Most job interviews and even online applications start with a scary question: “Can you introduce yourself?”. While on paper this question looks easy enough, a lot of applicants find it difficult to answer. You will probably have a lot of information to pack up in a very small snippet of time. All the while, you will want to make a good impression on your potential employer and, in the best case scenario, get the job.
Today, we are looking into how to introduce yourself in an interview.
How to make a good first impression?
There are several more or less guaranteed ways to make a good first impression when you meet your potential employer. Naturally, this depends on what company and position you are interviewing for — and who your employer is.
However, the strategies below will not let you down in any situation:
Dress for the job
What to wear for an interview depends on a lot of factors. The most important of these is what job you actually want. The general principle here is to dress for the job you want — not for the job you currently have. So, if you are applying for the position of senior financial manager, it would be a safer bet to wear what you would wear if you were already working as a senior financial manager. On the other hand, if you are applying for a more “relaxed” position like that of a designer, wearing a more casual interview outfit would probably be a better fit.
It goes without saying that it’s important to arrive at your job interview on time. Ideally, you should arrive 10-15 minutes before the interview.
Being late may and probably will send the wrong signal. Unless you have a truly valid reason for being late, your interviewer may take this as evidence that you don’t take the job seriously. This will also signal to them that you are unreliable and inattentive to detail and, as a result, not suitable for the job. On the other hand, arriving for the interview too early may make you seem overeager. This may also make the interviewer uncomfortable and they will rush to meet you even if they are not ready for the interview.
During the interview, it’s important to show interest in what your interviewer has to say. There are many ways to do this and active listening is one of them. Active listening involves responding to the interviewer, asking return questions and confirming details. It’s also a good idea to prepare some questions ahead of the interview just to be on the safe side. You can ask questions about the company, its value and mission, the team, what will be expected of you in the new post and more. Here are some more ideas — Job Interview Questions to Ask Your Potential Employer.
Another way to show that you care about your potential future job is to come prepared. Do some research on the company you are applying to so that you can easily keep up with the conversation. Have your resume, cover letter and portfolio ready — even if you’ve already sent them to the hiring manager. If there is anything that needs clarifying or you want to give an example from your previous employment, it’s always good to have your documents ready.
Pattern: present, past, future
In 90% of all cases, the first thing you will be asked during the interview is to introduce yourself (briefly). While this is the most frequently asked interview question, it’s not exactly easy to answer especially if you are not prepared. This is why it’s always best to think about your introduction in advance — or, at least, have a rough structure for it in mind.
Here’s how we suggest you structure your professional intro:
- Present. Start with what you are doing now. This will be more interesting to your interviewer than diving straight into your past and will help explain your current situation. This is also a good place to express the motivation behind your application and your interest in the company.
- Past. After you’ve explained your current situation, briefly touch upon your background and past accomplishments. You can use this time to explain how you arrived at your current situation and highlight your experience and expertise that is the most relevant to the position you are now applying for.
- Future. You can complete your introduction by talking about your goals and plans. Here, you can explain how working for the company you are applying for can help you achieve these goals. Stress that you are seeking professional development and are considering staying in the post you are interviewing for the long term.
How to introduce yourself in an email?
Introducing yourself in an interview always has an element of improvisation in it. The interviewer may guide as to what they would like to know, ask questions, share feedback and more. When you introduce yourself in an email, on the other hand, the responsibility for getting the message across is entirely on you. Here are a few tips on how to best introduce yourself in an email:
To “introduce your introduction”, you can use phrases like “let me introduce myself”, “please allow me to introduce myself”, “let me start with a brief introduction” and so on
Make sure your introduction has a structure. You can use the same “present – past – future” principle. Start with describing your current situation, then explain your background and, finally, talk about how you see your future in the company.
Try to establish a connection. It’s much more difficult to establish a connection with a potential employer in an email compared to talking to them face to face. This is why it is recommended you stress this point when introducing yourself in an email. To establish a connection, you can mention how you heard about this opportunity and what got you interested, why you are applying for the position, how you can be a valuable asset in the team and more. Here are a few examples:
Complete your introduction with a call to action. Most in-person interviews will end with a natural call to action. The interviewer will schedule a follow-up, will give you instructions on how to proceed, tell you when and in what case they will get back to you and so on. In an email introduction, it’s important to emphasize a call to action. You can tell the hiring manager when you will be available for an interview or that you will be expecting their call or ask for instructions on how to proceed and so on.
How to introduce yourself confidently?
The best way to introduce yourself with confidence is to have an idea about what you are going to say. Knowing what to expect and coming to an interview prepared will help you feel less stressed and keep your introduction informative. As a result, you will make a better impression on your interviewer and increase your chances of landing the job.
To know what to expect during your interview, check out our article on The 10 Most Common Job Interview Questions.