In job interviews, making a great first impression can make or break your chances of success. Alison Greene, author and hiring expert, believes that knowing how to introduce yourself professionally and confidently is crucial in setting you apart from other job seekers.
We gathered insights and tips from various human resource professionals for the most memorable ways to create an impactful opening during your job interview.
Read their expert advice, match them to your style, skills, and context, and you have a formula for best presenting yourself in front of your interviewer.
In this comprehensive guide, you'll learn the best practices for standing out during your job interview, which begins with an unforgettable opening greeting, sample scenarios, and even follow-up strategies. Are you ready to be the master of introductions?
You must do a lot of pre-game preparation before you even set foot in the interview venue or turn on your camera. Dean Davidson, executive general manager at Hudson Recruitment Australia, says this includes researching the following before an interview :
Reading about the organisation shows you how its core values align with yours. Recheck the job description of the position you want. These details allow you to tailor your introduction to fit the organisation's and the role's needs. When you mention how your background, skills, and achievements are suited perfectly for the job, you instantly give your interviewer a reason to keep listening – and to stay engaged.
When they hear that you know about their recent win at the Singapore Business Awards or that their stock went public, it shows them your sincere enthusiasm for the job.
Should you be upbeat or earnest? Should you engage in small talk or be more straightforward? What should you wear? Use your initial research to figure out these first steps.
Each industry has some cultural standards. Design agencies are typically more laid-back, while banks or financial institutions may likely appreciate a more dignified stance. These "stereotypes" can be your jumping-off point when deciding on the appropriate tone for your introduction.
However, practising interpersonal flexibility is more crucial when meeting your interviewer for the first time. This skill means you can adjust your behaviour to suit the situation. After all, bank managers can be more relaxed, too.
But whether the company is casual or formal, don't forget to stay enthusiastic, polite, and respectful.
Writing a script beforehand is also a good idea. It allows you to check how comprehensive your introduction is, not to mention your cadence and pace. Make your script concise, direct, and company-tailored.
You don't have to recite your speech verbatim at the interview – you want to sound prepared, not overly rehearsed. However, these notes are a solid foundation for the details you should cover.
Sample introduction script: Generally, you should be able to mention your name, professional background, and relevant skills, and enumerate experiences that make you an ideal candidate.
In a job interview setting, a basic self-introduction should sound like this:
"Hello, my name is [Your Name], and I have a background in [your field] with experience in [relevant skills]. I am excited about this opportunity because [reasons for interest in the company and role]."
In this example, you quickly reinforce the skills cited in your resume. You're telling the interviewer why you're worth their time, and you're about to prove that further as you progress through the interview, impressing them with your answers and personality.
Don't just write your script. Say it out loud to really evaluate your pitch and tempo. Observe how the sentences roll off your tongue. Is a word causing you to buckle? Change it to something that fits the flow of your speech better. You can also use JobStreet's Interview Tool to record yourself. Hearing your introduction back might give you ideas on how to improve it further.
What information should your introduction include? Remember that this is your opportunity to hook your interviewer, so it's necessary to make your delivery persuasive.
Get straight to your "why”: You never know if your interview could get cut short due to an emergency or another reason. Highlight your strengths, even if subtly. According toPositive Psychology, affirming your skill set can increase confidence and aptitude – and banish those interview jitters.
"Hi, I'm [Your Name], a marketing professional with five years of experience in social media management and content creation."
Your interview isn't a coffee-shop catch-up where you can go on and on about your entire life. Focus on skills and experiences most pertinent to the job. Explain your achievements and make tangible references to make yourself more relatable to your interviewer.
“Employers are likely looking to hear stories of what you did and how your experiences have prepared you for this role," writes career development author Vicki Oliver for theHarvard Business Review.
“During my time at [Company], I led a team that increased our social media engagement by 30%."
Don't hide your excitement for the opportunity. Show how appreciative you are to be there – although, of course, you do have to rein it in if you're too giddy. Your eagerness doesn't just serve to flatter your interviewer.
According to an article from Singapore Management University, enthusiasm shows your motivation to do the work. It also tells the interviewer how well you can handle stressful situations, such as an interview.
"Employers increasingly value enthusiasm for the job, as well as a positive work attitude and willingness to learn when they recruit starters," notes Professor Karin Sanders, a University of New South Wales professor who published a study on enthusiasm during job interviews.
"I'm truly excited about joining [Company] because I admire your innovative approach to marketing and commitment to delivering outstanding results. I just know that I belong here!”
You can end your introduction by opening yourself up to the series of questions prepared by the interviewer.
"I'd be glad to answer any questions about my background and what I can contribute to your company."
Study common interview questions, and prepare the best ways to answer them. After all, the opening act is one thing. You have to nail the finish, too.
Lack of preparation is the surest way to make a mistake during the interview.
As a rule, remember to keep it simple, sincere, and natural. APerspectives in Psychological Sciencestudy reveals that being conscientious and orderly are personality traits employers found most appealing in applicants. So, remember to keep your skills clear and focused. Here are more notes to guide your self-introduction.
