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Almost any interview begins with the classic question of "Introduce yourself".

Somehow I found mixed levels of detail as answers to this question. How should you ideally respond to this question professionally?

Should I talk about college? family? private work? other activities?

I'm currently working as a software developer.

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As a comment, see how others introduce themselves for tech speeches, like TED Talks. –  bytebuster Sep 2 '12 at 17:10
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I put on my feathered cap and sing: I am the very model of a modern Major-General, I've information vegetable, animal, and mineral, I know the kings of England, and I quote the fights historical From Marathon to Waterloo, in order categorical;a I'm very well acquainted, too, with matters mathematical, I understand equations, both the simple and quadratical, About binomial theorem I'm teeming with a lot o' news, With many cheerful facts about the square of the hypotenuse. –  ReallyTiredOfThisGame Sep 5 '12 at 14:42
    
@Chad LOOOOOL :)))))) –  Songo Sep 5 '12 at 15:47
    
lol sorry strangely every time I hear that question that song pops in my head.. Thanks for asking it here where i can let it out :) –  ReallyTiredOfThisGame Sep 5 '12 at 17:00
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Since you are a software developer, I bring my laptop to the interview and say, "Can I show you instead?" Begin showing them projects you have worked on and things you have developed if they pertian to the job you are applying for. –  crh225 Jan 18 '13 at 16:21

5 Answers 5

up vote 29 down vote accepted

This is basically your elevator pitch and the goal is to give your interviewer a fair view on why they should hire you (like with all other questions they will be asking you). Talk about who you are and what you can do for the company. In your case you could start with:

"I'm a software developer who has been working for X years..."

Continue with what you've done so far and always make this related to the job that you're applying. Do your research on the company and the job you're applying for (it is not that difficult nowadays to look up information like that with your favorite search engine).

Only talk about your family, private work and other activities if it directly relevant. The reason is that nobody really cares what your family situation is, all they want to know why they should hire you.

Things you could bring up when introducing yourself:

  • When you started working in your field and industry (or industries if you've worked at several)

  • You could talk about your previous accomplishments which could be in the Action - Method - Result form, in your case something like this:

    "I've reduced client work (the action) by implementing a ticketing system (the method). It reduced their entry times and increased their work throughput with 10% (the result).

  • Exemplify why you think you're fit for the job, e.g.

    "I love working with technology X and been wanting to jump into it if there was an opportunity like yours."

There is no need to start with when you were born. I've found after a couple of years off college that I rarely needed to mention that I went to one in an interview. This is mostly because of networking and that you've now got your foot inside; the better relationships you have the less relevant your background becomes.

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+1 for elevator pitch. The "introduce yourself" question is "you have 30 seconds to convince me I didn't waste my time scheduling you for an interview". –  KeithS Sep 4 '12 at 16:05

Your mission in an interview is to leave a clear message in the interviewer's head of who you are, and you want to control this message.

When asked to introduce yourself, you can take it as an opportunity to sell yourself and explain your skills and how you get things done, but in all honesty I wouldn't over think it.

The best approach is to relax, try and say something honest and funny about yourself and try and make the interviewer relax (remember they are often not so experienced at interviews).

If you're making a joke, make sure it doesn't make you sound like an idiot.

Tell me a little bit about yourself?

Hi, my name's Dave. I've been programming since I was a little boy and really loved it all the way through my life. My mum used to ration my computer use, but it just made me want to program more. That's what brings me here.

Make yourself stand out but not in an overly arrogant way - give the interviewer something to remember you by and some way to easily describe you.

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+1 for: you want to control this message. And you can, so be prepared with 30 - 60 sec elevator pitch, as Spoike said. –  Peter Masiar May 19 at 23:39

Highlights should be:

  • Who are you - not your school or job history or any other resume point - but who you are. "A team player with a love of details", "a tester who can break anything", what kind of a person are you
  • Why is that good for this job? What drew you and why is your personal style a good fit
  • (optional) - any thing directly relevant that might be odd or off-putting - even a good thing - "I'm an award winning xyc developer, and I need a change, so I'm applying for this radicially different opportunity to expand my vision"

But keep it tight, and hone in on body language. If it's more than a terse 3 concepts, you've probably gone too long. Watch the body language of your interviewer big time - if they disengage, close down your intro quickly, and make note of any confused faces - you can even ask about it. On the phone, keep it extra tight, since "listening intently" and "playing mindsweeper out of boredom" sound exactly the same (especially with the mute on).

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Keep it short and make sure it sounds well thought out.

Everyone will have a different opinion on the areas to cover. It shouldn't sound memorized, but stumbling through it makes is sound like you're not prepared for this common interview question.

If you are a recent grad, you may spend a little more time on college. You can mention a hobby or two and a little bit about what you do in your free time to show you're well-rounded.

People become programmers for different reasons, so make sure you mention one of them.

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The answer of this question will give your interviewer an idea about you, so it is very important for you to explain the question in such a way that they feel like you are the right candidate. Tell them about your working style and your experience and assure them that you will be an asset to that organization. Then you can proceed with your interest in the working department.

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