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I provide the most intensive, effective MBA interview preparation service in the world. My interview coaching clients get results because I help them figure out what to say (logical content), and how to say it (impressive delivery).

I teach some of the world's top engineers and scientists at The University of Tokyo how to present their ideas on paper and in person.

I am a professional stage actor who has performed with The American Shakespeare Center.
At Stanford, I studied improv theatre with Patricia Ryan Madson, who has taught everyone from college students to Silicon Valley executives from companies like Google how to tell believable stories.

I provide one-hour mock interview sessions with feedback. I also provide extended multi-hour training. We begin with an initial diagnostic mock interview, which helps me determine your strengths and weaknesses. In subsequent sessions, we can work on strategy, answer modeling, and mock interviewing.

For Vince's latest tips, plus service details, please go here. Then, please contact Vince when you are ready to start your preparation.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012



First, let's focus on your self-introduction.

"Walk me through your resume." (WMTYR)
Some interviewers (most notably, Wharton) often start the conversation with: "Walk me through your resume." OR "Summarize your professional life since graduating from university."

The best strategy for this type of self-introduction question is to show each period of your career as a choice. "I joined my company because I wanted to work in an international setting and believed that the ABC industry would provide me with the best chances to use my XYZ skills. I joined the Finance Department in order to learn accounting and profit-based decision-making. Later, I moved to (another department) in order to learn (another set of skills)...."

Try creating an (invisible) "why" column on your resume. In other words, list keyword to show your motivation for each choice. What skill/knowledge did you hope to gain by choosing your university major? What interested you in your industry? Why did you chose your particular company? What skill did you hope to acquire in your first / second / current position?

You might also want to create a macro analysis / summary of your career to date. For example, " I have worked in two different functions. First, I learned sales skills since I knew they would be useful in any business situation. After earning the top sales award in 2007, I was promoted to my current position in corporate planning."

VINCE'S NOTE: Clients have asked me if you should give this answer in chronological order. Absolutely! In other words, if your resume lists professional experience above educational experience (as I suggest) you are actually walking your interviewer UP your resume from college graduation up to your current position.

"Tell me about yourself" (TMAY)
Another common way for an interviewer to start the conversation (after small-talk / ice-breakers) is to say, "Tell me about yourself".

She is asking for quick "snapshot" images of your professional and personal achievements and interests. Your life as a list. 


Professionally, I…
  • One macro sentence (# of years / functions / skills)
  • One recent accomplishment or highlight such as being awarded company sponsorship or completing an important project
Personally, I…(list 2 to 3 interests)
  • 1st hobby / interest (perhaps showing how you use your "mind" such as studying history, a science, or third language)
  • 2nd hobby / interest (perhaps showing how you use your "body" such as sports)
  • 3rd hobby / interest (perhaps showing how you use your "spirit" such as the arts, cultural activities)
VINCE'S NOTE: Some clients ask if you should only mention current / ongoing interest. Not necessarily. I personally would talk about music even though I am not currently in a band. I enjoy strumming my guitar to make my son laugh. And I certainly take every opportunity to listen to live and recorded music. Most of all, some of my best lifelong friends are those I have made through music. So I would mention it as my first personal interest.  

Other templates and tips

How to Answer the ‘Tell Me About Yourself’ Interview Question
Don’t be afraid of this question; instead use it as an opportunity to position yourself for success.

When I was a human resources executive doing hiring interviews, I almost always began my interviews with candidates by requesting, “Tell me about yourself.” I did that for a number of reasons, the most important of which was to see how the candidates handled themselves in an unstructured situation.
I wanted to see how articulate they were, how confident they were and generally what type of impression they would make on the people with whom they came into contact on the job.
I also wanted to get a sense of what they thought was important.
Most candidates find this question to be a particularly difficult one to answer. That is a misplaced view. This question offers an opportunity to describe yourself positively and focus the interview on your strengths. Be prepared to deal with it. These days, it’s unavoidable. Like me, most interviewers start off their interviews with this question. A lot of interviewers open with it as an icebreaker or because they're still getting organized, but they all use it to get a sense of whom you are.

The Wrong Response
There are many ways to respond to this question correctly and just one wrong way: by asking, “What do you want to know?” That tells me you have not prepared properly for the interview and are likely to be equally unprepared on the job. You need to develop a good answer to this question, practice it and be able to deliver it with poise and confidence.

