You’re heading to your job interview, ready and excited. You’re ready to answer any interview questions thrown your way. But the thought of introducing yourself is tying knots in your stomach.
It’s not uncommon to find answering specific questions relatively easy, while feeling nervous butterflies at the thought of introducing yourself. Especially when you really want to leave a positive impression on the person who you’ll be sitting with for the next hour or so.
What if you stumble? What if you ramble on about stuff that doesn’t matter? Everything seems simpler once you’ve finally introduced yourself in your interview, but you need to get past that hurdle first.
Here’s the great news: if you prep yourself adequately, you can not only nail your introduction, but also set a positive tone for the remainder of your time with your interviewer, and leave a lasting good impression.
On average, a single job posting attracts 250 resumes. Getting to the interview stage means your resume or cover letter did something to stand out from dozens, if not hundreds, of other job seekers.
But you won’t be the only one interviewing for this job. Out of 250 resumes, four to six get called for interviews on average. And unless there are many positions available, only one of these interviewees will get the job.
“The way you introduce yourself to the hiring manager sets the tone for the rest of the interview.”
- Ashira Prossack, leadership and communication coach
And that first impression often starts to come together before you even walk into the interview room.
Managers know that it’s hard to judge a person’s true behavior from just one brief interview. And your first impression of someone may vary wildly from another person’s first impression, even if you both met them at the exact same time.
So, it’s common for hiring managers to enlist other people in the office to help them assess any potential new hire when they arrive on location. With this in mind, remember that your introduction starts before your interview begins
Getting the receptionist to share their opinions and overall impression of a candidate is a typical practice, as they are the first person to greet you, and they may witness different behavior, before you’ve gotten into ‘professional interview mode.’
The way you first show up through the doors matters, because they’re looking for more than skills and experience. People make up companies, and the way you interact with others says a lot about who you are.
Make sure to smile when you arrive at reception. Tell the receptionist your name and why you’re there, and remember to remain polite and patient. By showing politeness and patience to the receptionist, you’re showing that you have the capacity to do so with your potential coworkers.
On the other hand, if you’re polite to everyone you meet, there’s a higher likelihood that you’ll be polite with your coworkers in the future.
The more prepared you are before your interview, the more likely you are to be comfortable and nail not only your introduction and first impression , but the entire interview as well. This means you should do your homework beforehand.
Here are eight tips to help you be fully ready to introduce yourself and nail your interview.
Here’s the thing — there isn’t one universal way to introduce yourself in an interview and make a first impression.
That’s because not all companies have the same history, values, mission statements, and more.
Don’t assume your next interview will be like any interviews you’ve done before. Instead, take the time to research the company thoroughly.
One important element is the culture and values of your recruiter. What is the company culture like? What do they value from their employees? In what direction are they headed? What type of people are they looking for to get there?
Next, take note of the company’s past accomplishments. Make sure you understand the history of the company, but also their more recent accomplishments. For example, perhaps they were recently featured in an industry magazine to showcase a unique procedure they developed to become more efficient.
If you can’t find anything on their website, search online for press releases to see if anything pops up.
Getting to know your interviewer before the actual interview is just as valuable as your original research on the company.
Perform an online search to find out their job history, or if they’ve had any particular accomplishments in the past. For instance, maybe they won an award, given a talk at an industry conference, or given workshops.
Understand their role in the business and find out their career path so that you can ask them valuable questions during the interview. Doing so will help you show you know how to prepare for important events and understand how to thoroughly research what matters. If their role is unclear to you, don’t hesitate to ask once the interview begins.
You may need to introduce yourself to other staff members before your interview if they ask you about yourself and your background, you’ll need something to say. Instead of leaving it up to chance or letting yourself improvise how you’ll introduce yourself, come up with your own elevator pitch.
An elevator pitch is a brief, clear statement that showcases your value and sums up who you are as a potential employee. It should be no longer than 20 to 30 seconds — the duration of your average elevator ride.
For example: “My name is Larry, and after two years working as a construction worker, I’m ready for a new challenge and I’m ready to put my currently untapped problem solving skills to use as a customer service rep. I’m excited to learn more about your product and help customers have the best possible experience.”
Prepare and rehearse your pitch, so you’re ready to deliver it naturally and give a good impression.
Your interviewer will likely want to know a little bit more about your interests outside work.
This can be tricky, since it’s easy to get carried away. You should prepare beforehand by listing out your existing interests or hobbies and finding links between those interests and the position you’re applying for.
For example, do you play an instrument? The concentration, dedication, and ability to continually learn and improve are all great skills that you gain from playing an instrument that could be useful in a position that requires focus and constant adaptation.
