Cool in Your Job Interview

There's a lot advice on the subject of job interviews. But we'll tell you how to really get through the interview calmly and coolly.

The positive aspect of an invitation to an interview is that you have overcome the first hurdle and can finally impress the recruiter in person. Your application documents have already opened the first door for you. This also means that the recruiter definitely sees potential in the person you are and you just have to prove that they are not wrong. That's why it's so important to be yourself - whether in your cover letter or in the interview itself. After all, recruiters invest a lot of time in the preparation and the interview and are eager to find out who exactly they have in front of them.

Point 1: Find out about the company

You can find detailed information about the company on the homepage of your employer of choice. Take a look at the business areas in which they operate and make a note of some important business figures. How many employees does the company have, which market do they operate in and how is it developing? What products do they manufacture? You can take a close look at what these products are and what buyers value about them. Can you say what the strengths of the products are? If you can say a few sentences about this in the interview, you will only score points.

If the company is strongly represented in the services sector, you can think about what unique selling points they have. What advantages do customers who use the company's services have? You can be sure of the astonished eyes of recruiters and employees from the specialist department if you can chat casually about the products or services.

You can also find interesting information in the business press and on industry portals of professional associations. You may find information about your interview partners. Research your interviewees on career networks such as LinkedIn and Xing. This will give you more interesting details about the people and your future job. Do you have anything in common with your interviewees? You may find statements about shared interests or that you attended the same university. These are good starting points to get the conversation going. You'll notice that your tension will ease immediately.

A glance at the legal notice on a company website will quickly tell you who the managing director or managing directors are. You should also find out about these people. This will give you an information advantage and show that you are really interested in your employer.

Point 2: Practicing your presentation - knowing questions and knowing the answers

The presentation about yourself usually begins after your counterpart asks: "Tell us something about yourself!" You can prepare well for this question and it's worth it. The employer definitely wants to know something about you. The recruiter doesn't want to hear a point-by-point list of your career. After all, they can see the stages of your career to date from your CV. On the other hand, they want to know what you experienced at school or university. Think about which experience can be described in a short success story. If you were able to gain your first professional experience, now is the right time for you to tell them about it. Also report on the skills you have acquired and which abilities make you stand out. Skills that you have already been able to apply in practice are particularly well received.

"Why are you applying for this particular position?"

So that you can answer well here, we will give you some ideas to help you with your answer. Make it clear what interests you about the company and the job. You can use the information you have gathered in your preparation. Do you know the company's goals that you can particularly identify with? What challenges does the industry face? Your interviewer will be able to tell from the quality of your answers how motivated you were during your research and how interested you are in the advertised position.

An important point when answering the question of why you are applying is to relate the new tasks to the tasks and activities that you have already carried out. You should make sure that you do not criticize your previous employer or your work there. You should not mention any negative experiences, as this quickly comes across as unprofessional.

Your self-presentation

You should practise speaking freely in the interview. This is where your family members and friends come into play. You can go through your self-presentation with them and receive initial feedback. Tell them about your professional experience and run through some answers to typical job interview questions. If you have any interruptions in your presentation, you can repeat it until everything runs smoothly.

Your weaknesses? Your strengths!

The famous question "What are your weaknesses?" is a real hurdle for many candidates. The right response to this question is to name one or two weaknesses that can be packaged well in a story with a positive outcome. In other words, admit a few weaknesses and come across as particularly authentic. Because if you only present yourself perfectly, you miss the opportunity to show yourself as a person with rough edges. Perhaps you have also learned over time how to deal with your weaknesses. The recruiter sitting opposite you will also have some weaknesses and it is always more important what you do with them.

The question "Why should we hire you, particularly?" is an invitation to tell us about your strengths. This is where you can go full throttle and explain why you are the most suitable candidate. Show what industry experience you have or how you work in a solution-oriented way. If you studied at a technical college or university just a few months ago, you have the latest specialist knowledge in your field. You may have much more up-to-date knowledge than some employees who have never been able to update their specialist knowledge in many years of work. You should also focus on special social skills, which always go down well with the company, as you will probably also need to be able to integrate well into an existing team.

