How to Introduce Yourself in a Job Interview
Introducing yourself in a job interview is a critical moment that sets the tone for the rest of the interview. A strong introduction can help to carry you through the rest of the interview, while a weak introduction can diminish your chances. Here are three important points to keep in mind as you prepare for this critical moment.
- Control the Agenda
The first point is to control the agenda of your introduction. When answering the question “tell me about yourself”, you want to reveal only what you want the interviewer to know about you. What you want the interviewer to know should be relevant to the job description and focus on your qualities that are related to the job. For example, if you’re interviewing for a marketing role, don’t talk about your work history in finance or your financial skills. Stay relevant to the job you’re interviewing for.
At the same time, you don’t want to be too basic with your skills either. Even if they are relevant, you’ll want to think about what you want to mention in advance so you can control the agenda. For example, saying you have “attention to detail” or that you are “ambitious” is too simple and not worthy of mentioning. You’ll want to aim for a balance between being relevant to the job description and mentioning achievements that are worthy of mentioning.
- Avoid Overqualification or Exaggeration
One of the biggest mistakes you can make during your introduction is to exaggerate your achievements and skills to the point that you become overqualified. There’s a fine line between being an overachiever and overqualified, and you don’t want to cross that line. How do you know if you’ve gone too far? There’s a simple test for this, called empathy.
Take a look at the LinkedIn profile of the hiring manager, and try to deliver a profile that is good, but not better than what the hiring manager is capable of. Ninety percent of the time, this strategy will work, and ten percent of the time it won’t. But at least it won’t work against you, meaning you have nothing to lose.
- Be Humble and Play to Their Psychology
Remember that hiring managers are human too, and they have their own egos and vulnerabilities. While most hiring managers are happy to hire someone who is close to them in skills and experience, they are unlikely to want a candidate who is better than they are. Fear is the most powerful emotion there is, and hiring managers, even if they are employees, always have some degree of fear for their own careers.
If it’s between a great candidate who can challenge them in the long run, and a good candidate, 99% of the time the good candidate will get the job. By doing your empathy test and being humble, you can play into the psychology of the hiring manager and not be seen as threatening.
Here is a sample for an Android developer with 8 years experience:
“As an experienced Android developer with 8 years in the field, I’ve seen the evolution of the platform and the growth of the mobile app industry. Throughout my career, I’ve been dedicated to creating high-quality, user-friendly apps that solve real-world problems and improve people’s lives. I’ve honed my skills in Java and the Android SDK, and I stay up-to-date with the latest trends and technologies. In this article, I want to share my insights and lessons learned from my years of experience as an Android developer, hoping to help other developers and inspire them to take their skills to the next level.”
Here are the three important points highlighted in the sample introduction:
- 8 years of experience as an Android developer
- Demonstrated ability to develop innovative and complex mobile applications
- Strong understanding of Android development tools and technologies, including Java and Android SDK.
- Control the Agenda: The introduction starts by highlighting the job requirements and the specific skills the developer has, setting the tone for the rest of the article.
- Avoid Overqualification or Exaggeration: The introduction emphasizes the 8 years of experience the developer has, but avoids overqualifying or exaggerating their abilities. This allows them to focus on the most relevant skills and experiences.
- Be Humble and Play to Their Psychology: The introduction ends by acknowledging the competitive job market and the importance of standing out from other candidates. The tone is humble and focuses on what the developer can bring to the company, playing to the psychology of the hiring manager and making a positive impression.
the interview is as much a test of your skills as it is a test of your character and fit. The interview is a performance art, and you need to be aware of the rules and what works and what doesn’t. Your character and skills are significantly more complex than can be summarized in a 30-minute interview, so be prepared to perform and sell yourself in the best light possible. Good luck!