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Originally published by Culture and Manners Institute.

 “Where do you see yourself in five years?”

I hate that question. I have never seen myself in five years.

We’re always interviewing. Whether hunting for a job, promotion or selling a product or service, we’re always making a case for ourselves.

Sometimes the toughest questions are the open-ended ones.

“Tell me about yourself.”
Translation: “Who are you and why should I care?”

The best answer has three parts:
1. Where have you been? (experience)
2. Where are you going? (goals)
3. What can you do for me or my organization? (qualifications)

To prepare for an interview, think in stories.

List the stories that showed when you overcame a challenge, solved a problem, accomplished something you are proud of. Think of stories that demonstrate your skills, goals and vital lessons learned.

 “What is your greatest strength?” Tell the story.

“What is your greatest weakness?” Some try to con the interviewer with a strength in cunning disguise. “I work way too hard.” “I’m too detail oriented.” Don’t pull a muscle patting yourself on the back. Interviewers are on to you.

Admitting weakness can be a strength. Tell the story about a weakness you conquered and how.

Sometimes interviewers throw a curve ball.

An interviewer stopped in the middle of an interview and asked my friend Tamara, “How do you think you’re doing so far?” Tamara, soft spoken and intellectual, froze. Then turned on the swagger, “I think I’m holding my own.” The interviewer smiled, “I think you are too.” Hired.

Remember the people who made a difference in our lives – who lifted us up or pushed our boundaries.

Then get out there in 2017 and tell your stories.

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