First 3 minutes of the interview: the “Elevator Pitch”

The first minutes of a job / internship interview are the most important to you as well as to the recruiter to get a first impression about you. The interview generally begins, after some ice-breaking, with one of those famous first questions: tell me about yourself? Why are you here? Could you present yourself?

The recruiter then will keep silence for some minutes, looking at you and listening to what you have got to say. No interruptions, question will be kept to later, only looking and noticing what you are going to tell.

In the meantime, this part of the interview could be your strength-point, if you had prepared it already. This part is called “The Elevator Pitch” (inspired of the short time of silence spent when you use the elevator with some unknown people), that means how can you impress in such a short period of time?

The speech you are going to tell should of course be structured, smooth, and with a strategy. This is an example of a typical strategy that could be adopted and that I personally developed ( 3W: who, what, why) in  a former post:

  1. After presenting your name and your age and what you are doing now (who), start with presenting your curriculum in a chorological short but interesting way (what). Make it like a causal-consequential speech (provided that I’m found of “something”, I chose this university; since I am interested in “something”, I made this internship…). Highlight the most important steps in your curriculum (good marks, internship abroad, preparatory-classes and how difficult they are (endurance), national exam, best engineering schools…). At the end, make a link with why you are here now (why). What makes you particularly interested in that company and more specifically in that position.
  2. After the academic background come the extra-curricular activities. Try, through mentioning the most important 3 roles / positions you filled, to pop out what soft skills you have acquired (patience under stress, engagement, teamwork, collaboration, team leading…). Don’t forget to mention why you chose to be engaged in such activities (passion, a strong will to help the others, to make your university better…)
  3. The last part would be a short snapshot about what you do as hobbies and why. Don’t forget to illustrate them with concrete examples (reading => last book, sport => how often, with whom, music => what kind and why…).

The whole elevator pitch speech should not exceed 3 to 4 minutes, otherwise it’s will be make the recruiter bored, especially with your stress of the beginning. Try not to fall in repeating your CV (a typical mistake) and don’t forget to make a good conclusion like re-mentioning why you applied to this position. That’s a good hand-up to the recruiter to set him a start point, where he should begin.

PS: Here is a standard definition of what an “Elevator Pitch” is:

An elevator pitch is a short summary used to quickly and simply define a person, profession, product, service, organization or event and its value proposition.
The name reflects the idea that it should be possible to deliver the summary in the time span of an elevator ride, or approximately thirty seconds to two minutes. The term itself comes from a scenario of an accidental meeting with someone important in the elevator. If the conversation inside the elevator in those few seconds is interesting and value adding, the conversation will continue after the elevator ride or end in exchange of business card or a scheduled meeting.

[wikipedia, adopted]

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