How to prepare properly for your next job interview
An invitation to a job interview is always great news. But no matter how happy you are, there are of course a lot of do’s and don’ts. What will I be asked at the interview? What is expected of me? And above all, how do I prepare properly? The job interview is the biggest challenge for many applicants, because it is the last hurdle before the dream job. There is (usually) no second chance, you have to be convincing within a single appointment. There’s only one thing that helps: good preparation! How do you do that? We’ll tell you now…
– And with the help of our checklist (at the end of this article), nothing can go wrong.
Find out about the company
If you know exactly what your employer of choice needs, it will be much easier to convince them of your merits. To do this, you should now continue the research that you have already started for your resume. Find out more about the company’s philosophy in order to understand and internalize its core values. This will enable you to explain in the job interview what it is about the company that particularly appeals to you. It is also important to gather information about the interview participants in advance. For example, by confirming the date of the interview, you can ask who will be attending. You can then search for the names and profiles on Linkedin. On the one hand, this helps to find commonalities, which offer first-class conversation starters for small talk, and on the other hand, you already know what your counterpart looks like. This helps to create a more familiar atmosphere and thus reduce nervousness.
Practice your self-presentation
In (almost) every job interview, your interviewer will ask you to tell something about yourself. The point here is to introduce yourself briefly and succinctly. You can score points here by NOT simply rattling off your CV, but by creating a convincing reference to the company and the position. For example, think about three experiences from your life (job, hobby, etc.) that emphasize that you fit the job and why. Another proven formula for building up your self-presentation is: “I am – I can – I want”. Here you briefly go into your experience and education, then list your most important strengths and why they add value to the company. To practice, you can prepare a few concrete sentences and time them. However, you should not learn the self-presentation by heart, the preparation only helps you to sort out your thoughts and to familiarize yourself with the interview situation in advance. Ideally, you should be able to present yourself freely and authentically.
Think about questions
Asking questions does not cost nothing and shows that you are seriously interested in the company. In addition, you prove again your thorough preparation and you have the opportunity to learn more about the company. This is the only way to find out whether the position really matches your expectations and whether the company is a good fit for you. Possible questions could be:
- How would you describe your company culture?
- How is performance measured and evaluated at your company?
- How are talents and strengths fostered at your company?
Train your body language
In order to avoid unconsciously sending out the wrong, negative signals (e.g. boredom or disinterest), it makes sense to check your own body language in preparation for the interview – either in the mirror or on video – and to optimize it. Body language, i.e. gestures, facial expressions and posture, decisively shapes the first impression – but also the lasting impression during the interview. Eye contact, an upright posture, body tension and slow movements paired with a calm voice are important. All this radiates self-confidence and shows that you are sure you are the right person for the job.
Practice, practice, practice
Usually a lot of time passes between the acceptance of the interview and the actual appointment. Therefore, you should regularly inform yourself about the developments in your industry. For example, try to block out 10 minutes in the morning to Google the latest developments at the company or in the industry. Not really interested? Then you should rethink whether the job really suits you. Also, practice interview questions over and over again and do “practice runs” for the interview. Possible questions your interviewer might ask:
- What are your goals for this job?
- What do you know about our industry?
- What salary do you have in mind?
- What are your strengths?
- What have you implemented so far and how?
- What was your biggest mistake – and what did you learn from it?
Extra tip for the developers among you
Prepare a small project that you could present in the interview. For example, on the GitHub platform. Here you can create software projects and present them afterwards. This way you have the opportunity to convince the company directly of your skills and to show what you can do.
Do you have further questions on this topic, or are you thinking about a job change within the IT industry? Then get in touch with us. We will be happy to advise you and connect you with the companies that really suit you!