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How to Answer "Tell Me About Yourself" Interview Question for Tech Talent

How to ace the number one question in interviews for tech roles, like software engineers – "Tell Me About Yourself".

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Posted On Jun 14, 2024 

Regardless of whether you’re a software engineer, a data scientist, a web developer, or a program manager, you’ll be asked “tell me about yourself” in nearly every interview. It’s a popular way to get the ball rolling and if you answer it well, you set the tone for a successful interview. In this article, we’ll cover tips to answer effectively and a few things to avoid, along with an example of a best-in-class response sure to get you to the next round of interviews.


Prepare for Your “Tell Me About Yourself” Answer


1. Practice builds confidence!


Preparation is key to crushing this question and success! Practice with a friend or family member. Rehearse your answer in the car or the shower. Record yourself and play it back. (You can also partner with one of our Recruiters).


2. Align with the job description


Craft your answer by highlighting technical and soft skills aligned with the job description. Concisely convey them through specific projects, work experience, and/or education.


3. Try the ‘stacked blocks’ method of progression


One way to structure how you answer this question is by thinking of your previous roles as building blocks to your current role. In each “block,” highlight expertise in a language, framework, or skill you learned or used.


Be sure to spotlight skills or languages they’ve asked for in the job description. Make it easy for them to see what a great match you are!


4. Identify your main selling points for the role


This could be years of experience or a specific area of specialization. Highlight special training or a Bootcamp experience. By focusing on the qualifications in the job description you’ll be able to tell them how you will meet and exceed requirements.


5. Make your pitch in your closing


Describe why you’re interested in the position. Maybe indicate why you are looking for a new challenge and why you feel this role is the best next step. Are you ready to move from being an individual contributor to a team lead? Maybe you’re looking for more autonomy or opportunities to influence the roadmap.


Be sure to focus on how you will provide value by reinforcing how your experience, skills, and drive can help them reach their goals. Finally, feel free to incorporate any relevant hobby or volunteer experience. If they match traits in the job description, such as attention to detail, or collaboration with others, they’re relevant.


Maybe you build websites or troubleshoot IT issues for nonprofits in your community. Perhaps you coordinate volunteers or coach a team. Maybe you’re not using a specific language in your current job but use it as part of an ongoing passion project.


In short, remember these five steps


  1. Focus on the job you are applying to
  2. Think about what makes you stand out
  3. Include your technical and soft skills that align with the role
  4. Mention past accomplishments
  5. End strong with how you can provide value to the company.


Here’s an Example


Read an example of a best-in-class response, using the job description below.


Sample Job Description:


  • Use a variety of technical skills, soft skills, and industry knowledge to develop applications and systems.
  • Expertise in C, C++, Java, Python, JavaScript, C#, PHP.
  • Use analysis and critical thinking skills to determine and assess the needs of the user and then create software to meet the requirements.
  • Ability to collaborate and provide clear instructions to the project team, clearly explaining how the software looks to the customer. Available to answer any questions using exceptional communication skills.
  • Apply keen attention to detail and organizational skills to work on numerous parts (time management) of a system or application at the same time while being accurate and thorough.
  • Able to work well and collaborate with others on a team of Designers, Developers, and Programmers using effective interpersonal skills.
  • Able to efficiently identify and resolve issues during the design, testing, and maintenance process using strong problem-solving skills.


Example Response:


“So, tell me about yourself…”


“Thank you for asking. I would describe myself as a collaborative and solution-driven software engineer with over two years of experience working with designers, developers, and programmers holding a degree in Computer Science from Purdue University.


I’ve already contributed to over a half dozen projects and assisted with managing a project for one of our firm’s long-time clients.
Something I’ve enjoyed and has been able to use in my current role is leveraging my experience in tech support to help identify and resolve complex issues.


And over the last year, I worked on several project teams using C++, Python, JavaScript, C#, and PHP and recently started Java. Since this role asked for Java, I signed up and started an online Java course to increase my knowledge as quickly as possible.


I believe my experience has allowed me to hone my attention to detail and critical thinking skills as well as enhance my communication skills working on team-based projects and with clients.
In my last role in tech support, I received several commendations from customers where I was able to identify and resolve their technical issues with clarity and ease.


I’m excited to collaborate on a team and apply my technical skills to develop applications and systems along with contributing to your team in a way that positively impacts the organization and your clients.”


What To Avoid When Answering “Tell Me About Yourself?”


We’ve all been guilty of one or more of these in the past. Let’s recognize them, note them, and move on.


  • Do not restate what is already on your resume – any good interviewer has already read it and is looking for more information.
  • Don’t ask them to clarify the question, “Do you want me to talk about my education, personal life, or experience?” After reading this article, you will know exactly how to answer this question.
  • Don’t reply with a modest or vague introduction that doesn’t communicate your strongest qualifications for the position. Never shy away from selling yourself!
  • Stay away from offering too much of the personal side of your life when answering this question. This is not a date. Never shy away from selling yourself!
  • Offer more details than your “elevator pitch” in an interview but don’t talk too long. You don’t have much time to answer so you need to be succinct and straight to the point but make sure your answer is comprehensive. A good rule of thumb is don’t go over 2 minutes but make sure to cover:
    • What skills and experience do I have that align with the role?
    • And how can I provide value to the organization based on my experience?”


The best advice for any candidate is to prepare and practice. When you skillfully answer this question, it’s a great indicator you know how to interview!


If you’re ready to find your next role, search our available jobs today.