How should I prepare for interviews?

Job interview: preparation is everything!


Have you been invited to an interview? Congratulations! Then you've already passed the first hurdle. In order for the path to the new job to be a successful one, you should now also take the time to optimally prepare for the interview. Our tips will help you make a good impression at the interview and show the company how serious you actually are with the application.

Preparing for the interview: the four levels

Because no matter how much or little time you still have on the agreed date, the following applies when preparing: more is more. If you want to confirm the good impression that you have obviously left with your CV and cover letter, you should prepare on four levels:

  1. Self-presentation
  2. Corporate knowledge
  3. Your own questions and ideas
  4. Organizational matters

Level 1: The self-presentation

It is already in your resume that what makes you particularly suitable for the job must now be explained convincingly in an interview. Ask yourself questions like: What can I? What I want? Why am I so well suited for this job? It helps to rehearse several self-presentations. Mostly the previous career, training, professional goals and motivations as well as interests, strengths and weaknesses are discussed. It helps to practice the presentations in front of the mirror, and talking to people you know from family or friends can also help in presenting your own strengths. It is always good to prepare yourself for unpleasant questions - for example about gaps in your résumé or your own weaknesses. You should also be prepared for the question of the desired salary and the possible starting date.

If you are currently in an application process or are about to look for a new job, always think about your own self-presentation on the Internet! Party photos on Facebook or gossip about old or current employers never go down well. And even if the recruiter doesn't google you (they will), your potential new colleagues will certainly do it. One final tip for self-presentation is: Be authentic. That is the most honest and makes you likeable - because no person is perfect, can do everything or knows everything. However, pay attention to positive formulations, for example by not saying “I can't do that” but rather “I can't do that yet”. Or "I'll be happy to learn that."

Level 2: Knowledge of the company

Knowledge is power in the interview. Therefore, you should collect enough information about the company to avoid making mistakes during the job interview. Again, remember: those who are well prepared show serious interest. And even if you are not asked about the company guidelines, the branches or the number of employees during the interview, knowledge of the desired company, cleverly threaded into the conversation, can bring many plus points.

Level 3: Your own questions and ideas

One question that comes up in every job interview and (hopefully) subsequent job interview is whether you have any questions yourself. You should also use this opportunity: On the one hand, to express interest and, on the other hand, to formulate open questions - which you will actually have. The more responsible the position you are applying for, the more comprehensive you should inform yourself about the company or your future job. This of course also includes your own salary expectations. In any case, it is advisable to deal with the current salary or the desired salary and to have realistic assessments of the possible salary range.

Level 4: The stress-free day X

Once all the preparations have been made and the documents are ready for the interview, all that remains is the planning for the most stress-free process possible on day X. This includes: choosing the right outfit, if necessary a visit to the hairdresser a few days in advance and planning your journey. If necessary, a ticket for the outward journey or a hotel must be booked. For interviews in the hometown or region, it can also be useful to see the route before the appointment. This avoids unnecessary waiting times or stress because you have calculated the time incorrectly or cannot find the address immediately. A small “emergency kit” consisting of water and a small snack can also help. Pad and pen for jotting down questions provide security and underline the careful preparation.

Preparation: research tips

“If you don't know anything, you have to believe everything,” is a famous quote from Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach. This can also be applied to an application situation. If you go to the job interview unprepared, with little knowledge and no expectations, you lose many opportunities. But where do you get the knowledge from? Some research sources at a glance:

Company website, career page, information material, press section, career fairAll the figures, data and facts that the company is happy to disclose can be found here. Anyone who knows this has not yet caught a glimpse behind the scenes of the employer, but has the "official" knowledge of what should be seen as a basic requirement. Every applicant should know sales, number of employees, locations, the names of the board members and current developments, but also the most important competitors.
Online archives from media, industry insidersNot only news from the industry and from competitors of the potential employer can be researched using these sources. Here you can also find information that no company likes to ring the bell - failures, bad balance sheets, downsizing or problems with employee representation.
Employees, former employees, friends, employer profiles, review portalsIt is not only the requirement profile of the advertised job that is interesting. For many employees, it is becoming increasingly important to take a look behind the scenes in order to be able to answer the question “Do I want to work here at all?”. The most credible information about the working atmosphere, team structure and superiors behavior can be obtained from people who need to know: the employees.
Call HR department, (ex) employeeEverything organizational that cannot be clearly researched online can be clarified without a guilty conscience by calling the company: How far is the next public transport stop actually away? Which dress code should I adhere to during the interview? Who will the interview take place with?

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