DEV Community

@iamcoder
@iamcoder

Posted on

 

what to say when some one say "tell me a bit about you"

As senior engineer I've interviewed a lot of engineers as candidates to join my team. In general doesn't matter what level, their background , if they do speak the language natively or not, they never know what to say when I ask them to tell me a bit about themselves.

The most common is they start to repeat what they have in their resume, which I already have in front of me, I don't need that.

Others tell me their generals, like name , age, nationality, how many kids, relationship status... I don't need that...

if you can not answer in a clear way such a simple question, how could you describe your team a complex problem? you may or may not see a correlation, but in my experience there is.

Generally an introduction is short, under 1 minute and should be concise, precise, omit obvious, if you are interviewing for an engineering position, well, they already know you are an engineer. Believe me they will check how good you are in couple of minutes after the introduction.

Try to prepare an introduction, starting by writing down what you like, what you don't like, are you working in a goal that you want to share? like preparing a trip to Europe...

From there, create a short story about you, avoid bragging about your possessions (cars, houses, jewelry ), focus in your personal treats and remember to keep it short.

do you want to know about me?

I like to travel as often as possible, generally I use my travels to take shoots of the places I like, my favorite readings outside of technology is about team building, innovation and economics, I enjoy a good match of chess and I've never say no to a 1vs1 challenge in basketball.

Top comments (9)

Collapse
 
mellen profile image
Matt Ellen • Edited

It's not a simple question. You have demonstrated this by stating that people don't give you the answer you expect. Seems like that's a you problem.

Be more specific when asking your question. Vague questions are not good interview questions.

You say

Others tell me their generals, like name , age, nationality, how many kids, relationship status... I don't need that...

But in your example answer you say

I like to travel as often as possible, generally I use my travels to take shoots of the places I like, my favorite readings outside of technology is about team building, innovation and economics, I enjoy a good match of chess and I've never say no to a 1vs1 challenge in basketball.

Which is it? If having kids or being in a relationship are not relevant, how is enjoying chess? How am I meant to guess what is relevant to you?

Collapse
 
billernet profile image
Bill💡 • Edited

This is a tricky topic as it's a vague question. A lot of recruiters suggest avoiding specifics about your life and to stick to points relevant to the position. Whilst others like yourself are looking for insight into the person's personal life.

I think that misunderstanding can be avoided by phrasing the question differently. "Tell me a bit about yourself away from work" or something similar if that is what you are after. Also consider that the candidate may not want to share these details, which is their right. A candidate may not be confident about how they live their life, or may be suffering from mental stress and not want to share any of this, etc. All of this is fine and doesn't reflect on how they will perform as an employee.

Finally, please remember that job hunters have been reading articles on what to say and what not to say in interviews and this question could be taken in multiple ways. Don't hold it against them if the answer doesn't match what you were expecting in your mind. If you are concerned about them explaining a complex problem then give them a complex problem and ask them to explain it. Simple!

Collapse
 
ingosteinke profile image
Ingo Steinke • Edited

if you can not answer in a clear way such a simple question

then it was obviously no simple question.
If you want your team mates to develop good communication skills, try to be a good example!

I like to travel ...

Who cares? I mean, this information is in no way related to work or even professional communication. It's nothing but small talk. I don't care what an engineer, a carpenter, or a doctor does in their spare. I don't wan't to know! All that matters is if they're good at their job.

Collapse
 
leob profile image
leob

Well, if "they NEVER know what to say when I ask them to tell me a bit about themselves" (really, never?) then maybe the problem is more with you than with them.

The question itself isn't unreasonable, but if almost nobody knows how to answer it then maybe the problem is in they way you're asking it.

Collapse
 
danstockham profile image
Dan Stockham

I always perceive "Tell me about yourself" with "What do you bring to the table" without explicitly telling them what value you bring if they hire you.

Collapse
 
rolfstreefkerk profile image
Rolf Streefkerk

"bragging about your possessions" I hope this is a joke, I chuckled in any case :)

Collapse
 
randyknight profile image
Randy Knight

Perhaps he has interviewed people who own expensive things, like a 2022 Macleran 720S Spider supercar! Why that person would want a low paying coding job is beyond me. 😛

Collapse
 
ben profile image
Ben Halpern

This is good advice

Collapse
 
moibra profile image
Mohamed Ibrahim

Thanks for advice

Advice For Junior Developers

Advice from a career of 15+ years for new and beginner developers just getting started on their journey.