A lot of times we get asked for tips on how to land a dream job, what kind of education we recommend, how we financed our life during school or what we currently do for a living. We’re soon going to cover all of these issues, but for now we want to start with a very important topic when it comes to applying for a new job – the interview! We did a lot of interviews and assessment centers until we finally landed our jobs in management positions, and what we learned from all of them and what you should also consider your top rule for the next job interview – be yourself at all times! Because if you pretend to be something else during the interview, it won’t do any good, neither for you nor for you future boss to be. So read our ideas and pointers for your next interview and maybe you’ll feel a little bit more prepared than before – although the nervousness is the one thing we can’t help you with. (And a bit of nervous excitement will also make you perform better, so don’t worry about the nerves too much.)
Like we already mentioned above, be yourself during the interview – it doesn’t make sense for your boss or for you if you’re acting different than you usually would. This doesn’t necessarily mean joking around or being rude in some way, but employers also look for people that fit into an existing team – a little bit of humour never hurt anybody and also shows that you are a laid back and easy to work with person. Just try to be the professional version of yourself – well behaved, eloquent and humorous but respectful and modest at the same time. Trust us, nothing is more annoying to an interviewer or HR person than having one stiff interview after another – make the most of their and of your time, and the chances you’ll stay in their heads is much higher!
Surely, you’ve heard this one a thousand times before, but it’s so true that we have to tell you again: do your homework! Research about the company AND the job you’re applying for. Investigate the job description and what kind of tasks you’ll get in your new occupation, so you can show that your skills and CV are a perfect match for the job and the company. Take some time to look at their social media channels, what are they communicating? What values are important to the company? Is it family owned? It’s just like going into an exam – the better you’re prepared, the calmer you’ll feel.
Professionalism shows in very different ways – it starts with good manners, using the right greeting gesture, have a firm handshake. It also means being dressed the right way, which highly depends on the field of job you’re applying for – do you want to work in a creative scene or fashion company? Then show your skills through your outfit, no need for a boring blue on blue combination. But always keep in mind – nothing too extravagant for a job interview. Are you applying for a job in a bank? Then stick to the save side and choose a classy business costume, it’s just what the milieu requires. Being professional also means bringing along all the necessary documents as originals – and when we say all, we mean all! Every course you participated in, every school certificate or recommendation letter can be helpful.
When you get asked about your strengths and weaknesses, don’t answer too fast, like you’ve memorized it (which of course you did). Try to answer like nobody ever asked you those questions before and always keep in mind to make your weaknesses seem like strengths. Some ideas are the following: Sometimes it’s really hard for me to relax until a work is fully done. Or: I sometimes am over-eager and expect the same from my surroundings, which can be a bit stressful for others. Or: I am a perfectionist. Therefore, I can’t let loose until a product looks exactly the way I want it to.
But be aware, those are common recommendations when it comes to weaknesses – so maybe your interview partner has heard them before. Try to make it a bit more personal by adding a little story why that is your weakness (ie. relate to how you were in school, or with your friends). Or simply be honest and tell them a real weakness of yours, but preferably one that won’t interfer with your future job. For example if you’re going to work in a job that won’t require any math, you can jokingly say “Well, my math grades were never the best!”
Sometimes, bosses like to ask what you’re expecting from the job. You can really be honest here – tell them what you want! Do you want to express yourself? Do you see it at the first step in your career ladder? Do you want to travel the world? It helps a lot to be clear with expectations, that way you can really work on reaching your goals.