Introducing yourself in a job interview could fall entirely in your court or it could be preplanned by the hiring manager. This stage of the interview is crucial to your goal of getting hired or getting a second interview. A hiring manager will make many decisions about you based on the first impression. With that in mind, it's important to think carefully about what to say at the beginning of the meeting.
Listening and Responding
An interviewer could use one of many styles to start the interview. If he's in a rush, there might be only a brief introduction, such as asking why you want the job. Alternatively, he might want you to feel comfortable and he might spend some time summarizing the job description or describing the workplace culture. Your job is to listen and respond with appropriate comments and questions. Show how you're deeply interested in the job and lean forward throughout the times he's talking.
Some interviewers rely on your resume or application to guide the entire interview. If a hiring manager asks you to summarize your work experience, or "tell me what I need to know that's not included on your resume," you should have rehearsed a brief chronology of your work life. This summary should come across as authentic and provide opportunities to add examples of what you learned the most from a job or achieved in a particular position.
It's possible to spend an entire interview feeling one step behind the interviewer sitting across from you, especially if you're worried about the next question. An interviewer may spend time chatting with you to get to know your personality. She can find out other facts about you by contacting your current boss and other references. It's important to be yourself just like you would approach the first time meeting anyone.
Preparing Essential Messages
Determine the essential messages you want to communicate. Having a few good stories about past jobs or achievements you can share confidently even when you're nervous will help you build rapport with an interviewer. For "tell me about a time" questions which could come first in an interview, prepare several anecdotes. Prepare a couple general stories, perhaps showcasing your humor or likability, and a few powerful anecdotes that demonstrate how you've solved a problem or made an important contribution to an organization.
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