Exciting trick questions

There are questions in a job interview that are designed to unsettle you and lure you out of your comfort zone. These are so-called trick questions. For example, there are trick questions about your social media use that are aimed at particularly critical publications. If possible, you should not answer these trick questions specifically. It is important to show aplomb here and answer spontaneously, honestly and briefly. The recruiter wants to get to know your personality. So help them with answers that you have prepared in outline form. As you cannot possibly prepare for all the trick questions, it is enough to know the answer to a few questions and to have understood the answer principle.

Another example of a trick question is: "What was your least favorite thing about your previous job?" This is designed to test how you deal with frustration. Can you put up with anger? Are you able to turn such situations to your advantage? So describe how you dealt with an annoying situation or an unpleasant task with confidence. You can also tell us how long it took you to calm down again.

Point 3: Practice moving

If you tense up because you are so nervous, you will come across as strange in conversation. A lack of eye contact or smile will also be viewed negatively. Personnel decision-makers may decide against an applicant whose body language already shows a negative attitude.

Again, the tip here is to practise with friends or family members. Ask your audience for their honest opinion on your body language. You can be careful not to tug nervously at your skirt, hair or tie. Your handshake can express activity and determination. It should be firm and not too soft. Once the conversation is underway, your nervousness will automatically subside. So enjoy the attention you are getting from the recruiters and make the most of it!

Point 4: Prepare questions for the company

You will usually be asked the following question during the interview: "Do you have any questions for us?" Now is the opportunity to show that you are really interested in the company. By asking the boss or HR manager questions, you also prove that you have given the company some thought. You may actually want to know something about the company, the job and your future colleagues. Now you can find out first-hand. You should limit yourself to two or three questions, as further questions would go beyond the time frame.

Can't think of any questions? We are happy to give you a few incentives: "How do you promote talents and strengths?" Larger companies in particular promote further training for their employees. They have special budgets for training courses and seminars that you just have to access. This question is very interesting because you are showing that you don't just want to earn money. You are showing that you are just as interested in your professional development.

"What is expected of me in the first 100 days?" This question is particularly exciting. Because you find out what is expected of you. And between the lines, you can hear where the shoe pinches in the company. You realize what challenges or even internal problems await you that nobody mentioned in the job advertisement. And many job starters only receive this information during the probationary period.

"What do you think a new employee needs to bring to the table if they want to be successful in this job?" This question also gives you information about the real challenges at this workplace and shows ambition at the same time.

You can include the question about salary in your questions to the company. If the future employer does not ask this question of their own accord. However, it is always possible that the salary question will only be discussed in the second interview. It is important for you to be able to state the correct salary level. You can find out your salary level in overviews of the usual salaries in your desired sector. The size of the company and the region in which you will be working are also important. Detailed research is the key to your success.

Point 5: The clothing

Will you be overdressed? Or are you dressed too casually? The scale of ratings you receive with your outfit ranges from an embarrassing appearance for you to an actual rejection because you don't fit in with the company at all. The first thing to do here is to get to know the company. Do they value a formal appearance with a suit or costume? Or are they looking for a casual outfit? If it is possible, do some research on site at the company building to see how the people there are dressed. If there are employee photos online, you can get an impression of the required outfit. If you are sure, you can find suitable items of clothing for your big day.

Your clothes have a big influence on how you feel about yourself. So if you have found your outfit and it is not part of your normal everyday outfit, then you should dress for a few hours the way you will be dressed for the interview. Move around with your outfit, especially in public, to feel the effect of your clothing on your surroundings.

Point 6: The route and the exact location

For example: Potsdamer Platz in Berlin Mitte is your destination address for your interview. Without thorough preparation, you may only find the entrance after a long search and be late for the interview. All your preparation will have been for nothing. So: Drive to the location a few days before the interview and find out exactly where the entrance is. You can also find out about the parking situation and the distance to public transport. You should not only be at the entrance on time, but also on time with your interviewer on the right floor. And a good quarter of an hour before time. If you have a long journey ahead of you, consider whether it would be more advisable to arrive the day before so that you are more relaxed on the day of the interview.

Be confident!

We have now covered many aspects of the job interview for you. Of course, depending on the industry, you will face other challenges that we unfortunately cannot go into in detail. Ultimately, it is particularly important that you remain true to yourself in the interview and radiate a certain aplomb. Self-confidence always comes across as competent and leaves a positive first impression on recruiters. So don't be afraid of the interview, because as we mentioned at the beginning of the article: you've already overcome the first hurdle and the recruiters are just waiting for you to confirm the positive first impression you've made on them.