How to Introduce Yourself in an Interview?
The opening question in almost all interviews is “Introduce Yourself ” or “Tell us Something about Yourself.” While this appears to be the simplest question to answer, it is in fact the trickiest to handle. The question is taken lightly by most candidates. The Pre-interview preparation involves huge preparation on technical questions, situational/ behavioural questions or other skill based questions. However less attention is paid to the candidates personal introduction.
If a candidate can satisfactorily answer the question ‘Tell me about Yourself ?”, half the battle is already won. So what does the Introduction do? We can say it serves 4 major purposes:
1) It reflects your level of Self-awareness
2) It reveals your Self-confidence
3) It is a good opportunity to demonstrate your communication skills
4) It can help steer the interview discussion towards your side
How do these things affect the selection process or enhance your chances of being recruited?
Well an interview is not a selection process. It is an elimination process. Only the best candidates make it to the merit list. What is merit and how merit is defined in an Interview?
Merit in an Interview is essentially your ability to convince the interview board about your potential and skills based on your education/experience and facts quoted on your resume’. It is the art of persuading the recruiters to believe in you and your abilities. It is interesting to review a few points in this context. We come across resumes’ where candidates mention their skills as:
- Good communication skills
- Ability to take initiatives and Leadership skills
- Creative and innovative
- Team player
- Good decision making
Such a brilliant combination of skills set should automatically draw immediate attention. Unfortunately it does not. Why?
The reason is there being a mismatch between what is quoted in the resume’ and what is delivered before the Interview panel. What does that mean? Simply that words like ‘Leadership’, ‘Creative’, ‘Innovative’ etc are not expressive of what you are as an individual until you resonate those qualities when you actually meet people in person. So when you say “You possess good communication skills” it will be interpreted as, “The candidate is a good, fluent confident speaker with clear pronunciation,expression and clarity of thought.” So when such a candidate enters the interview room and shows inability to speak clearly and appears very nervous and often takes long pauses to frame his responses or uses multiple fillers, the gap between expectation and reality increases and the board is disappointed. The board/ the interviewer has difficulty in believing the facts mentioned by the candidate in the resume’. The merit is thus defined. Persuade the board to believe in your potential. Merit is determined by facts. You have to show how unique and efficient you are by winning the trust of your interviewers.
A thoroughly prepared self-introduction which encompasses the real skills you have, can help make an honest impression of who you are. If you carefully answer the question about yourself and present a sincere account of yourself in an organised and captivating style you will succeed to draw attention of your listener. The confidence, grit, poise, creativity, leadership and personal skills all are evaluated through your Self-introductory speech which is also known as the Elevator speech.
Elevator speech is the the shortest, smartest and brightest way to summarise and present your skills and achievements to the interviewer. It is no longer than 60 seconds and hence it demands absolute clarity, conciseness and brevity. Your ability to introduce and market yourself while highlighting your strong points, exhibiting your positive attitude and demonstrating your strength of purpose will be a true testimony to your previously quoted skills on your resume’.
If you succeed in describing yourself in a way where:-
- You do not include too many fillers like ‘aaaa‘, ‘ummm’, ‘hmmmm’, ‘errrr‘ and the likes
- Overcome stammering, long pauses and frequent coughing which are all signs of nervousness and lack of confidence
- Appear calm, composed and yet energetic and cheerful. Be yourself. Avoid heavily accented speech, affectation in style and over- confident body language.
- Maintain relaxed but straight posture and proper eye contact; give equal attention to all members
- Include information that is accurate, precise and well balanced like – background, education, merits, achievements, projects and extra-curricular activities
- Narrate in the style of a story-teller rather than a rehearsed dragging robotic monologue to stand your chance of reaching the top.
Elevator pitch or Elevator speech should be brief, persuasive, interesting and should communicate your Unique Selling Proposition(USP).
Lastly, always remember a person who is aware of his abilities and is able to present himself in best light will be a more welcome candidate than the one who appears hesitant and ill-informed about his own -self. So know thyself. Self-awareness is the first step to victory.