introducing yourself in interviews

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Introducing Yourself in a Job InterviewMary Willes

Yes, wellIAh???

Now, please introduce yourself.

Introducing yourself in a job interview

Mary Willes

1998

I T OUI G OREF NR DC YUS L N I AO I TRI W N J BNEV E

My il s a We r l

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Introducing yourself in a job interview

Mary Willes

1998

Cne t o t nsPreface 1. About this book 2. Forms of the question: Please introduce yourself 3. Meanings of the question 4. The Interviewer's point of view 5. What the Interviewer wants from the applicant Preparing for the day 6. Making a start 7. Presenting yourself as a serious applicant 8. Presenting yourself as a suitable applicant 9. Presenting yourself as a memorable - even an outstanding applicant Introducing a potentially valuable employee 10. The Interviewer's worst nightmare 11. The really excellent employee Past experience applicable to work situations 12. The experience of study 13. Participation in extra-curricular activities "Please introduce yourself" A selection of answers

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Introducing yourself in a job interview

Mary Willes

1998

P EA E RF C1. ABOUT THIS BOOK This is a very short book - not much more than a booklet, or pamphlet. You will be able to read it through in 45 minutes to 60 minutes. It is part of the Job Search Communication Package of the ILC, and it is about just one single question. The question is an important one, because almost all interviewers ask it! You can almost sure it will be asked, in some form, at any job interview you attend. A few interviewers ask you for an answer in Putonghua - but most of them ask for it in English. They treat the question as a test of your English, and of your skills as an applicant. If you answer it appropriately, and with understanding, then you are well on the way to a successful interview! So what is the question? It is expressed in different ways, but the most usual is:

2. FORMS OF THE QUESTION You may hear this question expressed in a number of different ways. All of them are intended to get the same sort of response from you. Here are some of the ways in which the question may be asked:

1 Would you like to introduce yourself? 2 Tell us what sort of person you think you are. How about you? Your family, your interest? Let's hear what you have to say about yourself.

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Introducing yourself in a job interview

Mary Willes

1998

Notice that the key is yourself. That's the word that you immediately recognize - so you take a breath, and you get ready to answer. Now stop, and before the interview, let's think about what the question really means, and what sort of answer the questioner needs and wants.

3. MEANINGS OF THE QUESTION The question has different meanings in different contexts. Think how different the meanings would be, for example At a party, where it might mean, do you know any of the people that I know? or from a psychologist, in his consulting room, where it might mean. does anything in your childhood experience explain what you are feeling and doing now? or in a Police Station, when you have reported (say) a theft or an accident, and it might mean, are you someone whose evidence should be taken seriously? It doesn't mean any of these things in a job interview! If you are going to understand what it does mean, you have to ask another question first. It is this: What, exactly, does the interviewer want? What would he - or she - find helpful in deciding among several applicants which is best suited to the job? So we'll look at that question now.

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Introducing yourself in a job interview

Mary Willes

1998

4. THE INTERVIEWERS'S POINT OF VIEW It's time to imagine you are not you - the final year CUHK student reading this, but someone quite different! Let's suppose Your name is Desmond Wong, and you are in your late forties, with greying hair. You are very well respected in your middle management position, and your children are growing up, and your wife is in full-time employment. The elder of your sons is already in the second year of Medical School - it's the second one - not doing very well in Secondary School - that worries you. However, you have to put aside your family and financial worries this afternoon.

You have been asked to interview five - or is it six? applicants for that management trainee post. The interviews will take at least until six in the afternoon. You are worried about what the stock market

is doing and the value of some shares you bought on Tuesday Enough of that. You remember that for each of these five? Six? Young people this is an important day.

You hope none of them will waste your time by canceling their appointments at the last minute - or, worse still, by failing to turn up at all. The trouble is they all look so alike. You do hope you will be able to remember which name belongs with which face. Is there time for some tea? No there isn't - here is the applicant now. She comes in, and sits down. You get a good first impression - she's tidy and suitably dressed - she's looking straight at you, not fidgeting or fussing. Thank goodness. You start, in what you hope is a pleasant way, in a welcoming manner, not an alarming one.

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Introducing yourself in a job interview

Mary Willes

1998

+

Good afternoon Miss Chan. It's Miss Linda Chan, isn't it? Right Miss Chan. Would you like to introduce yourself?

Let's leave them to the interview and make a summary of what Mr. Wong wants, and what he doesn't want. 5. WHAT THE INTERVIEWER WANTS FROM THE APPLICANT We can summarize what he needs in a way that is very short and very easy to remember: he wants to identify the applicant from you as

Serious Suitable Memorable and Outstanding (if possible ) Clear free from uncertainty and confusion

Obviously he needs to identify each applicant. Most applicants start by saying

"Well, I'm Linda Chan and There is nothing wrong with that - but it is a mistake to continue by telling the interviewer the personal details which he already has on your application form and the accompanying letter. "There is one point you should be careful of here. If, by any chance, the papers are in the wrong order, and it isn't Linda, but Lynne Chan she must say, at once, and firmly, but not irritably7

Introducing yourself in a job interview

Mary Willes

1998

"No, my name is Lynne, not Linda. I'm the applicant from Chai Wan, majoring in Sociology in the Chinese University." You too need to remember how easy it is for someone to present the application forms in a different order from that in which the applicants appear and make certain you are correctly identified.

E vidence of seriousness the applicant's

E vidence of suitability. the applicant's

As this interviewer knows very well, not all applicants are serious. They are the ones who fail to arrive, without any sort of telephoned or written messages. And waste the time of busy people. Just by being there, Linda shows she is not one of those - but she may be able to say something in addition, that will show that she is serious about the job. We shall look later at some of the things she might say.

Someone who may employ an applicant needs to know what sort of character and disposition the person has, in order to make a judgement about whether he or she will fit in and work well. You simply have to demonstrate self-knowledge and the language to express it. We shall look at ways of making sure you do.

C lear and free of ambiguity and

confusion. Ambiguities - statements that leave8

Introducing yourself in a job interview

Mary Willes

1998

the interviewer uncertain how he is to interpret them - are present in many applications, and may appear in yours. They are of several sorts. If, for example, your grades are not very good, or if they are noticeably uneven - that will seem to the interviewer something that needs explanation. If you have majored in a subject that is not an obvious preparation for the job you are applying for, then that will seem to him/her, something you ought to explain. Of course the interviewer can ask you directly - and if you have not answered the question before, he almost certainly will. However, you are likely to do better in the interview if you raise the questions that perhaps you would prefer not to be asked! You get a chance then to offer an explanation without seeming defensive. Don't lose that opportunity!

O

ne or more reasons to remember you!

Most of the people an interviewer sees in the course of a long, hot afternoon are likely to be adequately qualified and reasonably well prepared. They are not likely these days, when there is so much emphasis on preparing for job interviews in the final year of degree courses, to make any of the obvious silly mistakes of dress and manner. Many interviewers pack their brief cases at the end of the session feeling that everyone seen that day is very similar, and there is little to choose between them! The request to you to introduce yourself is, among other things, an invitation to say what is special, unusual, outstanding, about yourself. And many of us (not just final year students!) feel that really we are very ordinary. There is nothing outstanding or special about us at all! That is what makes the question hard to answer sensibly, satisfactorily and truthfully! There is an honest effort to help you with this part of the question.

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Introducing yourself in a job interview

Mary Willes

1998

Let's sum up so far. Your interviewer wants to be convinced, right from the point where you respond to