How to Introduce Yourself in a Job Interview (Examples Included)
By Mike Simpson
One of the most oddly challenging parts of meeting with a hiring manager is figuring out how to introduce yourself in an interview. After all, the hiring manager has your resume. Don’t they already know a bit who you are and what you have to offer? Why do you need to tell them about yourself?
Well, yes, the hiring manager probably has your resume. But that doesn’t mean they’ve memorized every detail. Plus, there’s plenty of potentially relevant facts about you that don’t fit in that one document.
When you introduce yourself, the hiring manager learns more about what you bring to the table. Additionally, it helps them gauge your communication capabilities, what you view as important about yourself, and more. That’s why figuring out how to introduce yourself properly is so important.
So, if you’re reading to learn all you need to know about how to introduce yourself in an interview, let’s get started.
Basics of Introducing Oneself
Overall, introducing yourself to someone during an interview is a simple concept. The idea is to give them an overview of who you are as a professional, touching on relevant tidbits about your experience and skills.
Plus, if you handle it right, you can also showcase your enthusiasm for the opportunity. Pretty neat, right?
But if there is going to be a full-length interview, why does nailing the introduction matter? Well, for one, it matters because hiring managers can make decisions about you shockingly quickly.
One report suggests that you only have 27 seconds to make a good first impression. According to a different study, about 30 percent of hiring managers know whether they want to hire you within five minutes. Fifty-two percent have it figured out within the first 5 to 15 minutes.
If you flub your introduction, your first impression isn’t going to be as great as you hoped. While some hiring managers might give you the benefit of the doubt, others may write you off almost immediately.
On the flip side, if you really nail it, that could secure you the job right then and there. You might have them convinced that you’re the best candidate that quickly. Ultimately, that’s why how you introduce yourself matters.
Now, that doesn’t mean you should panic. Crafting a great introduction isn’t as hard as it seems on the surface.
Professionally vs. Casually
Alright, another point we need to dig into is the difference between how to introduce yourself professionally vs. casually.
With professional introductions, you’re usually focused on your career-related experience, achievements, and skills. It’s you in a nutshell from a professional perspective.
When you introduce yourself in a professional capacity, your aim is to cultivate the right kind of impression to further the relationship in a career-boosting manner. Whether that’s to land a job, boost your network, or secure a client’s business, it’s all about addressing the other person’s needs.
MIKE’S TIP: Now, you may be wondering, is it ever appropriate to toss something personal into a professional introduction? Well, it depends. You can go that route if you know it will boost the relationship. See a piece of sports paraphernalia in the hiring manager’s office, and you’re a fan of that team, too? Then it’s okay to squeeze that little detail in. That could strengthen your connection, making that tidbit relevant to the equation. However, if you don’t see an obvious cue like that, skip the personal details.
With a casual introduction, there’s a bit less pressure. You might not have a specific goal in mind aside from widening your circle.
In many cases, your career doesn’t have to be center stage. Instead, you want to touch on points that make sense based on the situation and person you’re meeting. For example, if you have a child and you’re meeting a parent of one of their classmates, your introduction should include something about your kid.
However, in either case, relevance is always part of the equation. You want to introduce yourself using an approach that resonates with the listener and makes sense based on the context of the situation.
Introducing Yourself in a Job Interview
Before your interview arrives, it’s wise to spend a little time putting together an introduction. By following a proven step-by-step process, you increase your chances of hiring the right notes. Plus, by avoiding certain mistakes, you make it more likely that your introduction will shine.
1. Research the Role
As with all interview preparation, researching the role is a good idea when you need to get an introduction ready.
Take a look at the job description to identify the high-priority skills and duties. Also, see if there is a minimum amount of experience required or if the hiring manager referenced any crucial traits.
Make a list of what you find. While you might not have time to talk about all of the points in the introduction, it’ll give you insights that can help you create a relevant answer to the classic interview question, “Tell me a little about yourself,” or for a general introduction.
2. Include Your Name (and Some Pleasantries)
If you’re meeting the hiring manager for the first time and you haven’t exchanged names or pleasantries officially, add that to your introduction. A simple, “Hi, my name is [first and last name], it’s such a pleasure to meet you,” sets a positive tone, so it’s worth doing.
However, if this moment has already passed, you don’t need to go through it again now.
3. Embrace the Tailoring Method
Alright, we know we’ve mentioned this a few times already, but relevancy is really, really important. By using the Tailoring Method to your advantage, you can make sure your introduction is impactful.
With the Tailoring Method, it’s all about creating interview answers that resonate with the hiring manager. That way, you can make an exceptional impression, increasing the odds that you’ll stand out from other candidates for all of the right reasons.
