“Hey, can you come down to our headquarters tomorrow for an interview, say, at 11 am?”
Mitch has secured an interview with the I.T. firm he left his CV at the previous week. Tomorrow’s the red-letter day.
A peppy Mitch starts preparing for his interview; he goes over the technical basics once again, sets his freshly ironed clothes in order, packs his documents, and then sits down to think. “What will I be asked tomorrow?”
He has gone over every possible question, looked up question banks, and read all the career advice blogs and articles. He feels prepared and elated. And then it hits him!
“Wait, how to introduce myself in an interview?”
Many prospective aspirants have lost their goodnight’s sleep over this very dreaded question. You know how the quote goes, “you never get a second chance to make a first impression.”
Here’s something industry experts and psychologists probably won’t tell you. A perfect introduction starts even before the first eye contact and stretches beyond your first few sentences.
With the pressure of a good first impression weighing down your shoulders, let’s see how to introduce yourself in an interview with some tips and samples.
Here’s what we will be discussing:
- Why is introducing yourself properly crucial in a job interview?
- What makes a candidate the right fit?
- Most effective ways to introduce yourself in an interview
- Introducing yourself in an interview: Best tips and tricks
- What to say to introduce yourself in an interview?
- How to introduce yourself on phone interview – With examples
A good move requires a good foundation, and a good foundation needs a good introduction.
The interviewer will form the first impression of you quicker than you can say ‘job interview’!
What you say or project in the first few seconds will most likely affect the outcome of your interview as well.
Now, a good first impression does not guarantee a successful professional partnership. However, killing your chances with the wrong first impression isn’t a smart move either.
In a job interview, the interviewer will be looking for various role-specific behavioral qualities through your answers. You need to keep this in mind when you frame your answers, making sure that you exhibit your skills and abilities in their best colors.
First and foremost, show confidence in your technical skills. Do not stutter when speaking about your hard skills, including programming languages, machine learning, web design and development, database management, financial analysis, etc.
In most entry-level positions, the interviewer will be looking for qualities such as teamwork, leadership, and analytical problem-solving attitude. You need to show that you can work alongside others in a team towards a common goal.
Additionally, recruiters will be looking for excellent communication and interpersonal skills. Show that you have a good personality and strong work ethics and can maintain professionalism when the situation calls for it.
Alongside your best qualities, the interviewer will also be looking for an employee who genuinely wants to work for the company and will fit the organizational culture like a glove. Therefore, while you are introducing yourself, answering the questions, and preparing your questions, let your personality sparkle bright.
“Hi. I am Mitch” while fixing your tie is probably not how you want to introduce yourself.
You see, you will most likely be meeting several people before you come face-to-face with the hiring manager. You will be introducing yourself to the receptionist, the H.R., the hiring manager, and probably even the CEO.
How to introduce yourself in an interview vastly depends on the mood and context. You cannot go on saying stuff like “I am Mitch, and I like basketball” unless there’s a mural of LeBron or Kobe in the hallway.
So, here are some steps to help you out in the process of introducing yourself in an interview.
Before sitting down with the H.R. or hiring manager, you will most likely introduce yourself to the security personnel and receptionist on your way inside the building. Here, state your full name and purpose of your visit, the role you are applying to, and the time, if mentioned.
When you are introducing yourself, smile and be polite, shake hands with a firm grip, but not too strongly.
Introduce yourself by saying something along the lines of the following:
“Hi! I’m Mitch Black and I’m here for my 12 p.m. interview with <interviewer></interviewer> for the role of Technical Lead.”
If they introduce themselves back, respond with one of the following:
“Hello <full name=""></full>! Nice to meet you.” or “Hope you are having a nice day.”
When you use their full name, you are respecting their position. This little trick cements your place in their minds, and might just make his/her day.
From here, you might be offered a tour of the premises, or simply asked to wait in the lobby. Whatever you are asked to do next, make sure to thank the person. ALWAYS!
While you are waiting for the interviewer, you might as well take this time to rehydrate yourself, calm the pre-interview jitters, talk to some other interviewees, and get your pen and notebook out.
