How can I prepare for the interview?
You should always look forward to an invitation to an interview. Your documents made a good impression and now you have the chance to convince in an interview. In order for this to work, you should prepare the interview. It’s a difficult situation, you are under pressure and have high expectations – at the same time you should present yourself from your best side, appear confident and give the smartest possible answers. With the right preparation for the interview, exactly that can happen. Why preparation is so important and how to prepare for the interview.
Why is preparation-for-interview important?
If you are invited for an interview, you have already taken a big step towards an employment contract done. You have made it onto the shortlist from a large number of applications and must now prevail over the last competitors in a personal interview.
The big challenge, a professional and convincing job interview . Not an everyday situation for applicants, with a long permanent position the last job interview can be many years ago and career starters may not have any experience in personal conversations with a recruiter.
Preparing for the interview is all the more important in order to maximize your chances of getting the job. To put it in a nutshell, those who prepare well for an interview have significantly better cards and are very likely to outperform the less well-prepared competition. You benefit in several ways from your preparation for the interview:
You know what to expect
Job seekers are often unsure of what to expect from an interview. Such an interview is routine for HR professionals, but an exceptional situation with many question marks for applicants. When you prepare for the interview, you have a much better idea of what to expect – and you can approach the important appointment with a completely different feeling.
You appear more self-confident
Excitement and nervousness in the job interview are normal and not bad – as long as you still manage to appear confident. With good preparation you can do just that. You enter the conversation with a good feeling, can concentrate on your demeanor and impression and confidently put your own strengths and qualifications in the right light.
They give better answers
Perhaps the most important advantage, if you go to the interview well prepared, your answers will be significantly better and HR managers will be more likely to convince. This is exactly what usually decides whether you are offered the job or whether the acceptance goes to another candidate. Good preparation therefore has a direct impact on your job opportunities.
How can I prepare for the interview ?
The question remains. Which areas can be prepared for the interview? After all, every company is different and HR managers do not send a planned schedule for the upcoming meeting in advance. However, that does not mean that preparation is impossible.
Rather, you should concentrate on the known factors – and there are quite a number of them in every interview that can be prepared without any problems:
The most important information
Before you go into an interview, it is essential that you do a thorough research of the potential employer. You want to work there and should have a corresponding interest in the company. Take a look around the company homepage, make a note of the most important data and facts and find out about products, industries, locations and company size. It’s not just the bare numbers that are important – research what the company stands for, what corporate philosophy it represents externally.
The typical process
Every job interview is different? Actually yes, but the process is almost always the same. A classic job interview is divided into 5 phases:
- Small talk. The interview starts relaxed with a little small talk. A classic opening question after the greeting is, for example, did you find your way here? And you get into a first conversation.
- Get to know each other. In the second phase, you as the applicant are the focus and the HR manager would like to find out more about you. Often this part of the conversation begins with your self-presentation and the request of the HR manager. Tell us something about yourself. Think in advance which points on your résumé are of particular interest to the company. The structure should follow this pattern: I am – I can – I will. Practice your self-presentation and make sure that it does not last more than two or three minutes.
- Introduction. Every interview gives both parties space to get to know each other. In the third phase, you will therefore be introduced to the company and especially the vacant position in more detail. You will gain insights into tasks, responsibilities and their position in the company. The introductory phase can, however, also swap places and the two phases cannot always be slavishly separated from each other.
- Questions. An important part that you should definitely prepare are questions to the HR manager. At some point the question always comes up. Do you have any questions? And yes, you should always ask. Think about what interests you in advance and also be careful during the conversation so that you can ask questions. As you prepare for the interview, think of two or three good, relevant questions you can ask. But be careful: There are also stupid questions here, such as Will my future boss be nice? Or when can I take vacation at the earliest?
- Conclusion. At the end of the conversation there is a short goodbye with a handshake. Your interlocutor will probably explain to you that the selection process will still take some time and that you will be contacted soon. You can take this opportunity to investigate and find out more precisely when an answer can be expected at the earliest or whether there may be further selection processes.
The most frequently asked questions
The questions an HR manager will ask you can never be said 100 percent in advance – but there are some classics that are almost always asked and for which you should prepare accordingly. This includes questions like: Why should we hire you? What makes you different from other applicants? What’s your biggest weakness? Other frequently asked questions include What are your strengths? What are your goals in this job? There is never ONE right answer. But you should work through these questions for yourself and come up with good answers, then you will be less surprised or nervous later.
The application documents
Your application documents will primarily be sent to companies. However, you should also take this with you to the interview again – preferably in multiple versions. If not all participants in the conversation have your documents, you can distribute them again. In addition, you can put a copy on the table in front of you to take notes or, if appropriate, to point to and to clarify arguments.
