What is the best answer to the "Tell me about yourself" interview question for software professionals?

Updated on : December 3, 2021 by Pierce Raymond



What is the best answer to the "Tell me about yourself" interview question for software professionals?

Questions like "tell me about yourself" or "describe yourself" are usually meant to break the ice, from what I've felt. Most people tend to take them so seriously that instead of helping the interviewer break the ice, they freeze! "About me? Well I ..."

  • So the first thing to do is avoid unnecessary anxiety. You could use it in a better way later. Think of it this way: you have a date, let's say, a blind date. You don't know anything about the other person, she doesn't know anything about you either. You just come and sit and you are not talking, what should the other do?
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Questions like "tell me about yourself" or "describe yourself" are usually meant to break the ice, from what I've felt. Most people tend to take them so seriously that instead of helping the interviewer break the ice, they freeze! "About me? Well I ..."

  • So the first thing to do is avoid unnecessary anxiety. You could use it in a better way later. Think of it this way: you have a date, let's say, a blind date. You don't know anything about the other person, she doesn't know anything about you either. You just come and sit and you are not talking, what should the other person do? Speak, right? Obviously, what is the point of two people sitting at a table, face to face, with nothing to do or say? And in all likelihood, the first question they will ask you will be: "So, tell me something about yourself."

    The interviewer's intent behind asking you to actually introduce yourself is not all that different.
  • That doesn't mean you won't be judged on what you say here. But it will not be the sort of decisive judgment that the interviewer must make. There is still a long way to go for that to happen yet. So take it easy.
  • Now, think of all the things that really define you and define you in a way that would make a stranger (in this case, a prospective employer) take an interest in you. You could blurt out answers you've read on the internet, but I really don't think that helps you much. You can always ask for more details or explanations in addition to the initial introduction.
  • "I'm a creative person"
    "Oh really, creative like in what? Do you remember an incident where your creativity helped you solve a problem?"
    "..."
  • An answer learned by heart will not allow you to think quickly in that case. Being honest and real, on the other hand, gives you the ability to do so, as it essentially requires you to tell the truth.

    Before the interview, write down all the things that define you: your background, your hobbies, your passions, your activities, your philosophies, your ideologies, your strengths, your weaknesses, your achievements, etc.

    Now, try to figure out which ones will allow a stranger to see an interesting side of you. That is actually what the interviewer hopes to see as well. Try to be unique, diverse and original in the way you express yourself.

    You could say exactly what you read on the internet or from someone else, but saying it in a different way, adding layers to it, can help you stand out.

    For instance:
  • "My biggest weakness is that I am a workaholic." (you wish!)
  • vs.
  • "I don't know if this counts as a weakness or not, but I guess the fact that I love being busy often causes me to miss out on some fun moments with friends and family.
  • I made it up to exemplify the difference you can make to your answers by using words wisely.
  • DO NOT mention personal details like your family history UNLESS the interviewer asks for it. It takes unnecessary time, it may be a detour for some interviewers, it may go against the policy of some companies, and it is not one of the most important things to mention. Then? What's the point of starting on that note?
    Personally, I like to value the interviewer's time and not mention unnecessary information unless he specifically asks for it.
  • Ideally, it could include:
    1. Your name
    2. Your educational history / achievements, both from college and school
    3. Your most significant work experience / achievement
    4. Your hobbies, with more emphasis on your passion (s). You could support the same with an example perhaps.
    5. The things in life / career that matter most to you
    6. Why are you interviewing for your company?
    7. Try to think of a sentence about yourself to finish. Probably the motto of your life
  • Those are the only cases you can choose from. But I really suggest you be original and think for yourself. Be creative, imaginative, and organized.
  • For each adjective you use for yourself, be prepared with some real-life examples. You will hate if you end up wondering and looking around when asked to justify that you are what you said you are. It can be incredibly embarrassing and can make you a lot more nervous ... and it's just the first question so far!
    So if you think you won't be able to spontaneously recall such anecdotes in the actual interview, keep a few handy (in your memory, of course).
  • And oh yeah, don't overstretch it. Speak quality. Cover the most important / interesting things first. Leave it up to the interviewer if you want to ask for more, take off from something you said, or move on to another question.

This is a general answer, rather than one specific to software developers (I have never actually been interviewed for a job as a developer, although I have interviewed developers). And this applies more to people with some experience, than to the entry level. With those caveats:

It depends on when this is asked, at the beginning or at the end of an interview.

In the middle or at the end of an interview, it really doesn't make much sense to ask these kinds of open-ended questions, but if they asked me, my answer would be something like “we've already talked about a lot of things, can I be a little more specific?

