Tell Me About Yourself: A Sixteen-Year-Old’s Journey

Stacey Huddleston

By Stacey Huddleston, Vice President, Commercial Relationship Manager, Core Bank Loan Production Office

I’m so excited! This is going to be the best interview I’ve ever conducted.

My interviewee seems pretty confident, but has no idea what’s about to go down. So I start off with the big one, “Tell me about yourself.” I received a blank stare followed by an uncomfortable silence. Then visible frustration. Flustered, he reminded me that I already know who he is and he shouldn’t have to tell me who he is. He just wasn’t prepared for the question.

We started again a little differently with closed-end questions that produce closed-end answers. I asked him several questions, one at a time to help guide him along the interview process. He seemed uncomfortable answering questions I already knew the answers to, but he played along. After many back and forth direct questions and answers, I knew he was ready to revisit the big one. “So, tell me about yourself.”

I could see him relax a bit with a familiar grin, and replied, “Well dad, my name is Mason and I’m 16 years old. I’m going to be a junior this year at the local high school just up the road. I work really hard to get good grades, and math is my favorite subject because my teacher is a great mentor. I enjoy playing saxophone in our marching band, and I like to read books in my free time. I read a lot of books, and I’ve read the Harry Potter series seven times.” #BINGO

His Journey

Core Bank - Mason and Shoes

Over the next few weeks, Mason completed several job interviews. He was surprised how many of them started with the big question, “Tell me about yourself.” He also realized the pain of waiting for the follow up call. Of course, rejection was difficult as well.

But then he received a job offer at a local grocery store for minimum wage. He wasn’t excited. The next day, another offer came in for a well-known shoe store for more money and flexible hours.

Mason came to me for advice regarding the two offers. He admitted that he just wasn’t excited about one of the companies because of the manager, and the pay wasn’t very good. I smiled at the familiarity, and explained that this was his decision to make. Mason chose to sell shoes because he felt the manager really believed in him, not just because it was more money.

That old cliché is true. Kids watch everything we do like hawks, especially their parents.

My Journey

Earlier this year, prior to Mason’s job search, he watched me put on a suit several times for quite a few job interviews. After each interview, he asked if I had gotten the job. I responded positively, and explained that waiting for the next call was the difficult part. He observed the process, asked intelligent questions, and learned a lot through my journey.

I accepted an offer with Core Bank because I felt my new manager really believed in me. Something Mason would eventually value through his own job search.

I’m proud of my son for his tenacious journey towards his first job, and I’m proud to be his father and role model. I’m also proud to be working with a strong team at Core Bank, and that journey is just getting started.