"Tell me about yourself" question

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sergiokun16

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Re: "Tell me about yourself" question

Postby sergiokun16 » Fri Aug 01, 2014 9:25 am

Anonymous User wrote:hahaha really should give them the answer you so artfully crafted. you sounds like an awesome candidate man


Hey, credit to OP for seeking out honest input, I don't think he would have posted on here if he wasn't actually struggling with how to formulate his answer.


OP- just give them a ~45 second elevator pitch. Something along the lines of the suggestions above about college, major, law school,, etc.

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kingjones59

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Re: "Tell me about yourself" question

Postby kingjones59 » Fri Aug 01, 2014 9:29 am

Jeezus. Just be a normal person, that's all. There is no formula. People who shoot the shit in BigLaw interviews get the jobs, not the people who spend hours thinking about a question like this.

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A. Nony Mouse

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Re: "Tell me about yourself" question

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri Aug 01, 2014 10:50 am

Maybe it helps to remember that the interviewer is usually very busy with lots of stuff that have nothing to do with interviewing. They may have never even seen your cover letter, or they may have reviewed it quickly in a stack of lots of cover letters and don't really remember which one you were. They may literally know almost nothing about you. So asking "tell me about yourself" isn't necessarily an interview "test" to see who can give the best answer. They literally want to know which candidate you were and to get some information about you they can use to remember who you are and distinguish you from other candidates ("Oh, that was the guy who grew up in New Orleans and was part of a Mardi Gras Krew but moved to Chicago to do TFA where he got interested in educational legislation").

(Obviously it's not universal that interviewers haven't paid attention/don't know anything about you, but it definitely happens.)

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Re: "Tell me about yourself" question

Postby Mal Reynolds » Fri Aug 01, 2014 10:56 am

Yeah maybe there are times when an interview question is code for another question that wasn't asked. I don't think tell me about yourself is one of those times. Every interview I've had now it was clear the interviewer was reading my resume for the first time, IN my interview.

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Re: "Tell me about yourself" question

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 01, 2014 1:06 pm

When one firm asked that, I paused pensively and then began, "I like long walks on the beach ... and potato salad."

I got a callback.

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Re: "Tell me about yourself" question

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 01, 2014 1:22 pm

Anonymous User wrote:When one firm asked that, I paused pensively and then began, "I like long walks on the beach ... and potato salad."

I got a callback.


lol, i told them i like cars, sports, and bacon.

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Re: "Tell me about yourself" question

Postby 071816 » Fri Aug 01, 2014 1:31 pm

"I enjoy meth, beer, and dismembering prostitutes."

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Re: "Tell me about yourself" question

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 01, 2014 1:44 pm

Here is what I say - it works every time:


I graduated from (COLLEGE) back in 20(XX) after studying finance and environmental science. As a finance major graduating during the financial crisis, I was exposed to things I had never heard of like CDO's, CDS, etc and realized the importance of the legal and regulatory framework that governs the financial industry. I decided to go to law school because I found this really interesting and wanted to learn more about it. In law school I did XXX, XXX and XXX to further my interest in doing this type of law (or if you do lit, say you discovered that you really loved litigation and not the transactional side). I grew up in XXX which is why I am trying to to come back and practice at a firm like XXX doing XXX.

This is all you need. They actually don't want to know about you. You have to sell your background, have a logical statement for why you are in front of them talking about joining their firm and have to be confident when saying it. This is what I use on every interview. This is not a time to actually tell the interviewer about you, and its a hard one to master, so I just use this formula, get past it, and then go on to the more interesting part of the interview.


EDIT: This is if you have shitty grades, if you have good grades, no one will even care what you say

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Nammertat

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Re: "Tell me about yourself" question

Postby Nammertat » Fri Aug 01, 2014 3:59 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Here is what I say - it works every time:


I graduated from (COLLEGE) back in 20(XX) after studying finance and environmental science. As a finance major graduating during the financial crisis, I was exposed to things I had never heard of like CDO's, CDS, etc and realized the importance of the legal and regulatory framework that governs the financial industry. I decided to go to law school because I found this really interesting and wanted to learn more about it. In law school I did XXX, XXX and XXX to further my interest in doing this type of law (or if you do lit, say you discovered that you really loved litigation and not the transactional side). I grew up in XXX which is why I am trying to to come back and practice at a firm like XXX doing XXX.

