How Harry Potter could land you your next job
Here’s the worst kept secret in careers: pretty much no one likes doing job interviews.
And here’s the even worse worst kept secret: no one likes the question “tell me about yourself”.
The reason it’s so tricky is because of just how broad this question is; do you talk about your current job? Your hobbies? Work experience? Entire life story??? And it certainly doesn’t help that this is often how interviewers will start your interview, before you’re warmed up and feeling more comfortable.
You’ll find countless interview resources to help you navigate the difficult terrain of interviews, but one trick that has helped me approach the soft skills element of this question probably isn’t listed.
I, like many young people, grew up with Harry Potter all around me. I read all the books with my sister, went to the movies at midnight, and waited with baited breath for the release of the final chapter in the series. It’s drilled into my brain at this point. When I started going to job interviews, I realised I could use this knowledge to my benefit.
So here’s my solution to the “tell me about yourself” problem: talk about your Hogwarts House! If you’re like me, you won’t have to dig around too much to remember the well-known traits of each of the four houses, and chances are they’ll provide you with a bit of inspiration to tackle this tricky part of the interview process.
So, let’s dig in!
Wait… how do I answer this question?
The “tell me about yourself” question is designed to get you provide an overview of who you are, and why you are a good fit for the role.
For that reason, it helps to be tactical with your response. A good way of tackling this question is using Lily Zhang’s easy formula: present, past, future.
Present: provide a summary of your current role: its main roles and responsibilities, and the scope it takes. If you aren’t currently in a relevant role to the one you’re applying for, you might summarise your degree here. You could even mention a recent work or study accomplishment.
Past: go over how you got to where you are today. This could be your qualifications, previous relevant work experience, and the challenges you’ve overcome.
Future: tell the interviewer your career goals, being sure to create a link to the role you are applying for.
You’ve probably got all the facts down – your degree, job, its components, and your career goals – but you may struggle with talking about what kind of person you are and your soft skills, which is where Harry Potter comes in.
Answering as a Gryffindor 🦁
- Known for standing up in the face of challenges
You could say:
“I’m a born leader who loves a challenge. I always speak my mind and stand up for what I believe in and my ideas, which I proved in my last role when…”
Answering as a Hufflepuff 🦡
- Hard workers
You could say:
“I’m a really hard worker, and managed to climb the ranks from an internship to land my current full-time role. Above everything else I value collaboration and person-to-person relationships…”
Answering as a Ravenclaw 🦅
- Creative and original
- Forward planners
“I’ve always been a fast learner, eager to ask questions and learn as much as I can about the workplaces I’m in. I’m fairly analytical, but bring a lot of creativity to my work as well…”
Answering as a Slytherin 🐍
“I think of myself as fairly resourceful and thrive when given independence and autonomy. I’m very ambitious, and will bring my drive and passion to whatever workplace I’m in…”
Job interviews can be really daunting, but always remember you are the expert on yourself! This little trick is a good one to fall back on when you’re feeling overwhelmed, but know you have all the tools you need to thrive! And if you need a little extra help, we’ve got you covered.
Featured image courtesy of Unsplash
Lily Cameron is a writer and editor based in Sydney. She is a UTS Communications (Creative Writing) graduate, and current Communications Assistant at UTS Careers. She is passionate about telling stories, both hers and others’, and the way digital and social media is changing the literary landscape. Her writing has appeared in Voiceworks, The Brag, and elsewhere.