The Job Interview
You've made it! Your application documents were convincing and the HR manager would like to invite you to an interview. The pleasure at being invited to interview often turns into nervousness. Now the watchword is staying calm and making the best of the time before the interview.
The right preparation - good applicants know more
You want a job? Systematic information gatherers have an advantage here. Good preparation demonstrates interest in the company and emphasises it.
- Research the business sector, products and services of your potential employer. Sources of information can be the internet, the annual report and current articles in various newspapers and magazines.
- Practice the interview situation with friends and family.
- Think about questions to ask about the company or the role. Write these down - otherwise you will forget them in the heat of the moment.
- Read your application documents through again. You will have to answer questions about it. Nothing is more embarrassing than "What, I really wrote that?"
- Who are you having the interview with? Make sure that you know the name of the contact person in the company. Not many things are more awkward than standing in reception and not knowing the name of the person you have come to meet. It is also advisable to take the telephone number of the company with you, in case something comes up on the way there (accident, traffic jam etc.).
The day of the interview
Nervous? That doesn't matter. Your interviewer knows that and will therefore try to create a comfortable atmosphere in the job interview. They want to get to know you and that should be seen as a compliment. It is best to start with a "good impression".
Dress code for the interview: jeans or a suit? Your clothes as well as your whole physical appearance are essential for a good first impression. Your clothes are signaling: "I understand what's important". You should be dressed slightly better than you would be for everyday work - that might not necessarily be a suit. Clean, neat clothes and a good haircut are absolutely required.
Punctuality: It is better to be ten minutes too early than too late. That also gives you an opportunity to get to know the environment and to relax a little before the actual interview starts. To avoid unpleasant surprises, find out in advance about the best route to get there.
The job interview - be yourself!
The interview is a dialogue and not a question and answer game. Be prepared and do as much research as possible about the company beforehand. You might also want to prepare an introduction about yourself at the same time. Usually you will be asked to describe yourself briefly or tell them something about yourself. It is relaxing and strengthens your confidence if you can start with a "practiced" text. That is why you should also prepare questions at home which can't be answered from the information in the job advertisement or the website. It might also be the case that your interviewer wants to test whether you can remain calm in an aggressive environment - so don't allow yourself to be provoked.
Some fundamental behaviour rules:
- Be polite and do not interrupt your interviewer when he is talking.
- Be confident and do not be afraid to ask if you haven't understood something.
- Find out about the induction period or ask questions about your future team.
- Do not chew gum and do not smoke during the interview.
- Do not complain about your employer.
- Typical questions for an interview
Typical questions for an interview
- Please tell us about yourself.
- Why are you interested in this job in particular?
- What do you know about our company?
- Why are you interested in us?
- Where did you first hear about us?
- Are you prepared to do further training?
- Where have you worked until now?
- Why should we choose you?
- What are you strengths and weaknesses? (Best to prepare five of each, with reasons).
- Why did you choose this subject to study or this school education?
- Which of your experiences to date are relevant to this position in your opinion?
- What is it that needs to change when you change employer?
- How do you deal with stress or conflict situations?
- Are you prepared to take responsibility?
- Are you prepared to do overtime? If so, how much?
- How much are you prepared to travel?
- Where do you see yourself in five years?
- What are you salary expectations?
- Tell us about when you made a wrong decision. What were the consequences and what did you learn from it?
The end of the conversation; closing on a positive note
Nearly there. The interview went well and is finishing up. Now you shouldn't make any more mistakes. Thank your interviewer for having taken the time for you. Ask him what the next steps are and when you might be able to expect a decision.
If you do get a job offer, we recommend not accepting it straightaway, but give it at least a day's reflection. You can say something like, "Think you, the offer is very interesting, but I would like to take some time to think about it - can I let you know next week?". You can also easily point out that you have other offers or interviews and want to take some time to consider before you make a decision.
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