2024 | Reading time: 10 Minutes

How to shine in the job interview

The job interview is a big hurdle for many applicants. We'll show you how to impress your potential employer.

Job interview

If you are invited to a job interview, it means that you have already taken the first step. Now you have to stand out and confirm the interest of the recruiter. Therefore, it is helpful if you are familiar with all the relevant information on this topic.

What is the purpose of the interview?

The job interview serves to get to know the applicant personally. It aims to determine whether the company and the applicant are a good match and whether the applicant aligns with the contents of his or her job application.

What is the best way to prepare for an interview?

In addition to appropriate attire, you should research the company you're applying to in advance. Furthermore, there are some questions that are asked in nearly every job interview. Thus, you can prepare your answers in advance. Here are some examples of typical interview questions:

Since these questions are asked frequently, an awkward silence would be particularly unfortunate. It is therefore best to test your answers with another person, for example friends or family. If you are unsure about the salary, you can research in advance what the usual amount is in your sector and with your work experience.

Thorough preparation also includes planning how to get there so you arrive on time for your appointment.

If, on the other hand, special tests are to be taken, such as concentration tests, it is best to practice them in advance on the Internet. They are mainly used for longer appointments. So if you are invited to an interview lasting several hours, there is a good chance that such a test will be conducted.

What do I wear to the job interview?

Your dress for the job interview should be generally elegant and restrained. The company's homepage will give you an indication of what kind of clothing is suitable.

Simply orient yourself on the clothing style of the employees pictured there. Clean shoes and clean, wrinkle-free clothing are, however, obligatory.

Who conducts the job interview?

Typically, you will be facing one to three individuals during an interview. These can be representatives from the HR department, department managers, or direct supervisors. Occasionally, a future colleague may also be present in the discussion. However, the composition of the interview panel depends on the size of the company. In smaller businesses, the owner often conducts the interview alone.

How do I conduct a successful job interview?

The success of the job interview depends not only on your qualifications but also on the overall impression you make. Prepare well for your self-presentation, remain authentic and support your answers with examples. A narrative appears realistic only if it is not just a string of facts. Describe how you've used your skills in the past at the workplace, especially focusing on knowledge and abilities relevant to the desired position.

Be sure to keep it concise and avoid creating long, convoluted sentences driven by enthusiasm that your audience can't follow. Equally important is explaining why you want to work for this company and in this position. You should have the job advertisement in mind and be familiar with the company's website. Important details about the company, such as locations or international contacts, should also be known to you. However, what's more relevant is expressing why you are the ideal fit for the open position.

Do I have to take certain tests at the job interview?

Actually, the entire job interview is a test. In addition to the professional qualifications, the applicant's way of expressing himself/herself is put to the test. Foreign language or computer tests are the most common. In addition, intelligence tests, concentration tests or personality tests are occasionally used in the application process.

What are the tricks of the trade in job interviews?

It can happen that you are asked so-called stress questions during the job interview. An example would be "You haven't convinced us yet! Why exactly we should hire you?" These kinds of questions are meant to be a little unsettling and used to test the applicant's soft skills. The main point is to remain calm and to demonstrate communication skills and resilience.

Another strategy is to create a very open atmosphere in which the applicant forgets to pay attention to the big picture. This can lead to situations where, for example, the applicant responds with "Yes, please" when asked if they'd like to smoke a cigarette before leaving. Even if the overall situation feels informal, it's important not to reveal that you are a smoker in this context. This could quickly raise suspicions that you may require extra breaks.

Should you lie in a job interview?

Lying about qualifications does not benefit either side. Since a probationary period is usually part of the employment relationship, false statements are usually quickly exposed – or later lead to summary dismissal. However, minor untruths can occasionally be useful in a job interview.

If you have filled a gap in your CV with unemployment through voluntary work, please stick to this version in the job interview. This will not harm you or the company in the employment relationship. However, you should be able to present your gap credibly, meaning you should be able to answer questions about it if asked.

What should I ask in the job interview?

Asking your own questions during a job interview is essential. It demonstrates the applicant's interest. Therefore, in the last part of the interview, you are often directly asked about this. Questions related to the job, such as specific work processes, are particularly welcome. Asking about visiting the workplace or a trial workday is also a good idea. However, inquiring about additional benefits or reducing overtime may not be favorable.

How long do job interviews last?

The duration of a job interview can vary greatly. It can last up to an hour or be much shorter. However, the length does not always necessarily have anything to do with the quality of the conversation – if the interest is clear from both sides, a decision can be made in as little as twenty minutes.

What are the Dos and Don'ts in a job interview?

A professional overall image is a must. Along with well-thought-out answers, punctuality and appropriate attire are part of this. Show definite interest in the position and the company. Asking questions of your own, attentive listening, and maintaining eye contact also convey an engaged impression. If offered a beverage at the beginning of the interview, graciously accept.

Under no circumstances should you go into a job interview unprepared. Not having an answer to classic interview questions is an absolute no-go. Silence also would be a serious mistake. If necessary, mention that you are feeling very nervous and that's why you are at a loss for words. Additionally, interrupting your conversation partners is generally a bad impression.

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