Job Application Guide

CV and Research

CV - Asking and answering questions

It is very important that you know exactly what is in your resume. Identify your personal strengths and weaknesses and make sure that you are able to give an explanation about changes in your work and career. Be honest and well-prepared to explain why you have taken certain decisions.

Have a copy of your resume at hand, along with diplomas and references. It is always a good idea to have a passport photo with you, that way the interviewer will have a better personal impression of you to link with the data.

Though it may sound obvious: be prepared for predictable questions, how do you see yourself as an employee, what have you achieved so far, what are your goals or ambitions? Practice your answers in a recreated conversation, so you know exactly what to say. Below are some examples.

Questions likely to be asked

  • Describe your current job and your responsibilities in this role?
  • How do your skills and experience match this job?
  • What types of technology and projects are used in your experience?
  • What have you achieved in your present job?
  • Why do you want to change jobs?
  • Why are you interested in this job?
  • Why do you want to work for this organization?
  • Are you a team player?
  • What are your career goals for the next two to three years?
  • Where do you see yourself in five to ten years?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • What are your hobbies?

Research

Make sure you know what the job entails - request a job description and extra information. Go to the interview armed with some knowledge of the company. This shows interest and initiative, and it gives you a chance to ask questions during the interview. Asking questions radiates self-confidence and is shows the interviewer that you have good communication skills. These communication skills are a requirement for many jobs. Examples of questions you can ask in a job interview:

  • What are the primary responsibilities within the job?
  • To whom do I report?
  • Is it possible to take courses?
  • How are the career opportunities?
  • How many other people will be on my project / work in my department?
  • Why is the job vacant?
  • What's the company culture like?
  • What are the future plans of the organization?

On the way to the interview

If you don’t know how long it takes to reach the company, it’s good to check the route a few days before the interview. It is best to do this is at the hour that the interview will take place. That way you experience if there is heavy traffic or another delay on the route. If you go by car, please take notice of the extra time you’ll need to find a parking space.

Research on the internet

Use Google to find the latest company information.

Take a look at the website of the company and the sites of their competitors. These sites give you information about the companies’ activities and can help you to get input for your questions during the interview.

Presentation

  • Dress to Impress

Dress in the style of the industry or company. This may mean that you have to call the company in advance to ask for a dress code. For a job interview it is usually better to dress formal. Personal care is an essential part of your presentation and reinforces a professional attitude. It is helpful to know that half of all employers decide if they will employ a candidate in the first 30 seconds of the interview. And this impression of the company is based on your appearance. Limit accessories to a minimum. It is not wise to wear a lot of jewelry or carry multiple bags with you. It’s better to look neat and organized.

  • Body Language

Give a firm handshake and smile. The first greeting has to be significant impression. Wait to be seated until the other asks you to. Sit calmly and keep your hands still. You want to keep the attention of your partner without distracting him/her from what you are saying, so try not to slide back and forth on your chair or use your hands aggressively while you’re talking.

  • Maintain Eye Contact

If there is more than one interviewer, look at the one who is talking. That way you’ll make an open and honest impression.

  • Accuracy

Be early. Make sure you’ll be available 10-15 minutes before the interview is planned. This gives you time to freshen your mind and to prepare yourself for the interview. It also gives you the opportunity to meet and observe the staff of the company. This will give you a valuable impression of the company’s daily affairs.

The Interview

  • Competences

Identify your achievements and strengths and know how to present them. Focus on the impression you want to leave behind. Try to convince the employer that you are uniquely qualified to contribute to the goals of the organization, for now and in the future.

  • Knowledge

Know why you want to have the job and why you are the right candidate for this job. This will give you a feeling of confidence that the interviewer will also perceive.

  • Attitude

Be enthusiastic and positive and don’t forget to stay polite during the job interview.

  • Self-control

Listen carefully to each question. Do not be afraid of silences during the interview. Take time to think about your answers. In that way you can give concise and thoughtful response to your partner.

  • Content of the interview

Speak clearly and not too fast. If you don’t understand a question, do not try to answer but ask for clarification. Talk openly and enthusiastically about what you have achieved, but do not exaggerate. Make clear that you know what you are talking about. Make sure that your answers relate to the questions. Avoid artificial or restless behavior. Try to be yourself. Show enthusiasm and sincerity, but make sure you don’t come across too serious.

Phases of the interview

It’s difficult to predict the content of a job interview. Below we show you a list of steps that can be passed during this kind of meetings.

  • Phase 1: The Opening Questions

The first questions are a kind of "warming up" for further discussion. By asking these questions the interviewer gets a first impression of the candidate’s personality. This impression is generally based on your voice, your behavior and appearance.

  • Phase 2: The structure of the interview

Before the interview the interviewer mostly tells you something about the structure of the conversation. This contains the points that are discussed and their sequence will be reviewed.

  • Phase 3: Information about the organization

Usually the interviewer tells something about the organization and business strategy. It’s important that you’ll ask questions when the information isn’t clear for you.

  • Phase 4: Information on the role and current situation

A clear picture of the job will be given, the department and the situation as it currently is. It is important to ask questions if certain aspects are unclear.

  • Phase 5: Information about the applicant

In this phase, you won’t only be asked for information about your education and work history, but also about your performance and motivation. This is the main component of the entire interview and takes about 50% of the time.

  • Phase 6: Discussing the conditions of employment

During a first interview not much attention will be paid to conditions of employment. Mostly the company only explains benefits concerning the working hours, a temporary or permanent contract and special conditions (such as CAO).

  • Phase 7: Are you still interested?

In this phase, your interest in the organization and function will be discussed. Important at this stage is your motivation.

  • Phase 8: Further procedures and agreements

Now will determined whether a second interview will take place and if there will be any tests. In this phase also the date of employment and the way feedback shall be given on the interview will be discussed.
The questions you may ask refer to the interview and will vary depending on the circumstances. Here are some possible questions to ask:

  • What courses are there for graduates in your company?
  • What would be a typical career pattern for anyone who takes this position?
  • What do you (the interviewer) like about working for this company?
  • Is it possible to change the tasks in the job?
  • How often am I expected to change tasks or location?
  • Are there opportunities to work abroad?
  • When do I hear the outcome of this conversation?

Other applicants

As an applicant you are competing with other candidates. You compete not only on education, experience and skills, but also on personality. Usually companies look for someone who fits in the team, or for a new employee with properties that are not present in the organization or team yet. Research has shown that companies should value: flexibility, creativity, communication skills, independence, intelligence, stability, conscientiousness and openness to new experiences.

Closing of the interview

At the end of the conversation there is always a possibility to ask the other party questions. Take this opportunity and let them know you are well-prepared about what is going on in the company’s business. You can also ask for clarification. You must be sure that you also want to connect with the company. Do not be afraid to ask information about the next step of the procedure. Well-formulated questions are not pushy and give you useful information about the further procedure. Examples of these kinds of questions are::

  • How many candidates are there for this job?
  • When are the last interviews planned?

The level of salary and other benefits are usually topics for a next interview. At the end of the interview it’s polite to thank the interviewer for the time this person has reserved for you.

Further Procedure

If you had a good interview, you’ll have positive expectations of the company’s feedback. Please notice that you’ll only have contact about the procedure with the search and selection agency and that you won’t approach the company directly.

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