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This is a general answer, rather than one specific to software developers (I have never actually been interviewed for a job as a developer, although I have interviewed developers). And this applies more to people with some experience, than to the entry level. With those caveats:

It depends on when this is asked, at the beginning or at the end of an interview.

In the middle or at the end of an interview, it doesn't really make much sense to ask these kinds of open-ended questions, but, if they asked me, my answer would be something like “we've already talked about a lot of things, can I? Would you be a little more specific about what you would like me to address? "

Asked, most commonly, at the beginning of an interview, this is the opportunity to "tell your story." Who are you, what motivates you, what do you know, what have you achieved?

When I ask someone this question, I'm really looking for someone to give me a synopsis of where they came from; I want to get an idea of ​​them. I want to get an idea of ​​what motivates them, how they think, how they approach things, what it would be like to have them around them. Once you have the big picture, then you could dig into specific areas: to see what they really know, to see how they respond to challenges related to the job at hand, to see how they react to pressure, and of course to Do keep track of any red flags that may have come to mind when they "tell their story." (I also like to see what kind of questions they ask, about the company, about the job, in particular how much they ask before I ask "do you have any questions?").

When asked this question, I tend to tell a chronological / historical story: my background, what I studied, the "mistake" I caught in college that has fueled my career for 40 years, and then the various jobs I have. I've done and projects I've worked on, presented as variations on a theme, highlighting those things that I think were significant and / or presented serious challenges. I also tend to highlight the humorous aspects of projects. I also try to do some homework about the company and the position, so that I can relate my work to the position in question (to give a recent example: I was hired to do systems architecture for "Intelligent Transportation Systems", something we often describe What " I had previously worked on "maneuvering control" for tanks, which turns out to be a very similar problem, you pick things up, you move from one place to another, whether you are picking up and dropping off people or ammunition, the systems are basically the same. Telling that story was a pretty good way to send the message that "I can solve the problems you throw at me" (with a sense of humor). Note: I am quite focused, on the verge of intense; some people not so well with others. Also, I have a story to tell that sticks together. Your experience may be different. I have a story to tell that sticks together. Your experience may be different. I have a story to tell that sticks together. Your experience may be different. I had previously worked on "maneuvering control" for tanks, which turns out to be a very similar problem, you pick things up, you move from one place to another, whether you are picking up and dropping off people or ammunition, the systems are basically the same. Telling that story was a pretty good way to send the message that "I can solve the problems you throw at me" (with a sense of humor). Note: I am quite focused, on the verge of intense; some people not so well with others. Also, I have a story to tell that sticks together. Your experience may be different. I have a story to tell that sticks together. Your experience may be different. I have a story to tell that sticks together. Your experience may be different. for tanks, which turns out to be a very similar problem, you pick things up, you move from place to place, whether you're picking up and dropping people or ammunition, the systems are basically the same. Telling that story was a pretty good way to send the message that "I can solve the problems you throw at me" (with a sense of humor). Note: I am quite focused, on the verge of intense; some people not so well with others. Also, I have a story to tell that sticks together. Your experience may be different. I have a story to tell that sticks together. Your experience may be different. I have a story to tell that sticks together. Your experience may be different. for tanks, which turns out to be a very similar problem, you pick things up, you move from place to place, whether you're picking up and dropping people or ammunition, the systems are basically the same. Telling that story was a pretty good way to send the message that "I can solve the problems you throw at me" (with a sense of humor). Note: I am quite focused, on the verge of intense; some people not so well with others. Also, I have a story to tell that sticks together. Your experience may be different. I have a story to tell that sticks together. Your experience may be different. I have a story to tell that sticks together. Your experience may be different. whether you're picking up and dropping people or ammunition, the systems are basically the same. Telling that story was a pretty good way to send the message that "I can solve the problems you throw at me" (with a sense of humor). Note: I am quite focused, on the verge of intense; some people not so well with others. Also, I have a story to tell that sticks together. Your experience may be different. I have a story to tell that sticks together. Your experience may be different. I have a story to tell that sticks together. Your experience may be different. whether you're picking up and dropping people or ammunition, the systems are basically the same. Telling that story was a pretty good way to send the message that "I can solve the problems you throw at me" (with a sense of humor). Note: I am quite focused, on the verge of intense; some people not so well with others. Also, I have a story to tell that sticks together. Your experience may be different. I have a story to tell that sticks together. Your experience may be different. I have a story to tell that sticks together. Your experience may be different. with sense of humor). Note: I am quite focused, on the verge of intense; some people not so well with others. Also, I have a story to tell that sticks together. Your experience may be different. I have a story to tell that sticks together. Your experience may be different. I have a story to tell that sticks together. Your experience may be different. with sense of humor). Note: I am quite focused, on the verge of intense; some people not so well with others. Also, I have a story to tell that sticks together. Your experience may be different. I have a story to tell that sticks together. Your experience may be different. I have a story to tell that sticks together. Your experience may be different.