Make sure to get more than enough rest the night before your interview.
If you live with other people, let them know this interview is important to you and that you need a good night’s sleep to prepare yourself.
You’ll be in a better mood and avoid brain fog, which will help you focus and give a better first impression when you introduce yourself.
When choosing what to wear to your interview, pick something clean and professional.
What you wear will influence your first impression.
Career counselor Robin Ryan says,
“Your first impression is critical because, like it or not, employers do make a snap judgment based on your attire and presentation.
Wearing the proper clothes and having a firm handshake, a warm smile, and standing like you have confidence that you are the right person to hire is critical.”
In fact, 75% of interviewers said that dressing stylishly matters for their company.
Choose dressy pants and avoid flashy colors. Make sure your clothes are clean and ironed before putting them on.
Before you meet your interviewer, you may have to introduce yourself to a receptionist or someone other than the person who conducts your interview.
Prepare a quick introduction. It can be as simple as follows:
“Hi, my name is Mike Stone, and I have an interview with Mary Jones at 1 p.m.”
Remember to smile and be polite.
Finally, you'll get to meet your interviewer. When they come to greet you, stand up and offer a handshake while smiling.
Remember to make eye contact as you greet them.
One of the first questions your interviewer will ask during the interview process will be something along the lines of “tell me about yourself.”
The question can come up in different ways, too. It can sound like “tell me something you didn’t mention on your resume” or “walk me through your resume”.
This open-ended question is your chance to set the tone for the rest of your interview and increase your chances of getting the job.
If you get nervous just thinking about this topic, don’t worry — you can also prepare your response in advance!
First, you should introduce who you are. Even if you’ve already done your elevator pitch, remind them of your value by briefly summing up your experience.
Here’s an example:
“I’m a customer service rep with three years of hands-on experience across all segments of the customer journey — from onboarding to helping customers resolve complex issues.”
Next, share your primary strengths that relate to the job you’re interviewing for. This can cover your work experience, how many years of experience you have, and why you're passionate about your job.
Dive into a little more detail than your first introduction.
For example, let’s follow up from the game designer statement:
“I've spent the last three years deepening my customer relation skills for Company A where I have been put in charge of escalating customer issues. I love thinking outside the box and solving complex problems for customers.”
This statement specifies some responsibilities and particular interests regarding the job, but it doesn’t ramble on for too long, either.
Finally, conclude by explaining why you’re interested in this new job. Perhaps you see this position as a way forward, or your old position no longer challenges you, and you're looking for new opportunities to evolve as a professional.
You can say something like this:
“Although I love what I do at CompanyA, I feel I am now ready to move forward to a more challenging leadership position, and this opportunity really excites me.”
While you answer this question, watch your body language. Sit comfortably but confidently, and make plenty of eye contact with your interviewer.
You should also avoid the following:
Talking about irrelevant interests or details about your personal life that don’t tie into this job opportunity
Being too modest
Rambling on for too long without focusing and getting to the point
If you have relevant interests that you feel will add value to you as a candidate, feel free to mention them here, but stay brief.
Not everyone who gets interviewed will get the job, but you can increase your chances. Here are five tips to help you stand out even after your interview is over.
How you exit matters, too. It would be a shame to make an amazing introduction and leave on a sour note.
Thank the interviewer for their time before you leave the interview room. You should also acknowledge the receptionist and any other people you see on your way out.
It doesn’t take much time to send a thank-you note, but it can help make you more memorable.
Remember that only one person will get the job offer, so you're likely competing against four to six other people for the same job.
And if you’re all equally qualified, it’s the small details that can make the difference.
In your thank-you note, mention that you can provide additional information or answer follow-up questions as needed. You should send this note before the end of the day after your interview.
You’re probably excited about hearing back, but don’t pester the company about updates.
If they said you'd hear from them in 2 weeks, don’t follow up before that time (except for your thank-you note).
Feel free to follow up if you don’t hear from them at the specified time.
If you mentioned references in your interview, reach out to them to let them know they may hear from your prospective employer. This will help them prepare accordingly.
When they don’t know they’ll get called about you, they may not have notes ready to properly explain your value.
Remember to thank your references in advance for their time, too.
Finally, you can connect with your interviewer on Jobcase or LinkedIn to keep yourself top of mind.
Avoid the temptation to chat them up unless you’re sending your thank-you note.
Remember that they are busy, so showing that you value their time matters.
Now you have all the tools you need to introduce yourself in your interview in a way that helps you stand out from other applicants.
Remember to be polite and brief, present yourself in a way that showcases your value to the company, and follow up carefully.
Increase your chances of success by getting more interviews. You can do this by proactively growing your network. Try out Jobcase to find your next career!