Yes, they should have read your resume and cover letter you sent in, but that only gave them enough for them to want to see you in person. Now you are going to meet the hiring manager in person, you have a one-off make or break opportunity to get them to see you as the only person they want to employ.
As you know, interviewers will often rely heavily on their first impressions, to the extent that the interview becomes merely a confirmation of that first impression, either good or bad. So if self-introduction is your key to interview success, the first and most important aim is to create a positive first impression. Everybody has an opinion as to how you do that: look 'em in the eye, give 'em a firm handshake, speak up and don't mumble; know your stuff. All good ideas, but what do you actually do and what do you say?
Create A Favorable First Impression
The way to create a favorable first impression is to be sure you appear confident and open. When you meet your interviewer for the first time, make eye-contact at the introduction and repeat the interviewer's name as you shake hands and thank them for inviting you to the interview. As you get seated, smile to indicate you are ready to get down to business.
What often follows is the invitation to 'tell them about yourself' which allows you to commence your self-introduction that is so important to your interview success. This is the phase where you develop the rapport that will carry you through to the positive outcome at the end of the interview.
Because self-introduction is your key to interview success, you must have previously prepared exactly what you are going to say. This is not some lengthy story about your life, but a short focused statement that sounds interesting to the listener. You make it interesting by keeping it short (less than 3 minutes) and by showing that you are interested in both the job and the organization. This means you need to do some research about the business beforehand.
Strengths And Achievements
In your self-introduction you will include some examples of your strengths and achievements which relate directly to the requirements of the new job. This must also demonstrate your personal qualities that you apply when you are doing the job because the type of person you are is often far more important then just having the ability to do a job.
The way you outline your self-introduction, in particular the way you speak, tells the interviewer whether you are confident in your abilities so you must rehearse it well, but don't try to be what you are clearly not - you'll only be found out at a later date. Get a friend to listen to your self-introduction with a critical ear, because if it sounds false it will set the alarm bells ringing with the interviewer who will detect that it is not the real you and destroy the rapport you were building up. Practice speaking faster or more slowly, louder or quietly and try to vary it throughout.
When you have prepared your self-introduction, ask yourself this question: 'What does the interviewer need?'
The answer is that the interviewer needs to identify the best candidate to hire, whilst keeping the costs to a minimum and the fewer people interviewed the better. The need is also for the person who appears to be the best 'fit' in terms of both personality and technical ability. Also remember that they may need to justify their decision to hire you, to someone higher!
Prepared well, this self-introduction is your key to interview success because it helps to create that...