Interviews - Tell Me About Yourself

Garrett Coakley Good QuestionImage Credit Garret Coakley

No four words seem to inspire such terror in interview candidates. It isn't a difficult question, but I've watched clients in mock interviews reduce themselves to stuttering and rambling facades of the amazing professionals they are when faced with this icebreaker. From my perspective as a coach, both HR and candidates are missing the boat with this question; interviewers think they are easing into the interview, but instead they are starting off on a stressful note for most candidates. On the other hand, job seekers are adding an enitrely uncalled for dimension of pressure by trying to adapt their answer to this introduction to fit with what they think the interviewer wants to hear. 

Since this is one of the most common interview questions, here are 5 tips for giving a stellar answer:

How to Get Introduced on LinkedIn

Today's blog post is a request from B. After reading How to Work the Room Like a Pro, B wanted to know how to take her networking efforts to the next level using LinkedIn. She specifically wanted to know about the introduction feature.

Introductions are a fantastic, and underused feature on LinkedIn. Many professionals will flatly ignore connection requests from strangers, but a message from someone they know is a different matter. That's why introductions are so important. It's not just a matter of etiquette, it's a matter of effectiveness. You'll want to use this tool when you are looking to network, prospect business, or simply learn more about what the other person does.

Questions? Comments? Requests for future tutorials or blog posts? All are welcome at


What Are Your Career Values?


Career Scrabble Julie Walraven


Photo Credit Julie Walraven

My recent guest blog post “Passions or Paycheck” on Integrative Academic Solutions sparked a lively discussion on LinkedIn. One of the commenters raised a fantastic point: passion is just one of a number of variables that you need to take into account when you are making career decisions. If you’re paying attention to your career values, they should influence every aspect of your career from job searching to the type of employer you work for, as well as your long and short term planning. So what exactly are career values, and how do you know what yours are?

Create Your Job

wolfgangfoto potters wheelPhoto Credit: Wolfgangfoto

Almost a year ago, Thomas Friedman published his article Need A Job? Invent It in the NY Times. At the time it was published, I followed the comments and was surprised at the deep revulsion to Friedman’s main ideas. Whether you love it or hate it, the truth is that lateral moves within organizations and job reclassification are far more common today than the linear upward mobility that everyone seems to crave. Taking that into consideration, Friedman isn’t so far off the mark, and I’ve seen this phenomenon happen with great results in the case of Eli.


Eli had been working for several years doing various operations and HR functions, but it was a small company so it wasn’t as though there was a progression plan. Rather than jump ship, Eli got smart. He observed the strengths and weaknesses of the organization, and wrote a report for the senior leaders with recommendations that he felt would make them more efficient and profitable. They took notice, and began listening when he made suggestions, and they started seeking out his opinion more often.

Next, Eli identified more gaps in operations. Again he went to senior management, pointing out holes in operating procedures and identifying how they could solve the problems. This time he volunteered to take on those responsibilities if the company would send him for the necessary training. They agreed, and his duties expanded, though he still had all of his original responsibilities as well.

Once again, Eli analyzed company processes, but this time he focused a bit more on himself. He pointed out gaps, inefficiencies and where money was wasted but positioned himself front and center as part of the solution. He was able to document how he had already been able to save them money and improve operations. This time, he requested a job reclassification as part of his solution. After reviewing the proposal and his track record with the company, the senior leaders agreed and created the role that Eli wanted all along.

Want to be like Eli? Then follow his lead:

Who are we?

Catherine Maybrey Coaching Services provides comprehensive career coaching packages to help clients move forward in their transition through action. As the principal and owner, Cate believes in “telling it like it is” and helping her clients to reach their goals through a combination of education, information, and collaboration. She also works with employers to provide custom training and organizational effectiveness solutions, believing that people should work smarter, not harder.

Our Services

For individuals seeking assistance with their careers, we offer support for everything from resumes and cover letters through growth and advancement, specializing in clients with graduate degrees and mid-level careers across all fields. We also offer client group coaching programs and custom designed solutions for organizations.

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Hamilton, Ont