What Interviewers Want | Question #1 | Tell Us About You

If you have read my post, you might already be aware of the reason of this post. You can scrolldown and read the real question. If not, be my guest and read through these words of wisdom (and frustration).

Interviews Suck

Being a Senior Software Specialist, taking interviews is part of my work profile. And, this is also one of the most hated parts of my job. The reasons are three-fold.

  1. I don’t like taking interviews because it takes away from my time
  2. I don’t like to judge them because I judge them in real life all the time
  3. I don’t like rejecting people because rejection is never easy, irrespective of whether you are at the receiving end or rejecting end of it.
  4. I’m just lazy. PERIOD.

All said and done, I’m forced to take interviews at least once in a day. For the past 2+ years of lockdown (the period when we got the awesome Work From Home), our panel of interviewers is bombarded with interview schedules. We take interviews on the week days with an assumption that we would compensate the work of the lost interview time. Since this isn’t enough of a torture, the superiors (management and HR combined) asks us to conduct a weekend drive. A weekend drive is essentially wasting your Saturday to interview people that you aren’t going to hire.

You see how painful that is?

It doesn’t help that the candidates we interview are mostly garbage, and I’m being polite here.

What Interviewers Want, really?

After years of frustration, I think it’s time to part some wisdom here. After interviewing tons of people, I think I should now write a series of blog posts of what exactly I look for in a candidate.

Today is my unofficial first job anniversary. It was Friday August 12, 20XY when I joined my first company, and that’s why I’m starting this series today. Smart and thoughtful, I told you.

As for the title, it mimics What Women Want. I’m such a smarty-pant. You will see this often.

Alright, without much further ado, let’s get started.

PS: As I write this, I have 12 open positions for Java/Full Stack developers. If you’re interested and confident that you can be a good addition to my team, drop me a note. I would be more than happy to recommend your CV (and earn a referral bonus).

Q1: Tell Us About You

I start the interview with this question. It serves many purposes.

  1. It is a good indicator of the candidate’s verbal communication.
  2. It gives me a fair idea of the candidate’s current work profile, and her aspirations.
  3. It gives me fodder to continue the interview in a certain direction.

What Interviewer Wants

  1. Don’t tell about your birthplace, your hobbies, your favourite colours. 
  2. Don’t take forever to answer this question. We have limited time and a ton of questions to ask. Aur bhi gham hain zamane mein intro ke siwa.
  3. Briefly explain the current project, the technology stack, and your role in the team.
  4. You can use this question to indirectly take the interview in the direction you want. Be smart, don’t waste this opportunity.
  5. First impression is the last impression, at least in case of first round of interview. So, don’t waste this opportunity.

Shabana Mukhtar 

The Other Me Unfolded