The way you introduce yourself at the start of a job interview helps an interviewer create their first real impression of you as a person. This impression should build on the impression they received from your resume in a positive way. Your introduction sets the tone for the interview and may impact its result, so it's vital to get it right. In this article, we explain how to introduce yourself in a job interview and offer some helpful tips and examples to help you in your next interview.
Why is the way you introduce yourself at an interview important?
When people meet you for the first time, they form an opinion of you in a few seconds. Once they form that opinion, it's challenging to change their minds. That's why it's important to create a positive impression with your introduction. If your interviewer has a positive opinion of you, they will be more likely to consider you a serious candidate for their vacant role.
How to introduce yourself in an interview
Follow these steps to introduce yourself in an interview and create a positive impression:
1. Stand for the interviewers
If you are able, standing for the interviewer or interviewers when you meet them shows your respect. If you are sitting in a waiting room or the interview room when they approach you, stand up when you see them. If you enter a room already occupied by the interviewer or interviewers, remain standing until you complete your introduction.
2. Make and maintain eye contact
Make eye contact with the interviewer and maintain it through your introduction. This shows the interview is your main focus and that the interviewer has your full attention. If you have a panel of interviewers, make eye contact with every person on the panel. When someone speaks to you, shift your eye contact to show the speaker they have your attention.
3. Smile at the interviewer
Smiling at the interviewer shows you are a warm person who is happy to be considered for the position. Smiling can also reduce your own nerves and make responding to the interview easier. Your smile should feel natural to you to ensure it seems genuine.
4. Greet the interviewer
Shaking hands is a traditional way to greet someone and is appropriate for most interviews. Step or lean towards the interviewer, then shake their hand a couple of times. Your handshake should feel firm and confident. If you're interviewed by a panel, shake the hands of each interviewer in turn. Shaking someone's hand helps them remember you.
Along with a handshake, give a simple greeting such as ‘Hi, it's nice to be here'. Speak clearly and confidently. This greeting establishes a good rapport before you tell the interviewers who you are.
5. Say who you are and thank the interviewer
Confidently tell the interviewer who you are, using your full name, in a clear and audible voice. While the interviewer likely knows the role you're applying for, you should also mention it to confirm this. One easy way to do achieve this is to mention the role as you're thanking them for taking the time to meet with you.
For example, you might say something like ‘I'm Stephen Mahoney. Thanks for taking the time to chat with me today about your vacant accountant role'. This greeting gives all the information your interviewer needs and shows that you appreciate that their time is valuable. Showing this understanding further helps build a rapport between you.
The interviewer will likely introduce themselves as well. Tell them it's nice to meet them, using their name in your address. If they use their full name, give a more formal greeting with their title and surname. If they only use their first name, you can feel free to do the same. Repeating the person's name back shows you are paying attention while reinforcing their name in your mind.
For example, you might say either ‘It's a pleasure to meet you Dr. Phillips', or ‘It's lovely to meet you Sam'. Alternatively, if you've communicated over the phone or email, you might say something like ‘It's great to meet you in person Lee'.
6. Sit and maintain open, professional body language
After introducing yourself, sit in the chair provided for you. You should sit comfortably while maintaining an open and professional appearance. Sit with your legs together and your hands in your lap or beside your legs. Sitting in this way makes you seem approachable.
7. Introduce yourself further, if required
At this point many interviewers will launch into the interview and start asking you questions. If this happens, let the interviewer lead your discussion and answer the questions to the best of your ability. However, if the interviewer doesn't start asking questions, you can introduce yourself further. Give a brief summary that includes your relevant professional experience and interest in the job.
For example, you might say ‘I'm a retail assistant with more than 10 years experience working in fashion. Over that time I've worked on the shop floor, in the fitting rooms and behind the counter, which has given me a really unique perspective on what shoppers look for. I'm passionate about the clothes that your shop sells and would love the opportunity to help your customers look their best'.
You can use a similar approach if the interviewer asks you about yourself. This is a common early question during interviews as it helps interviewers learn more about their candidates. While your professional background and reasons for wanting the job matter, adding a sentence about your interests outside your career makes your answer feel more personal. For example, you might say ‘In my spare time I love photography, experimenting in the kitchen and ten-pin bowling'.
Tips for introducing yourself in an interview
These tips can help you when you're introducing yourself in an interview.
Dress professionally with personality
The way you dress tells people about your character, so consider what you wear carefully when you're introducing yourself in an interview. Dress professionally, but try to incorporate some of your personality into your outfit. When you wear clothes you feel and look good in, you'll be more confident introducing yourself to interviewers. Wearing a tie with the logo of your favourite football team or a dress in your favourite colour are both great ways to inject some personality into your interview outfit. Consider the workplace's dress code and corporate culture when you're putting your outfit together.
Related: What To Wear To a Job Interview
Prepare what to say
Preparing how you'll introduce yourself can help you deliver your introduction more confidently. Your preparation can also make sure you say everything you want to. Remember that an introduction should feel natural though. Have an outline of your introduction in mind, rather than developing a clear script, to make your introduction feel conversational.
Staying calm is the best way to speak confidently when you're introducing yourself. When you are calm, your voice will sound clear and more powerful. If you feel your nerves rising when your interview starts, take a few deep breaths. This should help you compose yourself, so you can introduce yourself with more self-assurance. If you often feel nervous before interviews, take time to practise deep breathing before your interview begins, so you can enter the room in a calmer state.
Pay attention to your clarity and volume
Speaking in a clear, audible voice helps your interviewer hear your introduction. It also gives the impression that you are confident about what you're saying. Make sure you enunciate your words and speak at a volume that your interviewer can easily hear. You may need to speak louder than usual if you're interviewed somewhere with a lot of background noise.
Use open, confident body language
The way that you carry yourself can say as much about who you are as the words you use in your introduction. Behaviours such as standing tall, with your shoulders back and chin raised, as you maintain eye contact shows your confidence. Making deliberate movements, rather than fidgeting, will also make you seem more in control. Maintaining an open stance, with your arms by your side, can make you seem approachable. Be conscious of the way you move your body as you're introducing yourself and make sure it gives the right message to your interviewer.
Practise introducing yourself
As with any skill, introducing yourself gets easier the more you do it. Hone your skills by introducing yourself to others whenever you can. Networking events and conferences provide great opportunities, as they let you practise professional introductions. The introduction you'll use at a party is less formal, although many of the same principles still apply. For example, you should still use a clear voice and open, confident body language in social situations. Over time, you should notice introducing yourself becomes more natural.