You did bring a pen and notebook, right?
In FAANG companies, usually, there are two or more stages to the interview. In each round, the interviewer will assess a different skill or ability. So, your introduction and answers need to vary accordingly as well.
Not sure how? Let’s take a look.
When the interviewer enters your proximity (the lobby or waiting room), stand up straight and extend your hand. Smile, shake hands with a firm grip, and introduce yourself with something like -
“Good afternoon, it’s my pleasure to be here” or “I’m glad for this opportunity to talk about <role you="" are="" interviewing="" for=""></role> today.”
Once you have exchanged formalities, hand over your documents and wait, let the interviewer start the conversation and move on to the interview questions.
Generally speaking, unlike an H.R., the hiring manager isn’t a fixed position. It can be any supervisor on the floor, but they have the last say in deciding who fills vacancy.
As you can guess, the hiring manager is a guy with the most influence on the outcome of the interview. You need to pull off a pitch-perfect rendition, which goes beyond what you give voice to in your introduction.
Yes, you guessed it right; we are talking about non-verbal communication skills.
Be confident in your presentation. Retain composure and do not stutter while mentioning your skills. Do not shake hands with sweaty palms. Avoid distractions. Exhibit a professional attitude. (There’s more on all of these later in this blog.)
After exchanging pleasantries, the interviewer will most likely ask you to ‘tell about yourself.’ By keeping the skills above in mind, talk about your current role and future aspirations without taking too much time.
If the situation calls for it, proceed to your elevator pitch. Choose adjectives that best describe you as a professional and leave a positive impression in the interviewer’s mind. Do not start reading from a help card; try to keep it as conversational and natural as possible.
“Great is the art of beginning, but greater is the art of ending.” – H. W. Longfellow
Let me tell you about Clark. He introduced himself perfectly before the day started. But honestly, he had a terrible interview the other day; messed up the answers to some advanced technical problems during the whiteboard round.
You could see him taking notes during the interview, things that he messed up, and things he would work on the next time. When the interview ended, he thanked everybody for their time, shook hands again with a smile, and wished them a good day.
A few days later, he received a call for a follow-up and secured the job on his second try.
Now, do you think he would have received the follow-up call if things ended on a sour note?
Even if the interview went terribly, end the proceedings amiably. You can also send a follow-up email or a handwritten note to the interviewer regarding the proceedings.
Now that you have some idea regarding how to introduce yourself in an interview, let’s polish your delivery using some easy tips and tricks so that you can ace the show effortlessly.
It is difficult to prove yourself reliable if people have to wait for you to show up at a meeting. If you want to create a solid first impression, show that punctuality is ingrained in your personality.
This will also prove that you take deadlines seriously, which is a skill that many interviewers will be looking for in a candidate.
Pro tip: Research the work timings and show up at the very first minute the office opens. You will get to learn a lot about the work culture and how the company functions daily.
You can never be over-prepared.
Research as much as you can about the company, listed job description, work culture, the “good” and “bad” of working in the company, and anything else you can find on the internet.
Prepare relevant communication points to talk about during the interview. Ask questions to the interviewer, such as projects that are currently handled by the company, expected responsibilities, important KRA factors, etc.
Your preparation is also an indication of your approach to a project. If you approach the interview well-prepared, you can be calm and collected while answering the questions.
Remember how we said ‘show up at the first hour’? Here’s a fun activity for you to do with the extra minutes you have in your hand.
Read the room. Study how everybody moves, works, shouts, calms down, and everything that happens in the room. Study the power dynamics and gauge office politics, and try to formulate your introduction and answers while keeping these in mind.
“Wearing the correct dress for any occasion is a matter of good manners.” - L. Young
People can form a first impression within a few seconds of meeting you, and most of that will be based on your attire and physical appearance. If you show up with messy hair and a wrinkled shirt, it is an indication that you aren’t interested in the job at all.
Take some time to dress up appropriately, get a shave, gel your hair, and polish your shoes. It shows that you have the basics covered and are actually invested in being at the interview that day.
