How to Introduce and to Market Yourself during InterviewsChen Wan Lim
An interview is often the first step after a job application has been accepted by a prospective company. First interviews in particular, regardless of whether it’s a traditional face-to-face interview, phone interview or Skype interview has two simple objectives – for the company to get acquainted with a potential candidate and for the candidate to introduce his/herself to the potential future employer. As such, there is only one opportunity for candidates to introduce themselves and to show what they can bring to the company should they be offered a position. The opportunity to introduce and to market oneself is often combined in the opening question – “Please tell us about yourself”. These are some helpful tips on how to ace that question and more:
Tip 1: Introducing your professional self
Skipping the obvious such as your name and what is stated at the top of your resume, the first task of introducing yourself sets the tone of the entire interview. Candidates should answer this question by carefully summarizing all the key selling points you offer such as educational background, work experiences, specific skill sets and special talents which are directly related to the job. The answers should be general and concise to provide an overview to the interviewer. After that, you can end your pitch by stating your interest in the position and company you are interviewing for. The interviewer will then elaborate further by drilling deeper into the introduction you have just provided such as, “Tell me more about your stint in Company ABC when you were handling the accounts for them”.
Tip 2: Introducing your personal self
As opposed to introducing your professional self which includes your education, experience and skill sets, you may be asked to introduce your personal self – this is for the interviewer to get to know the candidate more intimately. Be warned, however, not to disclose information that is not relevant to the job or information that is too old. For example, you can introduce your personal self by stating your interest in the field of accounting and where you spent the last five year honing your skills in forensic accounting. You can also tell about extra classes or seminars you have been taking to sharpen your accounting skills. Refrain from telling about the awards you won during your days in high school or your first job ten years ago as an audit clerk.
Tip 3: Market your unique selling point
There are probably a hundred candidates who applied for your role and perhaps ten of whom were called for an interview for that one vacancy – the question now is what makes you stand out? To answer this question, you will need to identify your unique selling point beforehand. A unique selling point refers to a niche skill set that you have acquired and sharpened over the years with proven track record in delivering success. Try to recall the past projects you have been in and identify what you did to contribute to the success of the project – It could have been superior coordination and crisis management skills or perhaps advance mathematical skills which you introduced to solve a peculiar problem. Be sure to mention your unique selling point with solid proofs – interviewers are sure to remember it if it stands out.
Tip 4: Use industry specific jargons
Another proven way to impress your interviewer is to use industry specific jargons. Using jargons will impress upon the interviewer that you are well-versed with the industry. For example, instead of using ‘oil and gas services boats’, be more specific by saying ‘Anchor Handling Tug and Supply vessels’.
Tip 5: Elaborate on specific academic projects
If you have an MBA or a postgraduate degree, you could also use your thesis paper to market yourself especially if it is of specific interest to the company. For example, if your masters’ thesis is on managing human resources in an economic downturn, then you could use some of your findings to create talking points and to even offer suggestions to the interviewer in a bid to impress them.
Tip 6: Keeping up-to-date with what’s happening around you
Another great way to market yourself is to keep up-to-date with what is happening in the industry you are in (or will be in). The last thing you want is to get caught not being aware of what the interviewer is referring to. Be sure to read up and to keep abreast with news and current happenings. Do incorporate this news into your conversation too. For example, instead of saying “oil prices are expected to remain at current levels for the foreseeable future”, you could say, “the OPEC will be meeting next month in Vienna to discuss possible output restrictions. This could cause oil prices to maintain at current levels for the time being”.