Self-description is always tricky. It’s hard to get your ego out of the way. Besides, what’s honesty when being self-descriptive? Are you a lying, cheating bore? Under some circumstances and occasions, that might have been true, but is it the whole picture or a significant amount?
Pop psychology, speed dating, resumes, employment interviews, and requests for short elevator talk precis of “who you are” have made us all respect one-paragraph lies. You collect it all (that’s flattering) into a blurb that pumps up whatever you think they want to hear. Afterward, you wonder if any of it was true.
A long time ago, I knew a business owner who preferred to invite prospective candidates out sailing in his small sloop. He maintained that he got a better grip on character watching someone handle a tiller and mainsheet than you’d get in an interview alone. Someone who froze up in the middle of a gybe wouldn’t do, but someone who wouldn’t hike out and take a bit of foam over the bow would be too cautious. At last, he mentioned that he was concerned that people understood that the Rules of the Road offshore were for safety and courtesy. His business had a good community reputation, and he didn’t want anyone endangering or ruining it. Like the sailing metaphors or not, they were an attempt to get at more than the standard platitudes. He pegged me as sometimes overly cautious on the water. It was a fair assessment. It can be a failing or an advantage depending on the situation. So with me, it worked, and I am careful to note that facet of my character when starting new ventures. But that is only one part of me, not the whole.
So, tell me about yourself type questions can start a flood of BS, stuttering, or an elevator talk of puerile achievements. Want my advice? Watch the eyes while they blab. Do they crinkle with amusement, go blank as they recite, or seek to engage you?
Well. It’s as good as any other method. I guess.