The interviewer asks "help me understand who you are today, in regards to this position." Your answers should be framed accordingly.

For example: “I love programming and have done it for 8,000 hours for the last three years. I'm great at knowing the right algorithm for a problem because I constantly read computer science literature. Algorithm problems are for me like sudoku for my grandmother. I love working with people to do bigger things than I could accomplish alone. Big problems motivate me and I think you have some here that I can help solve. "

If you are a recent graduate, you focus

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The interviewer asks "help me understand who you are today, in regards to this position." Your answers should be framed accordingly.

For example: “I love programming and have done it for 8,000 hours for the last three years. I'm great at knowing the right algorithm for a problem because I constantly read computer science literature. Algorithm problems are for me like sudoku for my grandmother. I love working with people to do bigger things than I could accomplish alone. Big problems motivate me and I think you have some here that I can help solve. "

If you are a recent graduate, you focus on what resonates with you and what you want to do. For example, “I liked computer games as a child and wanted to make my own. I heard that computers are a good career too, so I went to college in computer science. Once I was there, I realized that writing operating systems was what I liked the most. I like the challenge and working close to the hardware. I do my best work on very complicated systems, because I am good at keeping track of a lot of details and making few mistakes. I want to do this kind of work in the future, especially as I get to work on something that a lot of people will use! "

Fair play includes what motivates you to excel, a unique experience that makes you valuable to them, and why you want to work for the company. Pro tip: don't say "money" or "move to that city."

The basic idea is to have "your story" crafted and tell it in a way that highlights YOUR personal strengths and your personal experience as a side effect.

You want the story to naturally explain how you are going to HELP the potential employer be more successful without actually saying, "This is why I'm a great candidate."

You should have this answer ready in ANY CASE: If the employer never asks the question, then offer the answer ON YOUR OWN, either in whole or in parts at the appropriate time.

No part of the story should be longer than 2 minutes. Maybe 30 dry

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The basic idea is to have "your story" crafted and tell it in a way that highlights YOUR personal strengths and your personal experience as a side effect.

You want the story to naturally explain how you are going to HELP the potential employer be more successful without actually saying, "This is why I'm a great candidate."

You should have this answer ready in ANY CASE: If the employer never asks the question, then offer the answer ON YOUR OWN, either in whole or in parts at the appropriate time.

No part of the story should be longer than 2 minutes. Maybe in 30-second chunks you have a total of 3-4 minutes of material.

If asked, say the 2 minutes (basic 4-fragment version) with additional material in reserve for after the interviewer's comments OR to be offered later in the interview if an opportune moment arises.

What you should not say is

“Well, I like cats and pizza and yesterday I went swimming. I have a bunion and two dogs. I did a bit of photography but I gave up because… ”.

nor should you say

"I'm a hard-working, team-focused, highly motivated person with a clear set of goals and a passion for x, y, z"

because

I don't care "for" you (don't be offended, I'm not your friend)

I don't want to hear buzzword-filled rhetoric that is obviously rehearsed.

In this part of the interview I try to give you the opportunity to sell yourself. Tell me about projects, lessons learned, goals within the field, real work.

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What you should not say is

“Well, I like cats and pizza and yesterday I went swimming. I have a bunion and two dogs. I did a bit of photography but I gave up because… ”.

nor should you say

"I'm a hard-working, team-focused, highly motivated person with a clear set of goals and a passion for x, y, z"

because

I don't care "for" you (don't be offended, I'm not your friend)

I don't want to hear buzzword-filled rhetoric that is obviously rehearsed.

In this part of the interview I try to give you the opportunity to sell yourself. Tell me about projects, lessons learned, goals within the field, examples of skills in the real world, anything that tells me you are the right fit for the job. A little humor goes a long way, too, not offensive jokes or hit-and-run jokes, but some light-hearted wit that shows me you're not a robot.

So the answer is: anything that shows why you are the one for the job, no mechanically rehearsed bs and definitely no personal or unrelated stuff.

Good luck.

Thanks for the A2A.

What Sam Bancroft said next. An interview is a sale. Unless you are dealing with a completely unbiased interviewer, very friendly and logical, willing to put in a mental effort to apply your story to the needs of the company ... they obviously don't exist ... you are expected to find and press the button. interviewer pleasure, the most important of which is eliminating "pain points" (know this sales term). They hire you to solve a problem.

Ideally, this question should be asked after the interviewer has informed you of the problem (s) in question. If not, maybe you can kindly postpone

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Thanks for the A2A.

