You’re full of adrenaline—the nervous excitement and anxiety that builds in the hours leading up to a job interview. To feel in control, you google “most common job interview questions.” You open a document with an interminable list of questions, and you frantically begin quizzing yourself.
I’ve done this. Several times. There is value in researching the most common interview questions and testing yourself, but before you google “most common job interview questions,” spend fifteen minutes drafting a 30-second introduction.
You know it’s coming the moment you sit down in the chair. . . “tell me about yourself.” It’s often the first thing an interviewer will invite you to answer.
Here’s a good example of an introduction for a job interview:
I spent my childhood hiking the Carson Range and waterskiing on Lake Tahoe. As an avid water-skier, I love waking up early to be the first person to break the water. That sort of embodies how I approach things. I was the first kid in my family to go to college. I graduated with a master’s in advertising from UNLV a year early. And I’m still an early riser. I went to work at the crack of dawn at Smith Advertising for five years. And I still like to metaphorically “break the water” when I work. That’s why I’m so excited about your company. I want to work at an advertising firm that encourages their graphic designers to create innovative and clean designs.
Admit it. If someone started their interview off this way, you’d be impressed. It’s especially impressive considering how most candidates won’t be prepared to introduce themselves:
I was born in Nevada a few miles from Lake Tahoe, so I am an outdoorsy person that loves to water ski. I graduated from UNLV with my master’s in advertising, and I’ve been working as a graphic designer for Smith Advertising for five years. I loved working for them because of their clean, innovate designs.
It’s asked at the beginning of the interview, so it sets the tone for you interview. Not only is a great introduction crucial for a good first impression, but this question strikes at the very purpose of the interview. The interviewers already scrutinized your resume and believe you have the right qualifications. Now they wish to see if you’re a good fit for the company.
“Tell me about yourself.” That’s the whole ball game.
So you know one of questions that they will ask you, and you know that your answer to this question is important and sets the tone for interview. Yet, so often job applicants overlook preparing for this significant moment.
Don’t make this mistake and ad-lib your introduction.
Take fifteen minutes to draft an important 30-second introduction for your interview. Start the interview with a personal, concrete, and memorable detail that illustrates why they should give you the job.