Tell me about yourself - nailing the self-intro
What do hiring managers really want to hear when they ask you to introduce yourself at the start of an interview?
How long should my self-introduction be?
What exactly do I say?
While some interviewers prefer skipping the mutual introductions to dive straight into their questions, some love getting candidates to kick off with a self-intro.
What and how much you share may depend on how tenured or experienced you are, but a few good rules of thumb apply.
For starters, aim to speak for 2-3 minutes, nothing more. The self-intro is meant to be a starter, something to whet your interviewer’s appetite for further questions and deeper dives later on, not a main course.
A solid structure matters - plan on briefly summarising your academic credentials and work experience. By work experience, don’t provide a job-by-job narration through your entire career history. Rather, plan on summarising how you have X years of experience in Y function across A and B industries.
Next up is when you want to drop a few nuggets of information that could function as a unique selling point for you. Whether it’s a hard-to-obtain certification / professional accreditation, or a niche skill, or a key highlight of your career, or specific work accomplishment - say it now. Again, this shouldn’t be more than 1-2 sentences long and should be work or profession-related.
If you don’t have a work-related nugget yet, that’s fine. Focus instead on speaking a bit more about where you work currently, and why this new opportunity is so exciting for you.
Sometimes, it helps to have a fun or unique fact ready - whether it’s an immense personal achievement, or a rare hobby, or a quirk about you - shedding this tiny hint into your personal life could help break the ice faster and establish rapport or chemistry with your hiring team.
What nobody cares about and are completely unnecessary: where you live, age, your marital status, anything other personal details that isn’t relevant to why they should hire you.
Finally, pay close attention to your interviewer’s body language to gauge how they are responding to what you just shared, if you should dive deeper, or keep it surface-level for now.
If you’re met with silence, don’t be shy about asking if that answers their question, or if there’s anything specific they’d like to zoom in on right now.
Memorising or having a basic idea about what you’d cover in a self-intro helps tremendously with boosting your confidence and giving you a strong start to any interview. If you want a free 5-min look and review of your self-intro, send it over to us and we’ll be happy to help!