Don't just say you're a 'people person'
Job hunters can be so stubborn. They complain that "I can't get offers" while insisting on doing things over and over in job interviews that make potential employers eager to lead them to the nearest exit.
"I couldn't wait to end the conversation which had just begun," one employer told me, after interviewing a woman. "She made the same mistakes I see every day. I asked her to tell me about herself. By the time she had gotten through her memorized list of strengths and that crap about being a 'people person,' I was praying my phone would ring so I could end the interview."
That may seem harsh. But that's how ineffectual you sound when you glom onto hackneyed, meaningless, overused phrases to answer that overused, but nevertheless you-better-be-prepared-for-it question: Tell me about yourself.
I don't care how sick you are of hearing this question. It's an ice-breaking oldie but goodie that sets the tone and direction for where things go from there. And you are losing a delicious opportunity if in responding to it, you can't make yourself sound more interesting than the other 500 people who described themselves in similar gobbledygook.
Just what do so many job hunters say that turns employers' bright and hopeful eyes into bleary-eyed orbs• Let me name the top one: the notorious, previously mentioned "I'm a people person."
Job hunters who like people, get along with others and enjoy interacting with customers and clients love to list this — usually first — as one of their greatest attributes.
It's not that you may not indeed be a "people person" — but what in the world is that• And once you can define it, why not say that so it has some teeth and relevance to the employer?
For example: "I am very skilled in working with people. I am sensitive to others. And through my empathy and good listening skills, I can bring calm to emotional situations so we can move on to solve the problem." Or: "I enjoy building relationships with customers. I want to really know them and build trust so I spend time meeting face-to-face to understand their problems."
But do not just copy and use those words, or they will sound like a cooked-up response that you stole from someone else because you thought it sounded good — which is exactly what you'd be doing. Figure out what being a "people person" really means for you so it's credible and you can expound on it.
Sometimes job hunters think they should say they are a "people person" because a position entails dealing with others. What job doesn't• Whether you're making sandwiches or software you will interact with others. But you don't have to be the most affable, gregarious human on earth to be good for a business. Being pleasant, kind, respectful and aware of other people works just fine. So don't make up stuff you think an employer wants to hear.
E-mail Andrea Kay at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Rossi: Nothing huge, but Huntington helped Bucs
- Inside The Steelers: LB Williams dominates backs-on-backers drill at Latrobe Memorial Stadium
- Marte’s 2 fine defensive plays rescue Pirates in victory over Reds
- Steelers OLB coach Porter teaches as passionately as he played
- 2014 showing has Steelers RB Harris confident he belongs
- Pirates trade for Dodgers 1B/OF Morse, Mariners LHP Happ
- College Board alternative pushed
- Suspects in SWAT incident in Pittsburgh identified
- Deadly snake bites on the rise in Western Pa.
- Reporter seeks male students headed to Chatham
- 2 killed in single-vehicle crash in Pittsburgh