Pro tip: If you are wearing a new outfit, try it out beforehand to avoid wardrobe malfunctions or feeling uncomfortable during the interview.
Imagine you are talking to someone, and they keep looking here and there every now and then. Will you feel ignored?
Do not get distracted when you are answering or asking questions. Maintain eye contact as much as possible, without making it awkward, of course. When you keep looking away, you come off as untrustworthy and unreliable, which makes for a terrible first impression.
Pro tip: Make sure you keep the focus on the person in front of you.
As stated earlier, nonverbal communication is equally as important as how to introduce yourself in an interview. If you want to come off as a reliable and confident person, shake off the nervous jitters, raise your chin and chest, lay back your shoulders, and take deep breaths.
Your confidence is also reflected in a firm handshake and maintaining eye contact while you introduce yourself during an interview.
Pro tip: If you are unsure how your look and come off in an interview, ask a friend or family member to point out your strengths and weaknesses prior to the interview.
Your introduction needs to be concise and engaging enough to hold the intrigue of the listener.
How to capture the interest of a hiring manager, you ask?
First things first, you need to show that you are enthusiastic about the opportunity. Start with a smile. Then, dish out a few bites of your professional experience and relevant information highlighting the skills necessary for the job role.
If you want to build a connection with the interviewer, you can deviate slightly from professional skills and include facts that highlight your soft skills.
“The more you sweat in practice, the less you bleed in battle.” – Anonymous
All interview prep courses include this aspect as well.
Add this to your interview preparation list. In addition to the technical interview and coding interview preparation questions, prepare and practice the introduction as well. Draft a concise yet exciting introductory phase, and then keep practicing it till you are confident that you can deliver it without stammering.
Pro tip: Imagine the situation in your head if you are unconvinced about your delivery skills. Stand in front of a mirror and recite the introduction.
During your interview preparation, you have probably studied and mastered the technical and behavioral questions. Next, think about some possible follow-up questions that the interviewer might ask you.
The goal behind preparing follow-up questions is to build your confidence further up. If you know that you can tackle even the follow-up questions without struggling, the conviction will be evident in your body language.
Pro tip: Maintain your composure even if you are not confident about follow-up questions. The interviewer is less likely to test your skills if you appear calm and composed.
Do not pretend to be something you are not; the interviewer will see through the façade anyways. If you do not know a concept or the answer to a specific question, admit and be honest about it, and make a note in your copy.
Fidgeting or rambling is a strict no-no. Hiring managers are able to notice when you are using examples to demonstrate concepts that you do not know or are giving vague answers to exaggerate your skills.
Be you, let your personality shine through your answers, and be upfront.
Here’s the thing - the interviewer has most likely gone through your CV or resume and knows a brief about your academic qualifications and work experience (unless you’re a fresher).
During the interview, he/she will be looking for cues that make you stand out from the rest of the crowd. Instead of focusing on what’s already written in your CV, display the skills that make you, you.
Professional self-improvement tips
“You are allowed to be both a masterpiece and a work in progress simultaneously.”
Even though you already had an appointment and the interviewer knows your name and qualifications, begin by stating your name. Even if you had a prior appointment, it’s only good manners to introduce yourself during an interview.
“Hi! I’m Mitch, and we spoke over the phone last week. I’m here interviewing for the role of <role you="" are="" applying="" for="">.”</role>
This right there, is a home run every single time.
The interviewer starts where you end. If you keep rambling on and on about your childhood experiences and every other job experience you have right from the get-go, you will bore the interviewer to death.
Take control of the interview from the introduction itself by not being defensive. Go on the offensive; your answers should lead the interviewer to the next question. You can take this a step further by asking relevant company-specific questions yourself.
Enthusiasm and positivity are noticeable nonverbal cues that can significantly alter the outcome of your interview. Right off the bat, show that you are invested in being there for the interview.
“Good morning! I’m Mitch Black.” (Shake hands, firm grip)
Hey Mitch, how are you doing?