Set the stage for a successful interview as soon as possible by focusing on the skills and experiences that directly relate to the job you're applying for. Don't forget: Any stage of the job application should validate why you have the abilities for the role.
If you talk about your past experiences, avoid putting former employers or colleagues in a bad light.
Interviews can run for 30 and 90 minutes, and you can be sure your interviewer has several questions prepared. Aim to deliver your introduction in no more than 2 minutes. A brief but succinct start draws in the interviewer while still giving you sufficient time to get to the meat of the Q&A.
Refrain from mentioning unrelated details or going off on a tangent. Fill the time by citing specific situations that highlight your skills. There may be a point in the interview where you can chat casually – perhaps after you get hired!
You don't have a lot of time for a long and slow approach. Natural enthusiasm helps you focus and become more courageous. Who doesn't want that during a self-introduction? Expressing your passion for the role and the company will only help you. However, don't lay it on too thick.
Body language is the key to demonstrating your sincerity – or lack of. Sit straight, maintain active eye contact, respond with gestures such as nods or smiles, and always actively listen. Active listening means you're engaged, absorbing every word and reacting accordingly. It confirms your genuine interest.
Harvard Business Reviewsays practising your self-introduction is essential. When you do it in a low-stakes setting, you may just be able to build up your confidence. However, don't go overboard.
Overpreparedness, according to life coach Helen McLaughlin, can lead to a performance mentality, which is when you feel the need to come across as an expert. It may make you appear insincere, unnatural, and overconfident.
So what have you learned? Zoning in on your accomplishments and skills, being natural and enthusiastic, and staying concise are the steps you need to follow to communicate your value and create a lasting, positive impression on interviewers.
How will this interview be conducted? What type of interview is it? Adjusting your behaviour or delivery to the context will help you communicate your qualifications better and make a positive impression on the interviewer, regardless of the scenario and different types of communication at play.
Pivoting demonstrates your adaptability, professionalism, and genuine interest in the position, which can significantly increase your chances of interview success.
Before the interview, ensure you have the following:
The few years of staying at home may have taught you that technology presents some communication barriers: muted mics, unstable connections, background noise, and malfunctioning wireless earphones. Cover your bases by ensuring none of these technical details hampers your conversation. Do a tech run, lock the doors, or have another space ready if your kids suddenly walk in.
Without complications, you can be more focused and confident when you begin.
Start with a warm greeting. Interviews via these channels are terrific because you can place cue cards or notes strategically to check occasionally. Practise affirmative body language via your voice (for audio calls) and your face (for video calls). You don't have room for hand gestures, so instead, smile a lot, speak clearly, and add enthusiastic inflections to your voice.
What about recorded interviews? Recorded interviews are when you receive questions and document your answers via video. Since it allows for more preparation, you might go overboard with your spiel. Don't forget the conciseness rule! This interview isn't two-way, so you have more chances of losing the interest of the viewer. Stick to interesting and relevant points, talk as if someone is in front of you (it helps maintain enthusiasm in your tone), and show off your personality.
An interview in a group setting means you have to stand out. Acknowledge the presence of your fellow applicants before your introduction. Support your qualifications with actual scenarios and accomplishments. You may have the same skills, but your experiences are all yours.
During the Q&A, don't speak over others. However, pay attention to what they're saying and make appropriate reactions. James Eling, managing director of IT firm Extreme Networks, says group interviews show how well you collaborate as well as your teamwork and leadership skills.
Behavioural interviews help the interviewer learn more about how you handled past situations. Your experiences help the interviewer deduce how you'll approach future problems or scenarios.
Focus on specific examples from your past that demonstrate your ability to handle the challenges and responsibilities of the position. The interviewer would be interested in your active listening and critical thinking skills, so be sure to angle your narrative to highlight these skills. You can use the “CAR” mnemonic (context, action, and results) to do this.
Context: Your supervisor had to take an emergency leave during a product launch event. As second in command, you had to take over.
Action: You gathered the entire team to tell them you're heading the event. You reassured them everything was going according to plan, but reiterated your expectations and everyone's tasks. You checked the progress and made yourself available during the event for potential troubleshoots.
Results: The client never even knew your boss had to leave!
These interviews are more of a practical test in Q&A form. You often encounter these for more technical jobs, such as programming, writing, and driving.
Don't get lost in the technicalities, though. Don't forget to show your sincerity and enthusiasm for the role. Explain how your recent class in TikTok marketing represents your willingness to evolve, or how creating new software taught you the value of teamwork.
Case interviews give you a tricky scenario to solve. The goal is to assess your analytical and problem-solving abilities.
Mask your nerves and show you're confident, comfortable, and eager for the challenge. You've declared your skills. Now you have to back them up.
When formulating an answer, business analyst Katrina Lu recommends looking at the “Big Picture.” Keep the central problem in mind and connect the dots. Ask yourself: Why is this the case? What is our goal here? Use your reasoning skills to get to the bottom of things. You can also ask the interviewer insightful questions. It shows your understanding and willingness to assess every detail of the case before making a decision.
Here are examples of successful introductions that use different techniques. Use them as a basis for formulating yours.