The Right Response
To help you prepare, I spoke to a number of career coaches on how best to respond when faced with this question. Heed the career advice that follows to ace this opener:
The consensus of the coaches with whom I spoke:
  • Focus on what most interests the interviewer
  • Highlight your most important accomplishments
Focus on What Interests the Interviewer
According to Jane Cranston, a career coach from New York, “The biggest mistake people being interviewed make is thinking the interviewer really wants to know about them as a person.
They start saying things like, 'Well, I was born in Hoboken, and when I was three we moved …’ Wrong. The interviewer wants to know that you can do the job, that you fit into the team, what you have accomplished in your prior positions and how can you help the organization.”
Nancy Fox, of Fox Coaching Associates, agrees. She notes that “many candidates, unprepared for the question, skewer themselves by rambling, recapping their life story, delving into ancient work history or personal matters.” She recommends starting with your most recent employment and explaining why you are well qualified for the position. According to Fox, the key to all successful interviewing is to match your qualifications to what the interviewer is looking for. “In other words, you want to be selling what the buyer is buying.”
Think of your response as a movie preview, says Melanie Szlucha, a coach with Red Inc. “The movie preview always relates to the movie you're about to see. You never see a movie preview for an animated flick when you're there to see a slasher movie. So the ‘tell me about yourself” answer needs to directly fit the concerns of your prospective employer.”
Previews are also short but show clips of the movie that people would want to see more of later. They provide enough information about the movie so that you could ask intelligent questions about what the movie is about. Hiring managers don't want to look unprepared by reading your resume in front of you, so Szlucha advises that you “provide them some topics to ask you more questions about.”
Highlight Your Most Important Accomplishments
Greg Maka, managing director at 24/7 Marketing, advises job seekers to "tell a memorable story about your attributes.” For example, if you tell an interviewer that people describe you as tenacious, provide a brief story that shows how you have been tenacious in achieving your goals. “Stories are powerful and are what people remember most,” he said.
One great example is that of Fran Capo, a comedienne who bills herself as “the world’s fastest-talking female.” She offers the following advice: “Whenever I go on auditions or interviews, I have a "set" opening I use. ... I tell the interviewer what I do in one sentence and then say, ‘And I also happen to be the Guinness Book of World Records’ fastest-talking female.’ Then I elaborate.” According to Capo, the main thing in anything you do is to be memorable, in a good way. Your goal when you answer the ‘tell me about yourself’ question is to find a way stand out from everyone else.
And, Be Brief
Maureen Anderson, host of "The Career Clinic" radio show, stresses the importance of keeping your answer short: “The employer wants to know a little bit about you to begin with — not your life story. Just offer up two or three things that are interesting — and useful. You should take about a minute to answer this question.”
To make sure it is succinct and covers what you want it to cover, she suggests that you “write your answer out before the interview, practice it, time it and rehearse it until it sounds natural. Then practice it some more. The goal is to tell the employer enough to pique their interest, not so much that they wonder if they’d ever be able to shut you up during a coffee break at the office.”
Rather than dread this question, a well-prepared candidate should welcome this inquiry. Properly answered, this question puts the candidate in the driver's seat. It gives her an opportunity to sell herself. It allows her to set the tone and direction for the rest of the interview, setting her up to answer the questions she most wants to answer.
(found at; accessed 01/2011)

10 Good Ways to 'Tell Me About Yourself'
'If Hollywood made a movie about my life, it would be called...' and nine more memorable answers to this dreaded job interview question.

You know it’s coming.
It’s the most feared question during any job interview: Do you think I would look good in a cowboy hat?
Just kidding. The real question is: Can you tell me about yourself?
Blecch. What a boring, vague, open-ended question. Who likes answering that?
I know. I’m with you. But unfortunately, hiring managers and executive recruitersinterviewing and you’re out networking in the community — you need to be ready to hear it and answer it. At all times. ask the question. Even if you’re not
Now, before I share a list of 10 memorable answers, consider the two essential elements behind the answers:
The medium is the message. The interviewer cares less about your answer to this question and more about the confidence, enthusiasm and passion with which you answer it.
The speed of the response is the response. The biggest mistake you could make is pausing, stalling or fumbling at the onset of your answer, thus demonstrating a lack of self-awareness and self-esteem.
Next time you’re faced with the dreaded, “Tell me about yourself…” question, try these:
  1. “I can summarize who I am in three words.” Grabs their attention immediately. Demonstrates your ability to be concise, creative and compelling.
  2. “The quotation I live my life by is…” Proves that personal development is an essential part of your growth plan. Also shows your ability to motivate yourself.
  3. “My personal philosophy is…” Companies hire athletes – not shortstops. This line indicates your position as a thinker, not just an employee.
  4. “People who know me best say that I’m…” This response offers insight into your own level of self-awareness.
  5. “Well, I googled myself this morning, and here’s what I found…” Tech-savvy, fun, cool people would say this. Unexpected and memorable.
  6. “My passion is…” People don’t care what you do – people care who you are. And what you’re passionate about is who you are. Plus, passion unearths enthusiasm.
  7. “When I was seven years old, I always wanted to be…” An answer like this shows that you’ve been preparing for this job your whole life, not just the night before.
  8. “If Hollywood made a move about my life, it would be called…” Engaging, interesting and entertaining.
  9. “Can I show you, instead of tell you?” Then, pull something out of your pocket that represents who you are. Who could resist this answer? Who could forget this answer?
  10. “The compliment people give me most frequently is…” Almost like a testimonial, this response also indicates self-awareness and openness to feedback.
Keep in mind that these examples are just the opener. The secret is thinking how you will follow up each answer with relevant, interesting and concise explanations that make the already bored interviewer look up from his stale coffee and think, “Wow! That’s the best answer I’ve heard all day!”
Ultimately it’s about answering quickly, it’s about speaking creatively and it’s about breaking people’s patterns.
I understand your fear with such answers. Responses like these are risky, unexpected and unorthodox. And that’s exactly why they work.
(found at; accessed 01/2011)

more tips here

-Updated by Vince on 14 March 2012

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