Interviewing – How to start?

Prior to the interview, you have hopefully done plenty of research about the company with which you are interviewing. Studying their website and looking for any recent news or press releases are essential for a successful interview.

By doing this, two things will be accomplished:

  • First, it will provide you with the tools to learn as much information about the company as possible.
  • Second, it will allow you to ask this important opening question: “Thank you very much for meeting with me today. I am somewhat familiar with Company X and your great reputation. I’ve had a chance to look at your website and have read about your latest achievements (be specific) in the Wall Street Journal. Can you tell me a little more about the company and the skills that you are looking for in someone?”

By asking this question, in this exact way, you have impressed the interviewer by taking the time to learn about the company. Most likely, you will then be given additional information about the company from their interviewer, and you will get all the information you need to convince them that you are the right person for the job!

This question will make it much easier for an applicant to discuss the strengths and skills that are best suited for this position. It is a very effective way to begin the interview.

The 90-Second Introduction

The 90-second introduction is a thumbnail sketch of your educational and career history. Next to your printed resume, it will likely be your most often used self-marketing tool. This framework allows you to provide an appropriate answer to the frequently asked (and very important) question: “Tell me about yourself.” If the interviewer does not ask this question, you can conveniently lift out portions of your prepared response to answer other questions or to introduce yourself during a networking meeting.

This presentation gives the interviewer a chance to observe not only what you say but also how you say it, your professionalism, and how you will fit in. It is a chance for you to sell yourself, and to make that very important first impression count. Done well, it should give the interviewer a “flavor” of who you are.

When preparing your 90-second introduction your goal is to emphasize accomplishments and “tell your story” in an interesting way. Be sure to use action verbs when describing key achievements.

Guidelines for Your 90-Second Introduction


Present the “big picture” overview of your career.

Example: “For the past 15 years, my career has focused on instructional design, primarily in the pharmaceutical industry.”

Early Career

Outline your educational background (if applicable) and a very brief summary of your early work experience, progression and key accomplishments.

Example: “After completing my BA in Journalism, I began my career with Wyeth Pharmaceuticals as an entry-level instructional designer. In this role, I developed two award-winning instructor-led courses and three award-winning elearning courses that have since been recognized at several national conferences. After five years, I was promoted to a senior instructional designer position, where I managed teams of up to four less experienced instructional designers, in addition to my normal work responsibilities.”

Most Recent Experience

Focus on key accomplishments and scope of responsibility here.

Example: “Most recently, as a senior instructional designer and trainer for ABC Corporation, I identified the training needs for our domestic sales force, consisting of 650 sales representatives and 55 regional and district managers and developed training programs that enhanced performance in the field. Because of the influx of product roll-outs, I was part of a team responsible for launching five of our top product lines, and I developed a comprehensive training program for each.”

Critical Junction

At this point, if asked, explain why you are looking for work. Keep it short and sweet!

Example: “As you may know, ABC Corporation was recently acquired by XYZ Company, and my role, along with several others throughout the nation, was eliminated due to consolidation of certain business functions.”

The Future

This is where you talk about your target industry, position, function, or role. It also gives you the opportunity to summarize what you have to offer (key skills/strengths), as well as what you are looking for.

Example: “Because of my extensive experience in the industry, coupled with my instructional design achievements, I am targeting a training leadership position within the pharmaceutical industry.”

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