This is all you need. They actually don't want to know about you. You have to sell your background, have a logical statement for why you are in front of them talking about joining their firm and have to be confident when saying it. This is what I use on every interview. This is not a time to actually tell the interviewer about you, and its a hard one to master, so I just use this formula, get past it, and then go on to the more interesting part of the interview.


EDIT: This is if you have shitty grades, if you have good grades, no one will even care what you say


This sounds a lot like you're reading them your resume...

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Re: "Tell me about yourself" question

Postby totesTheGoat » Fri Aug 01, 2014 5:28 pm

Anonymous User wrote:They actually don't want to know about you. You have to sell your background, have a logical statement for why you are in front of them talking about joining their firm and have to be confident when saying it. This is what I use on every interview. This is not a time to actually tell the interviewer about you, and its a hard one to master, so I just use this formula, get past it, and then go on to the more interesting part of the interview.



This x1000

The question "tell me about yourself" is the same question as "why law school" and "where do you see yourself in 5 years"... it's really asking "do you know what you're doing with your life, or are you just schlubbing through law school because it sounds cool to put Esq. after your name?"

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Re: "Tell me about yourself" question

Postby nick417 » Fri Aug 01, 2014 5:46 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP here, i've reworked my answer a bit, how is this?:

"I know you probably hear this from every person that interviews with you, but I am extremely hard working; I was even affectionately nicknamed the 'Hardest Working Man in Showbiz' by my study group this year. I was born and raised in a blue collar community, I worked some tough manual labor jobs before law school, and I am not afraid of hard work. For some people, 1L year was easy; they just 'got it,' and were able to get A's with relative ease while still maintaining an active social life. I didn't 'get it' as easily, and so it took a great deal of dedication and hard work for me to finish in the top x%. However, I work hard because I love what I am studying and I am committed to being the best that I can be."



The reason this is awkward is everyone interviewing in front of them is "hardworking". To be in the top of your law school class requires extremely hard work.

Honestly, I think you should think of one word that best describes you and then focus on explaining with examples why that fits about you. If you say "dedicated" (instead of hard working), maybe link a volunteer job you had or some volunteer or club work you are doing at law school. Pick your strongest quality, and talk about that.

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84651846190

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Re: "Tell me about yourself" question

Postby 84651846190 » Fri Aug 01, 2014 6:20 pm

Anonymous User wrote:You can say anything you want, as long as you sound like someone fun to work with. I tell firms I went to law school on the recommendation of others and that I'm (insert whatever I want them to talk about for the next 15 minutes)

lol

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Re: "Tell me about yourself" question

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 01, 2014 6:43 pm

Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:You can say anything you want, as long as you sound like someone fun to work with. I tell firms I went to law school on the recommendation of others and that I'm (insert whatever I want them to talk about for the next 15 minutes)

lol


by fun to work with, i mean not a complete pain in the ass

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84651846190

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Re: "Tell me about yourself" question

Postby 84651846190 » Fri Aug 01, 2014 6:45 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:You can say anything you want, as long as you sound like someone fun to work with. I tell firms I went to law school on the recommendation of others and that I'm (insert whatever I want them to talk about for the next 15 minutes)

lol


by fun to work with, i mean not a complete pain in the ass

There are waaaay too many tyrannical midlevels for this to be a legitimate concern for firms.

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Re: "Tell me about yourself" question

Postby ckb614 » Wed Jul 25, 2018 10:20 am

84651846190 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:You can say anything you want, as long as you sound like someone fun to work with. I tell firms I went to law school on the recommendation of others and that I'm (insert whatever I want them to talk about for the next 15 minutes)

lol


by fun to work with, i mean not a complete pain in the ass

There are waaaay too many tyrannical midlevels for this to be a legitimate concern for firms.


This question could use an update for 2018.

Is "tell me about yourself" a request for an elevator pitch or a mini life/professional life story?

Is this the right opportunity to bring up why you want to work in that location, or should you wait to be specifically asked?

