How should you introduce yourself in an interview? originally appeared on Quora: The best answer to any question.

Answer by Adam Seabrook, co-founder of, recruited for Google, Atlassian, and Bigcommerce, on Quora:

You have 30 seconds to make an impression during an interview. This question should really be "How do I nail the interview and get the job?" -- that is how critical the first 30 seconds are.

Looking at my diary over the past ten years I have interviewed well over 1,000 different candidates in person. When I get a bad first impression, they almost never recover. I now work for Betterteam (a hiring platform for small businesses) so I have even greater visibility into what happens during that critical first interview.

If you want to nail your introduction and the whole interview follow these steps:


1. Exercise on the morning of your interview.

This does not need to be a marathon, but thirty minutes of exercise will give you a buzz that will last most of the way through the day.

2. Be presentable.

Other than clothing, which is a given, also check your appearance. This goes for ladies and gents. Use your phone to do a video selfie and check for boogers, spinach on teeth, lipstick on teeth, clumps of mascara, etc. There's nothing grosser than spending an entire interview fixated on a booger hanging out of a candidate's nose.

3. Arrive in the area early for your pre-game ritual.


A trick I learned in sales was to turn up twenty minutes before my meetings and hang out in the lobby (or one nearby if they don't have one). If it was a hot day I would want to cool down so I wasn't a sweaty disaster. I also used to bring my headphones and listen to a few songs that I like that helped me get into the zone. I see many athletes doing this, which is where I stole the idea from.

4. Hit the bathroom before you get to reception.

There's nothing worse than needing to take a break during an interview. Do a final appearance check and also make sure to wash and dry your hands. Clammy handshakes are worse than death. If you have chronic clammy hands, hide a handkerchief in your pocket and dry you hands on it closer to when you expect to shake hands.

5. Bring your own water.


Receptionists often do not offer you water. The interviewer might, but they are often just being polite and don't expect you to say yes. If the interview is going to continue for awhile, a dry throat can really start to impact you.

6. Be amazingly nice to everyone.


I had one sneaky client who used to go out and ask the receptionist how the candidates acted pre-interview. If he came back with a thumbs down then they would reject the candidate. Be rude/dismissive to the receptionist and expect that to get passed on to whoever you just met with.

7. Get off your phone.

If you are waiting in reception or the interview room, read your resume first. If you did not bring it then read a magazine if one is available. Tapping away on your phone when they arrive can be distracting and some interviewers find it rude (especially the older interviewers who did not grow up with smartphones).

8. Don't sit with your back to the door in the interview room.


It's a caveman trait we haven't discarded yet: if you feel your back is unprotected, you will naturally be on higher alert and be more uncomfortable. Sit where you can see the door. The other side effect of this is the interviewer is facing you and there are less distractions behind you.

9. Stand when the interviewer enters the room (if you are able).

This was an immediate rejection for me. I might be a bit old school, but this is a great way to show respect and makes an excellent impression. Two people shaking hands whilst standing is a great dynamic. One standing and one sitting is an odd dynamic and starts the interview off wrong. Obviously if you are not able to stand then shaking hands sitting down is 100% fine.

10. The introduction.

Nearly always it will be the interviewer who makes the introduction. A simple response of

"Great to meet you X, I am really looking forward to our chat today"

Is all you need. Then the normal small talk.

Why is this so long?

Once I have had a poor initial impression of someone, the best introduction in the world won't save them. Do your prep work and you will find that your interviews go way better.

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Published on: May 16, 2016