How to introduce yourself at a job or school interview
Your self-introduction at an interview is not about you. Don't think about you. Don't talk about all the details about your work, educational experience, hobbies or family background. Don't waste valuable time on things that don't help you get the job but rather focus only on those few items that the interviewers want to hear to hire you.
The interviewers only want to know if you are the best person for the job from their points of view, whatever they are looking for. Everything else might make you look unfit to the company, department or school or at least you are missing the opportunity to draw their attention to your values.
If you use the same introduction at every interview, you will get the same answer every time: "No." Prepare a unique, specially designed and optimized introduction for each interview.
In this self introduction preparation course we will focus on understanding the interviewers' needs and worries, how they think, what they value and how they select the right candidates.
We're going to choose and package relevant events, achievements, experiences from your life and skills that are relevant to the job. Then we're going to practise how to present them in an interview to demonstrate your high value.
There's no sample or typical self introduction template
We're going to concentrate on the specifics of the interview that you are preparing for. Whether it's a new job, a promotion or a school admission for an overseas or local Hong Kong university or secondary school, you need to adjust your introduction about yourself to the specific requirements, expectations and needs of the decision makers of the 'organisation'.
You are not interviewed by a company, a government department or a school. You are interviewed by human beings. Thus, one of the objectives in the workshop is to understand, prepare and practice how to make your work experience and skill set appear to fit to the job and how to press the "I want to hire you" button in the interviewers.
Each table cell has a unique sub-structure. For instance, if you talk about your past work experience, you can have a sub-topic structure template for each employment:
- working period, job title, name of the employer,
- job duties and responsibilities,
- achievements and challenges,
- motivation: reason for taking and leaving the job,
- what you learnt, what was your experience,
Self introduction preparation strategy
'Tell me about yourself.' 'Please introduce yourself.' 'What is your story? And so on. These are the opening questions interviewers often use when they want you to talk about yourself.
But before you introduce yourself, try to sense whether the interviewer really wants a formal introduction or it is just a warm up question to start an informal conversation.
If you already had some small talk before they ask you to present a self-introduction, they probably interested in a more complete, formal presentation about you. But if it is their opening after exchanging hi and hello, they may just use it as an ice-breaker to start a discussion.
So you should prepare an informal and a formal version for self introduction. You should also create a shorter and a longer version.
We are going to prepare for different lengths of presentations. A 1-minute self introduction is appropriate if you think that the 'Please, introduce yourself' is just an ice-breaker and they will change the topic or ask questions about you to transit from a monologue to a conversation.
Being able to talk about your career, education and private life for 3 minutes is a standard requirement but it is better to prepare for a 5-minute and a 10-minute versions, too.
Past, present, future
When you talk about your work experience or educational background, start with the most powerful one and spend more time on it. The interviewer may ask questions about the details so you can direct the topic to the most relevant aspects of your past.
Talk about your future plans, too. Especially in a way that relevant to the job you apply for. Talk about your career plan, your self-development strategy, your goals and aspirations. Nobody does this so you can stand out of the crowd. Remember, not the past but the future connects you with the company and manager.