How you introduce yourself to a prospective employer sets the tone for the rest of the interview. If you immediately come across as confident, for example, you’ll find it easier to persuade the other person that you’re just the kind of competent professional he’s seeking. If you seem arrogant or hesitant, on the other hand, he might doubt your suitability regardless of your experience or other qualifications.
Consider not only your words but also the nonverbal information you communicate. The way you make eye contact or shake someone’s hand can enhance your introduction to him or turn him off. If you make direct eye contact, shake his hand firmly and smile, for example, you convey that you’re self-assured but also friendly. You also indicate that you’re happy to be meeting with the employer. By starting off strong, you present yourself as someone who naturally interacts well with others and would make a valuable addition to the team.
Use your introduction to establish rapport with the interviewer. This helps both of you relax and makes the employer more receptive to the rest of the conversation. For example, if you notice a family photo taken at a vacation spot you recently visited, mention how much you enjoyed your trip there. This gives the employer a glimpse into your personality and establishes an immediate bond between the two of you. Avoid controversial subjects such as politics or religion, and follow your interviewer’s lead when making small talk.
Get right to the point when introducing yourself to a prospective employer, and focus only on information that demonstrates why she should hire you. If she opens the interview with, “Tell me about yourself,” take no more than two minutes for your reply. Careers website CPGJobs recommends covering in your response these four areas: your beginnings, your education, your professional experience and where you are now in your career. Don’t give the employer your life story or talk about your hobbies or family. Instead, focus on why you’re qualified for the position and point out a few of your most notable career-related achievements.
When meeting with a group of interviewers, greet each person individually, smiling, making eye contact and shaking his hand. Give every person equal attention and consideration so the entire group knows you value each member’s time and opinion. Ask for each person’s business card or write down his name. Similarly, if you meet multiple employees during your visit, introduce yourself with the same courtesy and respect you’d offer your prospective employer. When greeting the receptionist, for example, smile, make eye contact and tell her your name.
- Forbes: 7 Body Language Tips for Winning the Job
- CAREEREALISM: 3 Ways to Build Rapport in an Interview
- U.S. News & World Report: 7 Ways to Chat Up Your Job Interviewer
- CPGJobs: Sample Interview Questions
- TheLadders: How to Answer the “Tell Me About Yourself" Interview Question
- CAREEREALISM: How to Ace the Panel Interview
- Keith Brofsky/Photodisc/Getty Images