The Who is one of my all-time favorite rock bands and the song “Who are you?” is probably my favorite song by The Who.

In the forum of the interview, the lyrics…Who are you? Who, Who, Who, Who, Who are you?…resonate. The interviewer’s intent is to discover, well…Who are you? A very simple question but a question that is fumbled time and time again.
An interviewer may ask…Please tell me a bit about yourself., What are your strengths?, How would a previous teammate or manager describe you?,…All of the above questions are, for the most part, the same question…Who are you?. If the interviewee recognizes this and the incredible opportunity it offers them, a better interview will be the result.

You see, for most of the interviewing process the interviewer is in control as the standard Q&A’s unfold. Now regardless of the interviewee’s job, they should be looking for every opportunity to sell themselves. And, when the interviewer asks a question similar to the questions listed above, a light bulb needs to go off. They need to seize this opportunity because it may not come around again.

Here are five action steps to take to nail the question…Who are you?

Know the role – Pinpoint the duties and responsibilities for the role and then identify examples of you executing these duties and responsibilities in your current and previous roles. Stay on point.

Avoid the clichés – Steer clear of saying things such as…I am good with people., I am a team player., I am proactive., I am detail oriented…these are all given. If you feel that it is pertinent to the role, then be sure to treat them as the “frosting on the cake”.

Be ready – The opportunity will present itself. The question might sound slightly different but you need to recognize the opening. Remember, it is your turn to sell yourself and the opening may close if you are not prepared to act.

Prepare and perfect – Reflect on all of your experiences, bring your accomplishments from long-term to short-term memory. Recite and role play with someone. Interviewing is not something that we do every day and therefore preparation is an important factor in a successful interview.

Enthusiasm – Take a page from Ralph Waldo Emerson – “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm”. Leave no doubt in the interviewer’s mind that you are the person for the role.

Who are you? Many interviewees will tell themselves…Who knows me better than me?…and this is a trap. Do not let the simplicity of the question lull you into a false sense of security. Utilize the five actions steps and land the role.