Your job interview: 10 tips for perfect preparation.
Veröffentlicht von Matthias Dziewior
The first step is done! You have been invited to the job interview. Now you have the chance to show in an interview that you are the right person for this job. At the same time, you have the opportunity to learn more about your potential employer. This way you can find out whether the company, the team and the culture match your wishes and expectations.
Thanks to insights from over 3,000 application processes per month, we show you with 10 tips what really matters to convince every recruiter completely of you. But first, let’s talk briefly about the structure of the interview process, then we’ll start directly with the 10 tips!
The job interview: what to expect
In your job interview, you can expect tasks and small challenges that you have to solve. Here you have the chance to show that you have the required skills. But don’t worry! It’s not about luring you into a trap with trick questions. On the contrary, your interviewer wants to see how you would tackle real challenges you might face on the job.
But how exactly does an application phase with an interview work? Of course, this depends entirely on the company. Nevertheless, it can usually be divided into these 3 phases:
1st Phase: Telephone or video interview
Great news! The company liked your application and invites you to a telephone or video interview. This usually lasts 15-30 minutes. Here the recruiter wants to get to know you better and find out if you are qualified and motivated enough for the next interview phase. Of course, you also have the opportunity to ask questions about the team, training or tools and processes.
2nd Phase: Professional test
Many companies want to test your professional skills with the help of trial task. This can be done by phone or zoom. You usually have 45-60 minutes for the tasks. Another possibility is to send you a kind of homework, which you have to present in the next interview. You can complete this in about 3-4 hours and usually have 1-2 weeks to do it.
3rd Phase: The last Interview
Almost there! In your last job interview, you have the opportunity to get to know the company even better. Some companies also like to invite talented people to their offices for a trial day. This way, the recruiter can find out if you fit into the company culture. At the same time, it is also a good opportunity for you to ask questions and find out whether you will feel comfortable in this company and in this position.
Now that you know what to expect in a job interview process, you can prepare accordingly. Good that we have summarized the most important tips for you here.
Preparation is key
Tip #1: Research the company
The basis for a successful job interview is thorough research. Find out about the company, its philosophy and culture. It’s best to take another close look at the job ad: What are your responsibilities? What characteristics and qualities is the company looking for? Which of the required skills and experience do you already have?
Recruiters love it when talents ask questions about the company, the company’s growth or the product. This way, you show increased interest in the company and leave a positive impression. In fact, this not only goes down well with the company, but also has advantages for you. This way you get to know your potential employer better and can assess whether it is a good fit for you.
Tip #2: Self presentation
In most job interviews you will be asked to tell something about yourself at the beginning. Your self-presentation should ideally last 2 to 5 minutes. The main point here is to give your interviewer a first impression of you. And as we all know: first impressions count. For this reason, you should not simply recite your resume, but focus much more on your milestones. Highlight what practical experience you already have that is relevant to this position and give reasons for your answers.
If you are still unsure about what exactly to mention in your self-presentation, we would like to introduce you to the 3-step formula that serves as a guide: I am – I can – I will.
Always make sure that when you use the 3-step formula, you always refer to the company and the position you are seeking, and emphasize why your qualifications and skills can be useful for that position.
Tipp #3: The best technique
These days, most initial job interviews take place virtually. For a smooth process and a good impression, you can prepare for your online job interview with these tips:
-> Make sure you have a stable internet connection.
-> Test your video and audio.
-> Suppress background noise in your sound settings.
-> Make sure you’re sitting in a well-lit and quiet place with a neutral or soft background.
-> Mute your cell phone and other devices and ask your roommate or family to be quiet.
-> Join the meeting a few minutes beforehand. This will give you enough time to make sure the meeting link is working and to troubleshoot any problems.
Prepare yourself for these questions
Every job interview is very individual and also differs from company to company. Therefore, you cannot prepare yourself 100%. Nevertheless, there are one or two questions that people like to ask in a job interview and to which you should have the right answers ready.
Tip #4: Prepare an explanation of why you want to change companies.
A change of career is no longer uncommon and it has become normal to change jobs every few years. The reasons for a change can vary: Do you want to grow professionally? Are you looking for a new work environment? Or do you want a higher salary?
No matter what your reasons are for wanting to change companies, you shouldn’t talk badly about your current employer. Our tip: Instead of talking about the past and listing all the things you don’t like about your current employer, focus on the future. Explain what you would like to see in your future employer, how you would like to develop professionally, and what appeals to you about a new challenge. This trick will not only give you a positive outlook on the future, but will also leave a good impression on the recruiter.
