces a new search assignment: Controller, Orlando, FL based restaurant company.

May 29, 2016: “Fighting Alligators: Job Search Strategy For The New Normal” By James E Weber, is now available for purchase on Amazon.com.

May 17, 2016: New Century Dynamics Executive Search announces a new search assignment: AP Specialists for an Atlanta-based Manufacturer with a global reach.

April 27, 2016: New Century Dynamics Executive Search announces a new search assignment: General Manager for Southern Sports Club.

April 4, 2016: New Century Dynamics Executive Search announces that our candidate has accepted our client’s offer to become Plant Manager for Lawrenceville, GA plant.

March 7, 2016, Jim Weber announces the pre-launch of his new book: Job Search Strategy For The New Normal. Refer to new page, “Book” at our Website.