4. Be Achievement-Oriented
When you begin crafting your introduction, don’t just say who you are, mention your most recent job title, and list your skills. That approach isn’t just boring, but it also tells the manager you have what it takes instead of showing them. That’s not ideal.
It’s always better to be achievement-focused. Discuss how you use your skills to make a meaningful impact. Mention how your experience aligns with the company’s industry or goals. This gives them a better idea of what they can expect from you. It’s all about value-add, and that matters to hiring managers.
5. Be Ready to Expand
If you mention something in your introduction that intrigues the hiring manager, there’s a chance that they’ll ask an immediate follow-up question about it. So, while you don’t want to cram too much information into your intro, it is smart to know the relevant details.
Spend some time planning on how you could expand on each point you make in your introduction. That way, you won’t be caught off guard if the hiring manager explicitly asks for more details.
6. Master Your Body Language
When it comes to interviews, it isn’t just what you say; it’s how you say it. As you practice your answer, do it in front of a mirror or webcam. That way, you can see how your body is moving, ensuring your body language is also sending the right message.
If adjusting live is giving you trouble, then record yourself answering. That way, you can review the footage to see if there’s anything you need to change.
Common Introduction Mistakes
Usually, the biggest mistake when you’re trying to figure out how to introduce yourself in a job interview is providing too much detail or sharing irrelevant information. Brevity is actually your friend, ensuring what you showcase in your introduction is meaningful to the hiring manager.
In many cases, your introduction should only include a few sentences and take no more than 30 seconds. After all, you’re in an interview; there’s going to be plenty of opportunities to dig deeper.
Additionally, you should only mention facts that matter to the hiring manager. Relevance really is the key.
It’s also crucial to not spend your introduction just rehashing your resume. All of that information is readily available. So, unless the hiring manager actually asks you to walk them through your application, don’t go this route.
Finally, be wary of using humor if you don’t already know the hiring manager fairly well. Humor is often subject to taste, and while you might think something is funny, others may find a joke confusing, inappropriate, distasteful, unprofessional, or just not amusing.
3 Examples of Job Interview Intros
When it comes to how to introduce yourself in a job interview, you might need to adjust your approach based on where you are in your career. With that in mind, here are three examples of how to put the tips above into action, one for new grads, one for mid-career pros, and one for managers.
1. New Grad
New grads often struggle with introductions. After all, they usually don’t have much work experience.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t craft an amazing introduction. Along with highlighting your education, you can discuss what about the field interests you, the skills you’ve acquired, and how you are raring and ready to become an asset to a new team.
“Hi, my name is John Doe, and I’m a recent graduate of XYZ University’s Human Resources program. I believe that a company’s workforce is its most powerful asset. That’s why I’ve dedicated myself to learning skills that make identifying and retaining top talent as simple as possible. Ultimately, every department needs a great team to thrive, and I look forward to putting my knowledge into action, ensuring that your company is positioned for success through smart talent acquisitions.”
Mid-career professionals have relevant experience in nearly all cases. Along with tapping into the various in-demand skills you bring to the table, it’s smart to express excitement about what the future can hold. That way, you come across as enthusiastic, and that can work in your favor.
“As a software engineer, I’ve had the opportunity to hone my skills significantly over the past seven years. I’ve been fortunate enough to gain experience at some leading companies where I was not only able to enhance my building and testing capabilities but also explore the exciting world of the DevOps model. I’m particularly adept at working with cross-functional teams, as well as adapting to unforeseen changes and challenges. Ultimately, I look forward to putting my skills to work with a forward-thinking company such as yours.”
Management positions usually involve a lot of supervisory duties. While your individual contributor skills can matter, if you’re going to be overseeing a team, spending time discussing how you can help other employees excel can be a great idea if managing others is a big part of the role.
“I’m an innovative floor manager with nine years of experience in advanced manufacturing. During my career, I’ve had the opportunity to lead teams featuring dozens of employees with a range of skillsets. Whether it’s mentoring for growth, coaching for performance improvement, or guiding teams through the transition to a new technology, I’ve had the chance to do it. Not only is that rewarding personally, but it also enhances company success, ensuring my teams can adapt and thrive in any situation.”
Putting It All Together
Ultimately, with all of the information above, you should have a pretty good idea of how to introduce yourself in a job interview. Use all of the tips to your advantage and, once you craft a solid response, practice it over and over until it feels natural. That way, your first impression will be stellar, allowing you to stand out from the crowd for all of the right reasons.
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Co-Founder and CEO of TheInterviewGuys.com. Mike is a job interview and career expert and the head writer at TheInterviewGuys.com.
His advice and insights have been shared and featured by publications such as Forbes, Entrepreneur, CNBC and more as well as educational institutions such as the University of Michigan, Penn State, Northeastern and others.
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