Sharpy

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Re: "Tell me about yourself" question

Postby Sharpy » Wed Jul 25, 2018 10:28 am

Anonymous User wrote:
84651846190 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:You can say anything you want, as long as you sound like someone fun to work with. I tell firms I went to law school on the recommendation of others and that I'm (insert whatever I want them to talk about for the next 15 minutes)

lol


by fun to work with, i mean not a complete pain in the ass

There are waaaay too many tyrannical midlevels for this to be a legitimate concern for firms.


This question could use an update for 2018.

Is "tell me about yourself" a request for an elevator pitch or a mini life/professional life story?

Is this the right opportunity to bring up why you want to work in that location, or should you wait to be specifically asked?


It's an elevator pitch. Don't overthink it.

shock259

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Re: "Tell me about yourself" question

Postby shock259 » Wed Jul 25, 2018 11:03 am

Mal Reynolds wrote:DOES NOT COMPUTE. NOT AN INDIVIDUAL. REQUEST ASSIMILATION IN FIRM HIVEMIND


One of the best posts in a while. :D

As for OP, the "formula" posted here isn't bad. When I'm answering the question in an interview, I usually just respond with a high level road map of how I got to where I am. Quick resume re-hash, but with some more "life" events and less of the minutia. IE: grew up X, wanted to get out there so went to Y for college, wasn't sure about law school, was a paralegal for a while, went to law school to do X, changed my mind and wanted to do Y instead. Now, I've been doing X for the last couple of years, but looking to change for Y reason. And you're a good fit because Z.

I sometimes ask this questions as an interviewer because (a) I didn't read the person's resume or (b) I want to throw the person a softball and get them talking. I don't think I'm ever really looking for anything specific as an interviewer.

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Re: "Tell me about yourself" question

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 25, 2018 11:09 am

“I’m a pimp, I walk with a limp, I step inside Pappadeux eating on shrimp”

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Re: "Tell me about yourself" question

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 25, 2018 11:15 am

Anonymous User wrote:“I’m a pimp, I walk with a limp, I step inside Pappadeux eating on shrimp”


I like dollars, I like diamonds
I like stunting, I like shining
I like million dollar deals
Where's my pen? Bitch I'm signin'
I like those Balenciagas, the ones that look like socks
I like going to the jeweler, I put rocks all in my watch
I like texts from my exes when they want a second chance
I like proving partners wrong, I do what they say I can't

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Re: "Tell me about yourself" question

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 25, 2018 11:40 am

I’m a G, I charge the highest fee and you can’t get that sack without me,

Homie, I’m shining, my partners ice be blinding and I stack them hours like a pilot and I’m flying,

I don’t do dili, need work? Man, not really, and don’t even bother if your firm is from Philly,

B/c I’m too thoed, these raises be cold, and I approach closings like I’m on death row,

I ain’t no snitch, about getting rich, and making them haters mad like Neil Gorsuch.

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Re: "Tell me about yourself" question

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 26, 2018 11:11 am

This is why you use your elevator speech.

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unsweetened

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Re: "Tell me about yourself" question

Postby unsweetened » Thu Jul 26, 2018 11:45 am

It's best to have something memorable and "fun"
Mine was "I used to race motorcycles." Invariably, someone in the office rides a motorcycle and interviewers would say "Oh we should connect you with Mr. So-and-so who rides a motorcycle." Worked well for me, although I never had anything in common with anyone in the office that rode a motorcycle. At that point nobody cared anyways.

killingmesoftly

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Re: "Tell me about yourself" question

Postby killingmesoftly » Sun Jul 29, 2018 9:14 pm

Just don't be awkward. If you play a sport or do something athletic mention something you did recently that's interesting, like a cool hike or rock climbing or something. These people are bored and want to talk about something unusual to them but (for your sake) that should also reflect well on you

agree with the motorcycle comment

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Re: "Tell me about yourself" question

Postby TTTwinCities » Mon Jul 30, 2018 9:52 am

I like to use the "present, past, future" formula to answer this question. It gives you a chance to throw some personal information into the "present" and "past" portions (current interests, law school activities, hometown, undergrad activities, etc.) and circle back to OCI and the specific firm to finish off the answer (next summer I'd like to be working at x size firm, in x location, working in x practice group). It's a good way to prepare an answer ahead of time that sounds more natural than simply describing your life in chronological order from high school/undergrad through law school.



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