“I’m good. It’s a pleasure to be here/ Thank you for this opportunity.”
Now, a non-offensive sense of humor is one of the most appreciated skills in any situation, even a workplace at times. You can motivate your team members and promote a positive work environment. However, an interview is perhaps not the day to crack lighthearted jokes, at least not during the introduction.
“Hi! This is Mitch, and I am from Mars!” is definitely not an appropriate introduction, even if the job description asked for someone out of this world.
Honestly, interviews are stressful for the hiring teams, as they will be going through one interview after another throughout the day. While they may appreciate a cheerful joke during the taxing process, you will most likely be killing your chances with a joke right in the introduction.
“A smile is often the only introduction you need.”
Naturally smile when you speak. But again, don’t make it awkward. It highlights your warmth and empathy, which is an unfathomably massive bonus in the eyes of hiring managers. Do not fake being nice; naturally, be kind to others.
From the very first moment the interviewer starts interacting with you, he/she will be looking to test your ability to communicate issues and solutions in various situations. As such, focus equally on nonverbal communication alongside your introductory speech.
Smiling and extending a firm handshake is a display of your empathy and willingness to communicate well. Stand straight and maintain eye contact while exchanging pleasantries. It shows that you have confidence over your skills, and you believe that you deserve this opportunity.
This particular tip applies once your introduction is complete, and you have moved on to the actual interview. See, the thing is, words seem empty without something backing them up. So, provide relevant information, wherever possible, to reinforce your answers.
While answering communication questions, you can try to include relevant skills and hobbies such as drama club, debate sessions, or open mic participations. For coding skills, talk about your contribution to open-source projects and similar tasks.
How to introduce yourself on phone interview – With examples
In a world of correspondence, virtual interaction has gained way more importance than before. Many big-shots such as the FAANG companies have now incorporated a phone interview round, which is often the first stage of the interview process.
Now, you might feel more or less confident in a phone interview, depending on your social skills. So, here’s a brief on how you can ace the phone interview effortlessly.
Step 1: Prepare
Just because you aren’t meeting the interviewer in person does not mean that you should bail out on interview preparation. We aren’t asking you to dress up in flashy attires (although, by all means, go all out if it makes you feel good.)
What we mean is the research process that we discussed above. Learn as much as you can about the company, the job description, and your expected role before the interview. If you come across some questions, you want to ask the interviewer, write them down in a notepad and keep that close during the call.
Step 2: Answer
Since the person at the other end will not be able to see the enthusiasm on your face over a phone interview, you have to convey the same using an upbeat tone instead. It’s usually good etiquette to start with a pleasantry and then state your name. This way, the interviewer knows that he/she has reached the right person.
You can also take it a step further and say that you were anticipating the call, which a good display of your empathy.
The conversation should be something along the lines of the following:
Example of how to introduce yourself in an interview
“Hi, this is Anna Jay calling regarding a scheduled phone interview with Amy Taylor.”
“Hello Anna Jay, this is Amy Taylor. I’ve been looking forward to this call. Thank you for speaking with me today.”
Step 3: End
With how to introduce yourself in interview sample answers now out of the way, let’s focus on bringing the conversation to a fruitful end.
During the interview, take your time and answer every question confidently. Take notes throughout the interview and ask questions yourself. Maintain a conversational yet enthusiastic tone throughout the interview.
In the end, thank the hiring managers for their time and address them by their full name. This seemingly minute gesture is a sign of respect for the interviewer, which can have a significant impact on the follow-up call for further rounds.
“Thanks, Anna Jay, for this call. I feel confident that I can fit the role perfectly and am very interested in this job. I will be pleased to meet you in person, so what should I do next?”
End the interview on a positive note, even if you missed a beat here and there. If you are up against stiff odds, it might be a while before you hear back from the interviewer. Work on how to introduce yourself in an interview for the next opportunity that comes your way.
Meanwhile, be calm and think about Benjamin Franklin’s famous words, “He that can have patience can have what he will.”
Do note that technical interview prep mock classes will further help you in this regard.