One of the popular questions you will often encounter at a job interview is, “Tell me about yourself”. As easy as this sounds, many people find themselves fumbling. What could be so difficult? After all who better to know yourself than you? That is the problem, you may not be the best judge of yourself. This is where the Friends’ Test comes in.
To prepare a thoughtful and genuine answer to this question, take the Friend’s Test. Proposed by Simon Sinek, a leadership expert and author, the test helps candidates answer one of the simplest yet trickiest questions at an interview.
What is the Friend’s Test?
Last month, Sinek had a Facebook Live interview with Business Insider and he explained how people could use the eponymous test to find their “purpose”. He also said they could use this knowledge to sell themselves at an interview.
The test is so called after the popular 90’s TV series about six post-college friends who share an apartment building in New York. It uses the same concept to identify your strengths and weaknesses.
Pick a friend you love, one that loves you back. Spouse or family members are not allowed.
Ask them, “Why are we friends?”
According to Sinek, it is normal for the person to feel confused because it may feel like you are putting them on the spot. So, to make it feel less weird, re-phrase the question this way, “What is it about me that will make you stay, no matter what?”
Your friend will most likely start listing things common with most friends like, “You have a good sense of humour” or “You have always been there” and so on. This is still shallow, so you would have to press further. Ask them to describe you more specifically.
Sinek says, eventually, they will give in. Their description of you will turn into a description of themselves- “This will automatically include how you make them feel, and the value you add to their life,” says Sinek.
The leadership expert gave an example of his friend. “When I spoke to him he told me, “I can sit in a room with you and be inspired, without even need to talk with you.””
You can try this with many friends in your close circle to get as much insight about yourself from them. Each one is bound to have a different reason for your friendship. Of course, you can ask about other things to, like the ‘annoying’ habits you have. While this is useful for you, it is not necessary to repeat it at the interview or you would be shooting yourself in the foot.
With an idea of all your strong points (and weaknesses), you will be better armed to describe yourself truthfully at an interview. You can include a few harmless weaknesses to maintain objectivity. But nothing so grave to jeopardise your chances of snagging the job.
The Friend’s Test has been known to facilitate useful feedback among groups other than social circles. For example, it could be used in the office. The results can be good for communication among teams.