You have submitted the application documents to the company and now you have to wait. Ideally, you will receive positive feedback and an invitation for an interview. You are happy, but your joy can quickly turn into nervousness.
Blind date with a recruiter
What do I reveal about myself? How do I present myself as well as possible and as suitable for the position? How do I avoid appearing insecure?
As a recruiter, acquaintances often ask me for tips for the job interview, and even with many applicants I notice again and again how nervousness creeps through. It doesn’t have to be that way and with a few simple tips you can make the interview easier for yourself.
In general, the job interview can be compared to a “first date”. If you are looking for a long-term partnership, you should not pretend too much. Sooner or later this will come back to haunt you. But you also don’t have to blurt out your whole life story straight away. Basically speaking, honesty is the best policy.
And just like on a date, the first impression counts in a job interview. Especially when it comes to clothing, opinions are actually divided into two camps. My colleague Franzi has written an exciting article about this. She belongs to the group of people who regard clothing as a secondary matter. Personally, I see myself more as part of the other group, and I attach great importance to the fact that my counterpart dresses decently and elegantly. For me, this is simply part of a job interview and I always think: “Rather a bit overdressed than underdressed.” But there is no right or wrong here. You should generally think about where you applied. Because the dress code in a startup is certainly different than in a company. In any case, dress in a way that makes you feel comfortable.
Just as important is eye contact. In times of Corona, the handshake is no longer necessary. If it ever comes back, you should find a good balance here – meaning that the person opposite doesn’t want to shake a limp hand, nor does he/she want crushed fingers. But a friendly smile should always be included, both as a greeting and during the conversation.
Frequently asked questions in job interviews
In general, I advise all applicants to take a thorough look at the company and the job description before the interview and to prepare themselves accordingly.
- What does the company do (key facts)?
- How could my future work look like?
- What do I bring with me and what do I perhaps still have to learn?
- Why do I want to join this company / take this position?
These questions are asked so frequently that you do yourself a favor when you prepare for them.
Preparation in general takes away a lot of nervousness. You should also be able to present your career smoothly and be prepared for possible questions. Of course, it should not be talked down like a memorized presentation at school – but practice makes perfect.
If it is known in advance who the conversation partners are, it does not hurt to have a look at Xing or LinkedIn to see if you can find one or the other there. With a picture of the person in front of you, you can mentally adjust to the conversation better.
Lack of knowledge – and now?
If you don’t know something, you can and should admit it. Applicants sometimes have the feeling that they are virtually being pestered. The rule here is: don’t be put off, answer everything to the best of your knowledge and if you don’t know, just admit it.
This is often the better solution than panicking and making something up.
Here is a little tip:
It is ok not to know everything. But you shouldn’t justify yourself, that usually seems unpleasant and more like an excuse. Instead , admit openly that you still have room for improvement and signal your willingness to do so.
How to show interest in a job interview
Another tip from me: Prepare questions.
At the end of a job interview, applicants are actually always asked what questions they have. You shouldn’t just ask them about their salary or vacation days.
The questions you ask at the end show how much you have thought about the position and the company. Personally, I am always happy when applicants have questions in writing on a notepad. This signals to me as a recruiter: Someone has thought about it in advance. Another advantage is that you can take notes during the interview and if you think of a question that you don’t want to throw in between, you’ll have it ready later. If all questions have already been answered during the conversation, the notes show that you have prepared yourself very well.
Once all open questions have been clarified, all that remains is to say goodbye. Feel free to ask when you can expect a response. This also signals a serious interest in the position to the other person. Of course, it is not a requirement to thank your interviewer at the end of the interview. But it will be remembered positively and in the end the personal impression often tips the scales.
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