Tips for the job interview

When you apply for a job, you naturally want to make a good impression. Being properly prepared is half the battle, but what do you need to watch out for?
  • Before you apply, always call the contact person for the vacancy and ask a few well-prepared questions. Check whether the vacancy is still open, ask what the firm requirements are and whether you qualify. In addition, a telephone call like this is your chance to make a first, personal impression!
  • Adjust your CV and covering letter based on the vacancy text and the telephone conversation.
  • Check your spelling and grammar one more time, or better yet: get someone else to check it for you.
  • Record a clear and businesslike voicemail response, just in case you cannot answer your phone when the recruiter calls you. Include at least your name.
  • Check your e-mail at least twice per day. Invitations are generally sent out by e-mail.
In a job interview, you need to make clear that you really want this job! How do you make sure that comes across?
  • Make sure you know exactly what the job entails and what the company does. Analyse the company’s website and also read recent press releases or news items. Check whether the company is active on social media such as LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter. Use this information to give clear reasons why you want to work for the company and why you want this job in particular.
  • Think of reasons why you are suitable. What part of your experience matches the job requirements and which qualities do you have which are valuable for this role?
  • Make sure you can clearly explain what is on your CV – what you did, how you performed the tests, why you changed jobs in the past, etc.
  • Try to think about what critical questions you might get.
  • Prepare for frequently asked questions such as: “list three of your strengths and three of your weaknesses.”
  • Also prepare your own questions and write them down. This shows that you have prepared and that you are interested in the company or role. Do not rely on coming up with questions on the spot.
  • Check the backgrounds of the individuals you will be talking to on LinkedIn.
  • Make sure you take your CV, diplomas, certificates, ID and writing materials with you.
  • Know where you are supposed to be! Some companies have multiple sites.
  • Allow sufficient travel time. Arriving 15 minutes early is perfect! Make allowances for traffic congestion, delays on the trains, etc., or for waiting time at the front desk if it is a large company.
  • Make sure you look your best – in terms of clothing, shoes, hair, nails and body odour. Wear clothes you feel self-confident in.
  • Reaffirm your enthusiasm for the role and ask when you can expect a response and what the further procedure will be. You could ask if there are many other candidates.
  • If you are rejected, politely ask for the reason. It is important to know what impression you have made, so that you can make use of this information for the future. Don’t be afraid to ask for tips for improvement.
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