April 7, 2021

Will boasting about your skills impress an interviewer, or make you come off as an arrogant guy who thinks they are better than every other coworker? And is that even a bad thing if it comes off that way?

Will boasting about your skills impress an interviewer, or make you come off as an arrogant guy who thinks they are better than every other coworker? And is that even a bad thing if it comes off that way?



Have some sort of one-pager exhibit ready if you do. Hiring managers hear a lot of chest thumping in security. Most of the people who do so are full of shit. Some are just really proud (and did do cool stuff) but are not socially-skilled in making the point subtly.

Stay high-level. Let the manager tunnel in where they want. Humility is huge.


There are some – very few, but some – companies which will expect people to boast, brag, and be pitbulls about the work they do. They have anti-cooperative cultures which dictate that the “best solution wins” and expect people to argue over why their solution should be implemented over others. These companies are mostly dying, often because they’ve inadvertently optimized their workforce for the “loudest person in the room” rather than “finding the best solution” – and that doesn’t work out very well long-term.

Many more companies will have collaborative work environments, and being a braggart won’t reflect well for them – it *absolutely* comes off as arrogance, and arrogant people will often become defensive when their ideas are questioned or criticized. This is the antithesis of a collaborative work environment.

Interviewees that have impressed me have been humble, honest, and clear. They’ve had immense strengths which were reflected in the quality and accuracy of their work, and they got there by building trust, learning from their mistakes, and building deep technical excellence in their subject areas.


During an interview for a job I had years ago, one of the managers doing the non-technical part of the interview said something I’ll never forget: “It doesn’t matter how brilliant you are, if you’re an asshole, I’m not going to work with you.” In my experience, a lot of hiring managers simply won’t hire people who seem like they think they’re better than their coworkers. One bad apple, no matter how much of a genius they are, will destroy the morale and productivity of an entire team. Even if that person is a 10x engineer, if their behavior and attitude tanks the productivity of 11 people, then they’re actually a liability, not an asset.

This describes it more eloquently than I can: https://www.freecodecamp.org/news/we-fired-our-top-talent-best-decision-we-ever-made-4c0a99728fde/


Depends on what you mean by boasting.

If I ask a person to describe how they responded to an incident in a past job, and they start going off “well because *IM* so smart I had it handled before everyone even knew about it *because I’m just that awesome* because I *actually care* and did some classes on this type of thing. My other coworkers didn’t know anything about it *AT ALL*”

I’d think they’re an ass and wouldn’t hire them. I’m 1 part hiring technical skills for the role and 1 part hiring a likeable person that’s going to work well with the rest of the team.

Now, if you answer the same question with:

“Well first I did XYZ per our incident response policy, but noticed ABC because I had familiarity with that particular type of attack due to some self-study I did on tryhackme.com (or something) and that personal experience led us to minimizing the incident faster than if I hadn’t done that.”

That would be fine.

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