“Tell me about yourself”

Chris Norris
1 min readNov 21, 2022

“Tell me about yourself”. In my opinion this is the single worst way to start an interview with a candidate, but I see it done time-and-time again.

You are inviting 10 minutes of the interview to be burned with low value information. You are also setting yourself up to be the jerk who has to cut them off from answering your vague question, if they are not hitting some good discussion topics

Here’s what I believe is an effective way to get off on the right foot :

Read their resume in advance!

then, after you have introduced yourself, continue with :

Before we get started I just want to let you know that I’ve definitely read your resume <holds resume up>, so there’s no need to repeat everything that’s on it. Maybe we can start with : why are you open to something new, and what, ideally, are you looking for next?

These are still gentle questions to help the candidate settle in, but in about 2 minutes you get important pieces of information that can spur further discussion, and form a connection with the candidate

(In my experience, about 10% of candidates will still persist with inventorying a lot of their experience from the resume but, hey, you tried :-)

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Chris Norris

Engineering leader for startups — 4 exits and counting. Fascinated with startups, software, and the people around them. Founder at startupfractionalcto.com