The most important notes
Nobody expects you to be able to rattle everything off by heart – you should write down the researched information about the company, special features that you have noticed, so that you can refer to them if necessary – but as a keyword, never as a crutch to read. Part of your preparation for the job interview takes place in the job interview itself: Take notes during the introductory phase in which the company presents itself. Here you will usually find out interesting details that may not appear on the company website or are easily overlooked. This information can provide clues for further queries in the penultimate phase.
The right outfit
Find the right clothes for your interview early on. If the last interview was a while ago, the specially purchased items of clothing could be too big / too small or otherwise unsuitable. Be sure to coordinate your outfit with the company’s dress code! Appearing overdressed in a suit or suit at a social-educational position is just as unfavorable as going underdressed with jeans to a bank. Check in advance whether your clothes may need to be washed or cleaned. As a precaution, take a spare top, deodorant and make-up with you on hot days.
The exact location
With the invitation to the interview you will receive the address of the company as well as the exact place where you should be for the interview (you will often be picked up at the reception) as well as a route sketch or various means of transport as an option. Ideally, you should track the route in advance so that you can determine the exact time for your arrival. If the interview does not take place in your place of residence and you may be traveling by train, it can make sense either to arrive a day earlier or to allow a generous amount of time so that your punctuality is guaranteed. The following applies: Never be late, but also no more than 15 minutes earlier.
The right body language
A lot actually happens unconsciously through gestures of embarrassment. Still, it makes sense to consider body language when preparing for the interview. This includes things like facial expressions and gestures, but also eye contact and good body tension. You may think that being too relaxed, in which you lie more in the chair than sit, is more likely to be perceived negatively. But quirks such as crossed arms, avoiding eye contact, nervous playing with the hair or a ballpoint pen can have a negative effect. On the positive side, an open look, a friendly smile, arms on the back of a chair or folded hands in your lap are the basics. Before the interview, practice sitting positions, observe yourself in the mirror and ask friends and family what they find positive and negative about your appearance.
The internalized application
Some applicants underestimate their own résumé: The most important stages are known, but there has not really been a comparison between the advertised position and their own abilities. Or, this argument was only for the cover letter and was now weeks or months ago. In both cases you should have internalized the individual stages of your professional career well so that you can answer questions.
How can I prepare an interview in a foreign language?
Anyone who wants to work in a large international corporation should be prepared for the fact that part of the interview (or even all of the interview) will take place in a foreign language. The preparation for such an interview is basically the same as already mentioned. However, there are also the following aspects:
Translation of the application documents
If the parent company of your potential employer is located in another country, your documents must be translated into a foreign language. If we are talking about a native company, then usually a cover letter and a resume in a foreign language are enough. To be confident, ask at the beginning of the application process.
The information about the company in a foreign language
Most international companies offer the choice of different language options on their website anyway.
Technical vocabulary from the industry
The website of a foreign company is the beginning – you should definitely conduct further research in a foreign language and read the relevant specialized articles. In this way, you will naturally get the specialist dictionary you need. You should search for unfamiliar terms and make a list of the most important terms that you need for your work.
Read more about this here:
Which mistakes can I avoid during the preparation?
When you prepare for your interview, part of it is what you should better not do – in a sense faux pas in the job interview . These include the following:
You speak badly of others
Sometimes HR managers test the ability of their applicants to deal with conflicts by asking how the mood was at the old workplace, whether there were any disputes. Please do not chat confidently from the sewing box here, how happy you are to have lost your old job, how stupid your colleagues, the boss and everyone were!
You shoot yourself out of the way, nobody likes the idea of being a victim of gossip or even bad gossip. In the preparations, it is better to clarify what you have learned from the old position – and if it was just clarity about what you do NOT want. In any case, this will help you to raise the necessary gratitude during the interview.
You are constantly looking at the clock
If you feel uncomfortable or badly prepared, 30 minutes can drag on like chewing gum. However, you should avoid looking at the clock as much as possible. You are signaling to your counterpart that you are bored or longing for the end of the conversation – in any case it comes across as very impolite. You, on the other hand, want to be perceived as a friendly and interested candidate, so keep the attention level.
You talk about your personal life
This error is almost as inconvenient as the first point. Very few HR professionals are seriously interested in your private life. Unless he noticed something in common with you on your résumé. If you and the HR manager are both enthusiastic hobby golfers and he speaks to you directly about it, you can of course lose a sentence or two about it. Otherwise, you should not provide any information on your own, after all, you want to score points with professional skills and knowledge.