The cover letter and the corresponding curriculum vitae are two extremely important elements in the application process. However, they only form the prelude to what you really want: a personal interview.
Below we look at this phenomenon in greater detail on the basis of an example of a job interview. How do you prepare yourself for this often exciting encounter, and what can you expect during the interview itself?
The job interview
In principle, being invited for a job interview is already great news. It means that your letter and the accompanying CV did exactly what they were supposed to do: they were of a high enough quality to get you called in for a personal introduction. But after the approval of these documents it´s time for the next step: preparing for a job interview.
Preparing for such an interview is always quite difficult. Naturally you never know in advance what´s going to be asked of you, so preparation is always helpful. Moreover, there are a number of elements that you can consider before starting the interview:
- The first impression
- The look
- The use of your voice
- Your posture
The first impression
A first impression is possibly the most important part of the whole interview. You can never do it over. Always keep this in mind and make sure that you look relaxed - even if you´re actually nervous inside. Remember to look people in the eye when you shake their hand.
Not all application procedures require you to have a three-piece suit, but it is often appreciated when you take particular care in choosing your clothing and hair style.
The use of your voice
Voice use and intonation are very important. While it is never good to speak very softly, straining your voice by speaking too loudly won´t help things, either. So strike a good balance.
Posture says a lot about a person, and that is perhaps especially true during a job interview. Be sure to sit upright; don´t slouch indifferently in the chair. And lose any chewing gum long before you walk in the door.
Example of a job interview
Once the interview begins, it’s often a matter of steering it in the direction of the most natural communication possible. The employer can ask various questions that can be subdivided into a number of categories:
- General questions
- Questions about the way you work
- Questions about earlier activities
- Questions about you as a person
- Professionally-oriented questions
Examples of general job interview questions
General questions often concern basic characteristics, such as strengths and weaknesses, working in a group and your previous employers.
Questions about the way you work
Such questions deal with your own characteristics and skills. What are you good at, where do your weaknesses lie and in what areas do you see opportunities and improvements?
Questions about earlier activities
These questions concern earlier successes and setbacks during other activities. Always be honest here, and make sure that you give the interviewer a clear, substantiated answer.
Questions about you as a person
It can happen that you are asked questions which at first sight have little to do with work. These kinds of questions are intended to find out what you’re like as a person.
Some questions are designed to test your professional knowledge. Think about this in advance as well!