How should you introduce yourself at a job interview? The “Tell me about yourself” question sounds simple but has a wide scope at the same time. This simple- looking question instills fear in some people. You get so many answers to it, yet a greater percentage of the answers are downright wrong.
If you are preparing for an interview, you just cannot evade this question. Now, this question might not come exactly in those words or in that exact format. It could come as, “Walk me through your background”, “Who is Felicia Patrick?” (If Felicia Patrick is your name for instance). There is no rule to it, the bottom line is they want to know you and hear about you from your mouth. They simply want you to introduce yourself.
It is at this point you stress on and highlight the points you want the hiring team to know about you.
Preparing your introduction
First, direct the same question to yourself
To help you figure out what to and what not to incorporate into your introduction, you should ask yourself certain questions relating to that question. Ask yourself who you are and why you are applying to work in that company and in that particular office. What do you think qualifies you to be hired for that position and what do you have to add to the progress of that office? If you could figure these out, it could help you develop good lines for your introduction.
Think of what the company will want you to say
When asked to introduce yourself or talk about yourself, you don’t just ramble off and start talking. Think of the goals of the organization, what it stands for, what is required of the position you are applying for and then the likely skills your potential employers would be on the lookout for. Yes, you should be true to yourself but you should first think of highlighting those important aspects of your skills and professional experience that could be of benefit to your potential employer and the organization as a whole. This will also help you narrow down your introduction while at the same time hitting the major points required.
Prepare for common interview questions
Practice your introduction until it flows freely and sounds natural. Practise makes for perfection. If you are unprepared for this question, you might find yourself stumbling even though it is a simple question. This may be a question you could answer easily outside of the formal setting but hey, when you find out it is a business setting and not only that an interview, you have to rethink your answers. You know they are not so interested in hearing the fun facts about you, there is something they want to hear but you just can’t seem to figure that out.
Put your behavior at the interview center on check
Even before you step into the room for your interview, it is possible that your prospective employers have met you. They could have met you through the receptionist or even when you were sitting at the waiting room. You do not who could be watching you and from where. Once you step into the organization your interview starts. That is more reason why you should be careful with the way you behave and comport yourself. Be respectful and courteous to all contacts in the company. While in the waiting room, mind the way you talk to people.
Delivering your introduction at the job interview
Walk into the room with confidence
You might be escorted into the interview room or the hiring manager might come out to meet you in the waiting room. Introduce yourself to them and tell them it is a pleasure meeting them. If you are seated, stand up and offer them a handshake. When you walk into the room, don’t hesitate or stand around. Apparently, you will be offered a seat. Walk in confidently and take a seat across the interviewer. Do not shake your legs randomly or wiggle your hands in a fidgeting manner, this will show the interviewers that you are nervous.
Smile and shake hands with your interviewer
If you haven’t done that before now, extend your hands for a handshake. It is an appropriate interview etiquette and forms part of your introduction. Don’t make the handshake too relaxed, keep in firm and short. If your hands are wet and sweaty, make sure you clean them before walking into the interview room. Remember to smile and be pleasant.
Keep eye contact with the interviewer
You should maintain eye contact with your interviewer even if you are nervous. This will give your interviewer the message that you are a confident one. Avoiding eye contact, looking everywhere except on the interviewer or simply fixing your gaze on some object in the room are obvious signs that you are nervous. You, however, should avoid staring as that again would make the interviewer uncomfortable.
Start your introduction with attention- catching lines
Even after getting creative with your outfit, you also have to get creative with your introduction lines. If you start your interview with boring talks, chances are that your interviewers will get weary and lose interest on time. First, you should say your name and a little about your personal life. Start with the strength or skill that would get the recruiters attention. Tell how you have used that skill in the past and how it was beneficial to your past employer. Remember you should be unique in your response. Do not go for what people typically say. Create your own story and own.
Be specific in your response
Don’t say I love computers and have a passion for tech and related topics. How exactly? Anyone could say that but your recruiters need to know it is for real. They need proof. You could say you have led a software technology team of 12 computer techs at a particular company, you helped them achieved this and that and was able to build a software that could track the plate numbers of vehicles entering and leaving the company venue. Just don’t play around. Don’t be vague either, go straight to the point and say who exactly you are.
Your achievements should reflect in your introduction
To stress on this, after you are done saying your name and your qualification, the next in line should be your achievements. Connect your achievements to your key strengths. You might be wondering which of your accomplishments to incorporate into your introduction. It has to be the ones that are in line with the job. This is more reason why you have to read the job offer or the job description very well, so you don’t go there rambling off irrelevancies.
Don’t just do a recitation of your resume
Some people make the mistake of cramming their resume and coming to pour it all out exactly the way it is in there. Your recruiters must have seen it all; they must have read that even before they called for the interview Asking you to introduce yourself is not a time for you to launch into a recitation of what is there but rather a time for you to highlight them more and strengthen the points you have made there.
Do not go running down your profile from the least achievement to the highest. That is basically the format of resumes. If you do it that way, before you get to the best and saucy part, your hiring managers might have been bored and lost interest in whatever you have to say. You could lead them on from your most recent or major achievements down to the least of them.
Avoid playing the modesty game
I know with your dressing we were saying, bring it down to modesty. But at this point I have to say, bring it all out there. Be a little arrogant here, if I am permitted to use the word ‘arrogant’. Don’t put yourself low all in the name of being modest. People make the mistake of answering this question with a humble response, which is not even clear enough. Don’t do that, be comfortable with selling yourself high. Getting a job these days are not easy and you have strong competitors. Therefore, you should boldly communicate your strengths and strongest qualifications for the position.
You might have done a lot of practices at home and you feel like your practice was way better than your interview proper, do not fret. Keep the energy high and know that irrespective of your mistakes, you are still fit for the job. Focus on the part you did well.
What you should note:
Your introduction is your ‘elevator pitch’
An elevator pitch is a short summary of a product or process and the value it offers. Therefore, your introduction is you putting yourself out there in a brief summary and telling your recruiters the value you have to add to the organization. You don’t have to make it lengthy. It should be concise, straight to the point, reasonable and interesting to the ears.
Job Interview Topics – Common Job Interview Questions & Answers
Below you can find a list of common job interview topics. Each link will direct you to an article regarding the specific topics that discuss commonly asked interview questions. Furthermore, each article discusses why the interviewer asks these questions and how you answer them!
- Career Change
- Career Goals
- Conflict Resolution
- Creative Thinking
- Cultural Fit
- Customer Service
- Growth Potential
- Honesty & Integrity
- Job Satisfaction
- Entry-Level & No experience
- Prioritization & Time Management
- Situational & Scenario-based
- Stress Management
- Telephone Interview
- Work Ethic