Sunday, 16 August 2015

Those 3 little words...


No I am not talking about anything to do with love - I do enough of that over on my other blog (if you haven't checked out Is it just me? please do and let me know what you think). What I want to talk to you about is actually....interviews. And that horrible question when the interviewer goes

'So describe yourself in three words.'

Whenever I hear that, or read it on the application, my heart always always sinks.

It should be fairly easy. After all it is only three words. But I know I always leave it until last. People spend hours deliberating, over this question. You have to be original, witty, and interesting. You have to surprise, be truthful, yet not too truthful. And you are always trying to second guess the asker, attempting to give them what they want so they will think you are not merely a suitable person but, THE MOST suitable person to hire for whatever job you are going for.

It is no good just going for words such as hardworking, punctual and organised. These may be true and definitely what the interviewer wants to hear. However, they are so clich√©, the interviewer may not even believe you when you say them. And it doesn't seem like you have put any thought into the question, so you would actually get minus points for saying really positive things.

On the other side you don't want to be too truthful or too familiar with your (hopefully) boss-to-be and say words such as bubbly, talkative, excitable, and even enthusiastic is an iffy one. These are not necessarily bad things, but could be taken in a negative way.

If you have been asked this question face to face in an interview (unlucky you!) answer time is also taken into account. Again you have to play this so carefully. If you answer too quickly, it looks like you are just pulling random words out of your brain. But too slow and you obviously look a bit thick. I don't know about you though when I get asked this question, all adjectives go completely out of my head so it's difficult to think up any words, let alone those that describe me. I always prepare for this quite heavily and memorise them just before the interview or I would have a bit of trouble.

Basically what I am trying to show you is that this question is a complete minefield. And to be honest, I don't understand how anyone manages to answer it!

But I have also come to the conclusion that this is ok and you shouldn't be able to answer it. If you can YOU ARE NOT HUMAN!

Humans are complicated creatures with many strands to their personality that come together to make you who you are. There's no way you could cover all that intricacy with three tiny words. Especially when you are put on the spot. We are so much more than that.

So I have three words for all you interviewers who may be reading this. Get lost employers. Don't ask this. And: let me explain (and yes it did take me an hour to come up with that sentence). I will be more than happy to prove myself to you - if only you will give me a bit more leeway than those three little words.

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