Is there anyone who doesn't hate getting this question?
The reason it's often cited as one of the least-desired questions is because we don't really know what the interviewer is after, do we? What exactly are they asking? What do they want to know?
To be honest, I think many people ask this question in an interview just to get the ball rolling. Break the ice a little. Give the interviewee a chance to talk for a minute so the interviewer can get their thoughts together. It's kind of a nice "I don't know you. You don't know me. Let's start by telling me something about yourself before we get into the nitty-gritty details." After all, it may seem odd to sit right down and start off with "So why did you leave Walmart?"
Here is a sample answer for this question, using the example of a district manager, but please remember that it's just an example. The best answer for you will come from things like your work history, achievements, interests, goals, and so on. Everyone is different, so the ideal answer for one person won't work for everyone.
The purpose of this post is simply to give you something to think about as you prepare for your own job interviews. I hope you find it helpful. (If you do, feel free to pass it along!)
Thanks for coming in today and it's great to meet you. Before we get into things too far, maybe you could just start by telling me a bit about yourself?
No problem at all, and it's great to meet you too. I appreciate you considering me for this position and I'm looking forward to learning more about it.
As you can see from my resume, I am a life-long retailer and I've enjoyed a fair amount of success over the years. I got the bug when I was in high school, starting out working part-time at GameStop as a sales associate before moving on to Best Buy once I graduated. I took some time off before starting college, and I quickly worked my way up to department supervisor; in fact, I was told by the store manager that I was the youngest supervisor ever promoted in that district.
I worked my way up to assistant store manager after just 3 years with the company, which was a quick progression according to the regional manager at the time. I also started an online degree program on the side.
By the time I was 25, I was a store manager. By the age of 28, I was managing a flagship store and ranked 1st in the region on the overall performance scorecard. I was selected for the company's development program for high-potential leaders, and I graduated top of my class. I was also able to finish my Bachelor of Arts by this time.
I've now been a district manager for 9 years with Best Buy, and in that time I've managed 3 different markets. Each one was considered a "focus" district because of declining sales and ongoing staffing issues, and in each case I was able to turn things around. In fact, I led all 3 districts to a spot in the top 15% on the national scorecard, and I received the "District Manager of the Year" award in 20XX for best overall performance. That was quite an honor.
After spending the bulk of my career at Best Buy, I am now interested in a new challenge and a new adventure. I believe we get complacent if we don't stretch ourselves to see what we're capable of, and I think the time has come for me to take on a new challenge. I also believe in the importance of continuous learning and professional development, and I'm excited to learn new systems, programs, and products, and to build and develop new teams.
I've consistently exceeded expectations at every level, and I am confident I can do the same for you.