Is your english interview introduction good enough to make a great first impression with your interviewer? In an English-language interview, the first question is almost always “tell me about yourself.”
Like most questions, this one serves an important purpose. For you, the job applicant, it is one of the most important questions during an interview.
To understand why this is always the first question, we need to understand something else.
Why do we have interviews? Why don’t companies just hire the most qualified candidate based on the CV?
The answer is because sometimes the most qualified candidate isn’t someone a company would like to work with. Experience doesn’t always mean you’re a good fit for a position.
Interviews exist to determine if the company sees you as someone they can work with. There are important facts an interviewer needs to know about your experience and about your personality. Your introduction is the interviewer’s first window into your personality.
Your introduction (your answer to “tell me about yourself”) is your most valuable time in your entire interview. There are no limits to what you can or cannot say. You can choose what you believe is the most important information for the interviewer to know. Here’s a short video about how to make a great self introduction during your job interview.
Why you need a strong introduction in your English job interview
It establishes why you would be a good employee
First and foremost, this question serves to separate the serious candidates from the rest. The serious candidates have done their research and will know what to say. The rest will not.
How you use this time will tell the interviewer a lot about you. When you have no boundaries, what do you choose to speak about.
The best applicants will look closely at the job listing before the interview and look at the “our story” page on their website. When the time comes to answer this question, they will make sure the company knows that they will fit in there.
It tells the interviewer you are interested in the job
Part of this is doing your research, and the other part if simply saying the words. Adding “…and I’m excited for the opportunity to be part of your team” or some variation of this can go a long way.
Use this opportunity to show the interviewer you are interested. Make sure they know you care about this position, and not just anyone who will offer you work.
It makes the interviewer want to know more.
Remember, this is just your introduction. You don’t need to tell them your life story and every single accomplishment of your career.
The perfect english interview introduction will determine the themes you will discuss later in the interview. Introduce the qualities and achievements in the beginning and then talk about them more later in the interview.
Your interview is one big conversation, not a series of disconnected questions.
How to answer “tell me about yourself”
Your answer should include these four parts…
- Who are you?
- Best Qualities
Describe yourself in one sentence
If you only had 5 seconds, could you tell me who you are?
That one sentence should be at the beginning of your introduction. Before you go into the details, what do we need to know about you?
It should be definitive and attention grabbing and immediately tell the interviewer you are a great candidate. Don’t forget to be specific as well.
“My name is James and I’m a project planning expert with more than 10 years experience in the pharmaceutical industry.”
“I’m Michelle, and I’m a seasoned programmer working in the financial industry.”
Keep it short, direct and make sure it’s relevant to the job you are interviewing for.
Highlight your best qualities during your job interview introduction
Next, you want to highlight your best qualities. Think about what makes you different. Think about the qualities you most admire in yourself or other people most admire in you.
The qualities you choose should be something the company cares about. Make sure you did your research for this part.
Maybe you’re thinking about your expertise in your field. That’s great! But also think about your personality, those soft skills that give you an advantage. Are you a better listener than other people? Do you have exceptional organizational skills?
You have qualities that are valuable to this organization, identify them and tell the interviewer what they are immediately.
After you’ve identified your best qualities, it’s time to show us how that helps you excel in your job. This is the most difficult part to do well in an introduction and it’s why you want to practice until you’re happy with your answer.
The best way to do this is to find a small story that illustrates the quality you mentioned. Talk about a time you needed to use that quality or maybe a moment where you learned why that quality was important.
For example, if you want to talk about how you are a strong listener, talk about a time when that skill helped you provide a great experience for a client. If you choose organization skills, talk about how that helps you when you’re involved in complicated projects.
The idea is to show your interviewer, not just tell them, who you are in your professional life.
“I am a strong communicator, especially with my clients. When I was working as a financial advisor last year, I had one client who set extremely high goals for her small business. I feared that they would not be able to meet them. So I shared my concerns and suggested a few ways that we could improve the profit margin on certain products. She thanked me for my honesty and we were able to set more realistic goals together. After a successful first quarter, we increased the projection for the end of the year.”
Have a clear ending
After you’ve expressed your best qualities, use the end of your introduction to remind the interviewer that you want to be there.
You can take a moment to express your interest in the job. Just one short sentence can turn a good introduction into a great one. It doesn’t have to be complicated. A simple, “and I’m excited for the opportunity to work here” can go a long way.
If you want to go one step further, at the end of your interview introduction, connect the skills you just told them about with the position. Put simply, tell us why those skills will make you good for this job.
“I believe my communication skills and expertise will make me a perfect fit for the project manager position at [company]”
If your first answer has all these pieces, you can leave a great impression after just one question. This question is a natural starting place in any interview and interviewers ask it to help you ease into your interview and eventually show your personality and confidence in speaking English. If you take advantage of this time, you may have the job before you even leave the room.