What Sam Bancroft said next. An interview is a sale. Unless you are dealing with a completely unbiased interviewer, very friendly and logical, willing to put in a mental effort to apply your story to the needs of the company ... they obviously don't exist ... you are expected to find and press the button. interviewer pleasure, the most important of which is eliminating "pain points" (know this sales term). They hire you to solve a problem.

Ideally, this question should be asked after the interviewer has informed you of the problem (s) in question. If not, maybe you can politely postpone it. An interview is not an interrogation. You can ask for something when a question is asked. It's okay to ask the interviewer to describe your situation first. A smart person would do it before asking you anything, as each interview question is to determine how your skills / attitude / whatever help solve current problems.

Having learned the employer's pain points, it is easy to answer the question about yourself by describing (in detail) how you solved similar problems in your previous projects. In short, you were born and trained your entire life to solve those exact problems. No sarcasm, obviously. That is what your interviewer wants to hear.

If there are multiple interviewers (a panel interview), focus on your boss's possible immediate concerns.

They usually ask this so they can get a general idea of ​​what the candidate did and how they can introduce themselves. They want to know what is relevant to the candidate when it comes to their adaptive potential.

As a developer with 6 years of experience, I usually tell the interviewer where I graduated, the companies I have been in, and the projects I have worked on. I would say that I have always worked on web application development projects using mostly Java / .Net so you know where my expertise is focused.

Then I would tell a little about what I do in my free time at the

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They usually ask this so they can get a general idea of ​​what the candidate did and how they can introduce themselves. They want to know what is relevant to the candidate when it comes to their adaptive potential.

As a developer with 6 years of experience, I usually tell the interviewer where I graduated, the companies I have been in, and the projects I have worked on. I would say that I have always worked on web application development projects using mostly Java / .Net so you know where my expertise is focused.

Then I would tell you a little bit about what I do in my spare time at the end, so that you can get an idea of ​​my general interests.

It is best to keep it short and objective. Sometimes the interviewer would ask questions, so it's okay to be more detailed when that happens.

Tell me about yourself in the software profession should be short and professional, not like your interest in game movies and not even your family.

It should be like where you belong about your education, your professional degree, your first job and related projects, all yours alone.

I don't think there is a general answer that everyone can use. The answer will depend and will vary depending on the person.

this video has some good tips

Hopefully, you can say, "I worked with a team that developed a successful API."

(Even if it is a minor wadget. Or relatively unknown. Success can be defined in many ways ...)

However, any positive experience from the team in the real world BRIGHTLINE your interview or resume.

Good luck!

All recruiters have asked this question almost every time they meet a new candidate. You shake hands, they ask you to sit down. You sit and smile. They ask this question. You begin,

"Hello. My name is ___. I currently work at ____ as ____. My education credentials include ........."

<BORING>

They somehow keep their smile and wait for you to finish while you speak whatever comes to mind at the time.

This is not the correct way to start a conversation.

Rather than a formal introduction, think of your two-minute response as a tool to connect with the interviewer.

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All recruiters have asked this question almost every time they meet a new candidate. You shake hands, they ask you to sit down. You sit and smile. They ask this question. You begin,

"Hello. My name is ___. I currently work at ____ as ____. My education credentials include ........."

<BORING>

They somehow keep their smile and wait for you to finish while you speak whatever comes to mind at the time.

This is not the correct way to start a conversation.

Rather than a formal introduction, think of your two-minute response as a tool to build a connection with the interviewer, the company, and the future growth of all parties involved. This is an opportunity to show that you can fit perfectly into the culture. Show that it is interesting. Show your skills.

In all the interviews I have attended, the questions begin with what I mentioned in the part about me.

If you're cooler, make sure everything you've done differently from other candidates shows up at this point.

You can start on the lines of ...

Hi there. I am _____ and I am here as a candidate for position ____ on your team. I will finish my B.XX. on _____ for June 2018. As part of my course, I have worked on a project where we build _____ using ___ and ____. It was a great learning experience both technically and socially, as we had to balance the distribution of work within the team and continually seek guidance from professors and industry experts.

This is the point where you start to highlight your skills and accomplishments.

Other than this, I have represented my colleges in ______ and won the award. I also trained in ______. Apart from these, I usually spend my weekends working at ______ (or playing something, or some volunteer activities). Last week I was on a 50km bike ride which was a great test of strength and endurance.

Finish by pointing out where you are and where you want to go further.

That is all I can share. I am looking for an entry level position at _______ that can give a great start to my career. I will be happy to answer any questions you have.

Make sure this part of the interview is never impromptu. In the meantime, it shouldn't seem overly rehearsed either. You should already have a list of 100 things to share in your mind, of which 10-20 can be shared in the interview depending on the situation.

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