First impressions can play a major role in how an employer perceives you as a candidate. What you say during the first phase of the interview may make a big difference in the outcome – in a good way or in a bad way.
In fact, some hiring managers may make a decision to reject a candidate based on what they didn’t do when they met them. That’s why it’s important to pay attention to interview manners and to carefully think through how you will introduce yourself during a job interview.
How to Introduce Yourself at a Job Interview
When you arrive at the interview site introduce yourself to the receptionist by stating your name and the purpose of your visit. For example: “My name is Tim Jones and I have an interview scheduled with John Smith at 2 pm.”
You will either be escorted to the interview room or the hiring manager will come out to meet you in the reception area. Again, take the time to introduce yourself so the interviewer knows who you are.
Offer to shake hands, even if the interviewer doesn’t offer their hand first. It’s good etiquette to include a handshake as part of your introduction. Tell the interviewer that it is a pleasure to meet them, smile, and be sure to make eye contact. For example: “I’m Tina Lionel, it’s a pleasure to meet you.”
Tip: To avoid sweaty palms, stop in the restroom prior to the interview and wash and dry your hands. If that’s not feasible, use a tissue to dry off your hands ahead of time. Here’s more on how to avoid interview mistakes and how to avoid interview stress.
During the Interview
Many hiring managers will start an interview with an open-ended question like “Tell me about yourself.” The core of your response should focus on the key elements in your background which will enable you to excel in the job for which you are interviewing. You should carefully analyze the job prior to the interview so you can point out the interests, skills, experiences, and personal qualities which will enable you to meet or exceed the requirements.
Tip: Review Answers to Tell Me About Yourself Questions
Keep it Short
Your introduction should be concise enough to hold the interest of the interviewer. Generally, a quick recap of your most compelling qualifications will suffice. You could also throw in a couple of tidbits which are not essential to the job, but reflect your persona like the fact that you are an avid skier, have performed at comedy clubs, or collect African art. Your goal is to connect personally with the interviewer as well as to show that you’re qualified for the job.
Of course, your initial comments should show your enthusiasm for the job and organization. However, don’t overdo it and don’t spend too much time talking about yourself. The interviewer has an agenda and time is limited, so keep your introduction brief so you can move on to the next question.
Follow Up Questions
The interviewer may follow up your introduction with more questions, so it’s important to remember that you will need to support whatever assertions you make during your introduction. Be prepared to provide specific examples of how and where you have utilized your assets to successfully carry out work or volunteer roles, academic projects, or other productive endeavors.