An interview self-introduction is the first impression you make on a recruiter. It's the first question most recruiters ask and sets the tone for your entire interview. Thus, it's important to establish a healthy rapport from the start. A well-thought-out self-introduction distinguishes you from other candidates, getting you a step closer to securing the job.
In this article, we discuss what a self-introduction is, what to include in one, how to introduce yourself in an in-person and virtual interview with self-introduction examples and tips.
What is a self-introduction in an interview?
A self-introduction is a common question most recruiters will ask at the start of an interview. It allows you to establish who you are, your purpose of being there and your career ambitions. You can think of this as an ice-breaker question interviewers ask to get a summary of your background. This helps them form their first impression of you. Making a self-introduction with confidence can put you in control of the direction of the interview. You can tactfully reveal interesting bits of information about yourself to intrigue the recruiter to learn more about you.
As a job-seeker, there are many situations where you might need to make a self-introduction aside from an interview. Anytime you first meet a recruiter, whether it be at a hiring event or a casual networking evening, expect to introduce yourself. Practising this skill is essential in creating the right impression.
What to include in a self-introduction?
When preparing your self-introduction, you need to create a solid structure that covers your most impressive skills and experience. However, while delivering your answer, make sure you sound natural. To achieve this balance, it's best to develop an outline of your answer. The following is a guideline of the points to include in your self-introduction:
- Your name: Even though the recruiter already knows your name, it's a good starting point that personalises your answer and ensures that they pronounce your name correctly.
- Your current position: Mention your current job title and company background. If you have already resigned from a job, state your previous position and desire to explore other options. If you are a recent graduate, mention the name of the institution and your degree.
- Your goal: Establish your interest in the company and how it relates to your personal career goals.
- Y**our unique selling point:** Use one sentence to describe an impressive skill or achievement. Think of something you have not already shared in your resume or cover letter to secure their interest.
How to introduce yourself in an interview?
The following is a step-by-step guide detailing how to introduce yourself in an interview:
1. Tailor your self-introduction
During the job-seeking process, expect to go for several interviews before you find an employer who is a good fit for you. This means you will have to alter your answer for each interview so that it remains relevant to each role. Before attending the interview, browse the company's website, social media profiles and the latest news about the company to find out what would interest them about you. The more you customise your answers, the more you will appear a likely match for them. Recruiters will appreciate your effort to learn more about the company.
2. Go beyond your job title
Your interviewer will already have access to your previous roles, that's why it's important to elaborate on the content in your resume. Simply state your current professional standing and then illustrate how it aligns with your career ambitions. If you are interviewing with an organisation that has an intimate company culture, share a bit about your personal hobbies to build a rapport with the interviewer. Presenting yourself as an open and honest candidate makes you appear more genuine, and therefore more employable.
3. Outline your answer on paper
Many candidates write their self-introduction word for word on paper. However, memorising a script can be problematic. It makes your delivery sound rigid; and therefore, inauthentic. Outlining your talking points instead, allows you to string together sentences more naturally. It empowers you to be flexible in case you feel the need to alter your introduction to better suit the situation.
4. Be original
Bring out your personality in your self-introduction so that it's original and memorable. A good way to stand out from other candidates is by mentioning an achievement that's unique to you. For example, if you have received notable industry recognition, make a humble mention of it. This could be an interesting conversation starter that keeps the interviewer engaged.
Some job candidates like to use humour to break the ice with their interviewer. However, consider the company culture to determine whether this would be appropriate. When using humour, understand the context of the situation and always maintain respect for minority groups.
5. Keep it short and concise
When preparing your self-introduction, edit your points so that they are succinct. Lengthy speeches can distract your interviewer. As this is just the beginning of your interview, you will have a lot of time later to expand on your points.
How to do a self-introduction in a virtual interview?
The onset of COVID-19 has made virtual interviews more common. If you plan to work remotely or find a freelance job, you can expect to make a self-introduction in a virtual form, too. Here are a few guidelines on how to do a self-introduction in a video interview:
1. Dress professionally
Before you begin to even introduce yourself, an interviewer will form an impression based on what you wear. Thus, it's important to maintain a professional appearance even for a virtual interview. While a full suit and tie may make you appear too overdressed, you can select a smart-casual outfit to match the occasion. This way, when you make your self-introduction, the interviewer will focus on what you are saying rather than what you are wearing.
2. Test your technology
Arrive early at your virtual meeting to test for any technical glitches. Make sure your microphone, camera and speakers are functioning correctly. Check your internet connection to ensure it does not cut out during your call. If your technology is in working order, it will help minimise distractions.
3. Look at the camera
When introducing yourself, look into the camera lens. This way, on the interviewer's screen, it will seem like you are making eye contact with them. In virtual interviews, it's more challenging to build a personal connection. Thus, this is an excellent tip to engage with the interviewer. Eye contact draws their attention and ensures that none of your words go unheard.
4. Keep your self-introduction brief
Unlike an in-person interview, where it's easier to gauge an interviewer's reaction, it's a bit more challenging to read their body language during a virtual interview. Usually, people are more prone to distraction when communicating online. Thus, it's best to keep your self-introduction short. Think of a video interview as a conversation, rather than a one-sided interview.
Self-introduction interview examples
The following are a few self-introduction examples for professionals in different settings:
Here's a self-introduction example for a young graduate:
My name is James Lee. I am a recent business graduate from the University of Hong Kong. I've been working as a marketing intern this summer and I'm excited to find my first full-time position in marketing. I believe my understanding of modern social media tools and dedication to building my creative portfolio will be essential to my role with your company. Last year, I was also a recipient of my university's 'Leader of the Future' award.
The following is a self-introduction example for professionals that have a few years of work experience:
My name is Amy Tam. I recently resigned from my primary school teaching position to further my career in education as a secondary school teacher. My teaching philosophy is to embrace innovation, creativity and free-thinking. With these values, I seek to inspire my students and care for those that are more academically challenged. As a teacher, I believe my duty is to discover a spark in each of my students and pair them with tools to invest in their growth.
Tips to make a good impression in a self-introduction
You need to establish a rapport with the interviewer in your self-introduction to make a memorable impression. Here are a few tips for you to follow:
- Pay attention to your body language. Present a confident yet approachable demeanour to invite the interviewer to ask you more questions. Remember to smile, sit up straight and relax your shoulders.
- Watch your manners. Always remain gracious in an interview. Using simple words such as 'please' and 'thank you' illustrates that you are an amiable person to work with.
- Prepare for follow-up questions. Think of an interview as a conversation. Avoid filling your answers with lots of information. Instead, establish a point and prompt the recruiter to follow up on it.