Tip #5: Talk about how you’re continuing your education and staying current.
With a question about your development, the recruiter wants to find out which blogs or news sites you read that are related to your field of work. After all, companies also want you to constantly develop yourself.
Be honest and list all the reference books, online magazines, podcasts, blogs, webinars, and forums you use for continuing education. Nevertheless, you should be able to name the most popular information sources in your field. It’s important that you don’t just list them. Rather, explain what you find valuable about these sources of information and also why you do not use some popular media to educate yourself.
Tip #6: Talk about current projects, challenges and what tools you use for them.
Here you have the opportunity to give your potential employer an insight into your experience and skills. Tell about collaboration and communication with the team, your time and project management, and what you contributed to the project. The question also invites you to talk not only about your professional projects, but also about projects you tackle in your spare time. Do you perhaps use a different programming language in your private project than at your current employer? Then you should definitely mention that! This shows that you are interested and willing to learn.
If you are asked about the tools, the interviewer wants to know how you work. Of course, you should answer this question honestly. Explain which tools you use and why you like working with them. This shows that you are familiar with them and aware of their advantages.
Tip #7: Communicate your salary expectations as concretely as possible.
To be able to answer the question regarding your salary expectations adequately, you should prepare yourself. What exactly do we mean by this? Find out about the usual salaries in your industry and how high your salary should be with your professional experience. Also set yourself a personal salary floor below which you do not want to start the job.
Once you have thought about your desired salary range, prepare arguments to justify it. This could be your qualifications, special skills or work experience. Also ask yourself the following questions: What do you have to offer that the company really needs? What makes you special?
The more aware you are of your strengths, the more confidently you can present your arguments and convince the recruiter.
Self-confident appearance in the job interview
Your job interview is just around the corner and nervousness won’t let go? No problem – that’s perfectly normal. Realize that you have already taken the first step: The company found your application interesting and wants to get to know you. So there is no reason to be shy. If stage fright does go to your head, here are some simple tricks you can use to keep it at bay.
Tip #8: Watch your choice of words
The interview should not fail because of your communication. After all, a self-confident appearance also starts with the language. Therefore, try to speak slowly and clearly during the interview. Also, feel free to build in pauses and take a moment before answering a question. This will allow you to slow down and formulate better answers. Avoid words like maybe, somehow, possibly, and the subjunctive. These are words like would or would have. Here’s an example: instead of saying „I’d like a salary of €60,000,“ say „I imagine a salary of €60,000.“ This will make you seem much more confident right away.
Tip #9: Use your body language correctly
With our body language, we constantly send signals to those around us – which is why recruiters pay particular attention to this in job interviews. To appear confident, sit up straight – without tensing up. Turn to face the person and adopt an open posture. Open posture means, for example, that you should avoid crossing your arms or crossing your legs.
Tip #10: Keep eye contact and smile
In addition to gestures, you can also ensure a confident appearance with your facial expressions. Therefore, always try to maintain eye contact and look directly into the eyes. This signals to the recruiter that you are open, interested and motivated. At the same time, eye contact gives your answers the necessary persuasiveness and makes you appear confident. But be careful: You should not stare at the person across from you. People find eye contact that lasts too long unpleasant.
You should also not underestimate a smile. Especially at the beginning of your interview, you can use a smile to make the person feel happy about getting to know you. During the interview, a smile also makes you look more likeable and adds authenticity and warmth to your answers.
Bonus tip: Ask questions
Towards the end of the interview, you usually have the opportunity to ask questions yourself. You should definitely do this, because questions show interest and allow you to learn more about your potential employer. After all, the purpose of the interview is to get to know each other. You also need to find out for yourself whether you would feel comfortable in the company. So use the opportunity to learn more about the company, the job, the team or the challenges. For your inspiration, here are some questions you can ask:
How would you describe the company culture in 2-3 sentences?
How is success defined in this role?
What are the development opportunities for this role?
What are your expectations of me in the first 30, 60, and 90 days?
What do you think is the biggest challenge of this role right now?
Remember: It’s not about asking as many questions as possible, but about asking the right questions. Be aware of what information you need about the company to find out if the job really suits you.
During job interviews, your professional knowledge and your personality are tested. With our tips, you are well prepared for every phase of the application process and can confidently convince the company of your ability and personality.
If you would like to prepare even better for your job interview, your personal Talent Success Manager is always available to help you.
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