Fresh out of college? Recently laid off? Re-entering the work force? You can gain an advantage over those dozens of other qualified people interviewing for the same job by using these 7 Self Introduction Strategies for a Successful Interview.
In any interview you want to present yourself as a skilled and knowledgeable professional who is a great team player and enthusiastic about the company and the position for which you are interviewing. These self introduction strategies will help present you in the best light so that you stand out from other interviewees and make the best possible impression during the interview.
1. Preparation – Preparation is key. This means to research the company; find out what they do and how they do it. Has there been some recent online article? Has there been a story about the company, its products or a member of management in a local magazine or newspaper? Perhaps there has been a feature story on the radio or TV? Digging these up and relating them casually during the course of your interview will make a good impression on the interviewer.
Conduct research on the company’s products and services. What are they? How do they compare to those of the competition? Who is the competition? How does the company produce or distribute its products or services? What were last year’s (or last quarter’s) sales figures? Interject these facts into your interview and you will appear knowledgeable, professional and you will definitely stand out from any other interviewee.
Research the position you are applying for. Details may not be possible to uncover, but you should understand the broad responsibilities as well as the specific skills and experience you are bringing to the table. Mention these skills and experience and even if you are wrong about the details of the position, you will still appear as enthusiastic.
2. Rehearsal – Now that you have all the facts about the company, you need to memorize them all and present them in a way that doesn’t seem wooden or as if you’re reading from a teleprompter. This is where rehearsal comes in. You may try a full blown dress rehearsal wearing the same type of attire that you would wear for the interview. While some people swear this helps, others consider it overkill. Only you can tell.
Recite the facts about the company and present a few relevant details about yourself stressing how much of a team player you are or other bits of information you have gleaned from the job description. How do you fit in? Explain this. How is your experience helpful to the company? Tell them. How can you use your knowledge and skills to benefit your future employer? Let them know. Present these in short “sound bites”. Rehearse them until they feel and sound natural and not rehearsed.
3. Questions – You may have heard about how important relevant questions are and you would be right. From your research you should have uncovered several areas you may feel uncertain about or a few things you would like clarification on. These are good things. Write these down. Memorize them if possible, but don’t be afraid to pull out a 3×5 card during the course of the interview if you need to remind yourself what your questions are. You can also buy a book at a copyshop or office supply store that features key questions to ask your interviewer. This is always good.
4. Formality – Now that you are at the interview you need to know what to do. Obviously, you need to arrive on time and this means 10 to 20 minutes early. Not 5 minutes. Not 1 minute. Never late! Be early. This will give you time to mentally rehearse the interview in your mind, review your cheat sheet of questions, powder your nose and otherwise prepare yourself comfortably for the interview.
Dress one level up from the position you are applying for. This is a subjective assessment and sometimes I have guessed wrong, but you can rarely go wrong from a neat appearance. If in doubt, dress up.
Be professional, courteous and likable with everyone you meet. You never know whom you are greeting or with whom you may be working when you are hired.
And keep the cell phone off, the PSP at home, and the earbuds and headphones in the car – but, believe it or not – a Bluetooth is ok, if you do not talk on it.
5. Friendly – It is your time to shine! You want to be courteous and friendly to everyone you meet, especially during the interview. Appear likable, smile and lean forward, don’t fidget. A few tricks I learned from the NLP school follow, but don’t make them obvious.
Try to mirror the position of the interviewer. Match their position with your own. If they cross their legs, wait a minute or two then cross your legs. If they lean forward, count to 30, then lean forward. If they nod their head, nod your head. If you have your resume or notepad in front of you, turn it to mirror any material they may have. Do this with your peripheral vision. Never look directly at something then attempt to mirror it, you will get caught. When answering a question, repeat the question or a few key words of the question or rephrase it before presenting your answer. Be yourself.
6. Interesting – You must capture the interest of your interviewer. You do this by applying the steps above plus you mention a few favorite anecdotes from your experience that demonstrate how you have successfully faced a challenge, resolved a problem, been a good team player, stayed late to complete a project or soothed a disgruntled co-worker or customer. Add a tidbit of your work experience that shows how you have added value to a previous employer. If you get a few of these together – how you have added value – you can use them for that all important question, “why should we consider you for this position?” And this brings us to 7.
7. Unique – Being unique is the key to getting the job. If you stand out from all the other candidates, if you can appear friendly and interesting, if you are on time and dressed appropriately and if you can demonstrate just how much of a positive impact your skills and experience will bring to the company, you will get hired.
By following these strategies of self introduction in interviews you will almost certainly be one of, if not the top choice for consideration.