“Hello, I'm [Name]! I'm a computer science graduate, specialising in software development and project management. I am excited to discuss how my skills and experience align with your organisation's needs."
In this example, you clearly underscore the crucial details of your application, such as your name, background, and the fact that you have what they're looking for. It also invites the interviewer to start with the formal Q&A.
“Hello, I'm [Name]. I'm an associate marketing executive from [former company]. I believe I'm a perfect fit for the position because I'm more than capable of problem-solving most marketing concerns, and due to my practical experience in the field…”
Situation (S): Advertising revenue was going down for my agency due to a low rate of contract renewals.
Task (T): My goal was to generate new ideas, materials, and incentives that would result in a reproducible increase in advertisers from the year before.
Action (A): I designed a new promotional packet to go with the rate sheet and compared the benefits with other ad media in the area.
Result (R): We signed contracts with 15 former advertisers for daily ads and five for special supplements. We increased our new advertisers by 20% over the same period last year.
The S.T.A.R. method is ideal for behavioural interviews. It allows you to show your credentials in a practical manner, letting your experience speak for itself. This method is the perfect example of "show, don't tell."
“Hi, my name is [Name], and I am thrilled to be here today to talk to you about my interest in this role and my passion for this company's mission. As someone who has followed this company's work for a long time, I am happy to have the opportunity to apply my skills and experience to help you achieve your goals. I am confident that my experience in project management and software development will be a valuable asset to your team, and I am excited to discuss how I can contribute to your success.”
Remember the note about how much employers love enthusiasm? Interviewers interpret excitement as motivation, which will only work in your favour. The Management Development Institute of Singapore also states that guts and determination can make an indelible impression on interviewers.
No matter how well-prepared you are, sometimes, you encounter problems. Take a breath and recover. Here are common introduction faux pas you can prepare for.
You don't remember the interviewer's name
Your excitement and/or nerves may have blocked your ears a bit, preventing you from registering the first few minutes of the meeting. It happens. In a face-to-face setting, hold out your hand and politely ask them to repeat their name.
"I'm sorry I didn't quite catch your name. Could you repeat that please?"
It's easier in a remote set-up. Their name is usually on the screen. If not and you missed it, you can blame technology.
"I'm sorry, there was slight feedback. Could I get your name again, ma'am/sir?"
Research shows that attempts to bridge a language gap create stronger interpersonal ties. Be patient and helpful. Use basic terms and shorter sentences. Talk slower but not necessarily louder. Pause between points.
If you're still mastering the interviewer's language, say it right away, so they can also be aware of how they phrase things. Don't be afraid to ask for clarification or repeat a question.
Try not to see cultural differences as a problem. If the interviewer is from a different country, study their customs, such as basic etiquette. Familiarise yourself with appropriate greetings, gestures, and body language. Generally, be open to your differences. They shouldn't factor in your hireability.
Do you have to repeat your name and credentials? Don't get dismayed and take it personally. The interviewer might be meeting several applicants, so at least they're interested enough to know who you are. Repeat your spiel, emphasising your name, background, and skills.
Here are some exercises to settle your jitters:
Make your stress work for you.Harvard Business Reviewsays a healthy amount of pressure can encourage you to try new things, tackle problems, and grow your capabilities – factors that may help strengthen your interview.
Remember that technology can break down at the most inconvenient moments. Test all your devices and line up alternatives in case something happens.
Following up after your interview can show your determination and passion for the role. A simple thank-you message conveys your appreciation for the interviewer's time and effort. You could also use it to reiterate your interest.
Did you know that 80% of recruiters believe a thank-you note helps them make hiring decisions? Unfortunately, only 24% of applicants send one. Don't fall under that statistic! Here are some quick tips when you want to send an appreciatory message.
Subject Line: Thank you for the interview
Hi, Ms/Mr [Name of Interviewer],
This is [Name], the data scientist from Woodlands, whom you interviewed today. Thank you so much for the opportunity to apply for the position of [insert role]. I enjoyed our conversation today. I particularly loved your insights regarding my paper on using data to drive sales teams. Our talk has only strengthened my conviction to join your company. Likewise, I believe my skills, experience, and attitude fit your organisation.
Please let me know if I can provide any information that could be helpful to you. Thank you again.
If you're following upandsending a thank you, it's important not to look too pushy. After all, it's only been a day – perhaps screening hasn't even ended. Saying your name, background, and interest should be enough. Displaying gratitude is one thing; showing patience is another!
However, if it's been a week or two, you can follow up with a brief message reiterating your credentials and enthusiasm.
Preparation, research, and customisation are the three steps to make a standout introduction during a job interview. Write a script for guidance, practise until you're confident, and you'll impress the interviewer from the get-go.
But rehearsing is only half the job. Adapt your script, tone, and delivery to the interview's context. Is the interviewer upbeat? Match their energy. Is the chat on Zoom? Make sure your tech details are on point.
Follow this guide to help you figure out how to tailor your self-introduction your way, and establish a solid foundation to impress during the actual interview.
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Remind yourself of your value and strengths.
Exercise before the interview.