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Job search and application: How do I prepare for a job interview?

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The typical procedure

A job interview often follows a classic pattern. These phases are

• Smalltalk: The HR manager often decides within seconds whether he likes you. So make a good impression from the beginning.

• Making acquaintance: In this phase, you will be asked to say something about yourself and your career. Don’t repeat your CV. Instead, impress them with your qualifications.

• Presentation phase: Now the employer presents himself and explains a bit about the company. Listen attentively and ask any questions you may have about things you don’t understand.

• Questions from you: If you are asked whether you have any other questions, answer “Yes”. Prepare a few questions beforehand. You can find inspiration here.

• End: Before you leave the company at the end of your interview, find out when you can expect to hear from them.

Research, research, research

Find out a lot about the company prior to the job interview. Go into detail and research as much as possible. Depending on the job advertised, you should expand your research to a specialized field, for example check the company’s online presence if you’re applying for a position in social media or marketing. The more you know, the better. Also find out about the person who will be interviewing you on XING or LinkedIn. You might find out something about him that you can bring up in the interview.

Prepare how you present yourself

Think about how you want to present yourself and your qualifications. A rule of thumb is “I am, I can, I will.” Introduce yourself briefly, mention your qualifications and give an outlook of what you’d like to achieve. If you’re feeling insecure, make a few bullet points beforehand and write down the most important things. It is perfectly fine to take a pad of paper into the interview with you.

Train your body language

Without even knowing it, your body language speaks for you sometimes. With certain signals or gestures, you can express boredom or disinterest. We’ve put together a few secrets about body language here.  Find out beforehand the different meanings of different gestures and train yourself not to make gestures with a negative meaning.

Put your outfit together

Choosing the right outfit plays a major role. Be sure to wear neat and clean clothing. Depending on the sector, a specific outfit may even be important. For example, if you are applying at a bank, a man should wear a suit and a woman should wear a pantsuit or a trousers-blazer combo to the job interview. However, it is important that you feel comfortable in your outfit and thus can come off as authentic.

Explore the area

If you live near the company that invited you, explore the area in advance. Discover the best way to get there (by bike, car, bus or train). Look at the options for parking and plan in how long you’ll need to get there. If it doesn’t work out time-wise beforehand, then use Google Maps. Be sure to leave early enough so that you don’t arrive late.

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