Well done! Your written application – possibly complemented by the DreiKreis application-video – has been successful. You have been called for interview. Naturally, you want to build on your success and convince your future employer/client by highlighting all your personal and professional qualities. So, don’t leave it to chance!
In this five-part tutorial we help to prepare optimally, master your nerves and navigate difficult questions gracefully. DreiKreis co-founder and director, Katharina van Zeller, shares 10 years’ worth of experience and expertise in the field of IT-related recruitment consultancy.
Don’t leave success to chance!
Preparation is key
Your written application has worked. Even so, don’t slack off now. Thorough preparation helps you excel during the conversation and stand out of the crowd. van Zeller explains: ”Many promising candidates needlessly sell themselves under value. Usually when they haven’t prepared sufficiently.” This you can easily avoid. And the best is: preparation doesn’t have to be difficult. At DreiKreis we brief our candidates minutely, coach them if necessary and provide them with valuable information about their prospective employer.
It seems obvious, but can be stressed enough: knowing your CV back to front is paramount. Additionally, you should be able to list your qualifications and professional experience in a concise and structured manner. Surprisingly, explains van Zeller, many fail here. Candidates muddle the order in which projects have been completed and – this is especially important – are unable to highlight important tasks and filter out less relevant ones. And many applicants don’t answer questions satisfactorily.
She continues: “you should practice convincing the employer that your abilities and expertise are suitable, preferably clearly and easily understandable. Explaining why I am particularly suited for the job/role/project is immensely important.”
Here’s the good news: it is not difficult to prepare engaging answers. Imagine having to describe your professional experience. Are you able to do this without consulting notes? Why not ask a friend/family member to play the part of devil’s advocate. Can your answer fluently and without hesitation? If you start feeling nervous or notice that you stumble, take a bit more time for your preparation.
Take time for your prep!
Knowing your future employer
Be well informed about the company you are applying to. Besides general information, you should know as much as possible about the department/position/project as well as your contact person/persons. Read the company’s homepage attentively and research recent media coverage. If you know someone working there, ask them for details. Proactivity proves initiative and interest.
You should be prepared to explain, why you are the best choice for the position/project. “Often,” explains van Zeller, “candidates simply look for a well-paid job. We understand this.” But, so do employers. This is where you can impress if you have a good answer ready. Consider what your specific experience and your professional and personal strengths can bring to the table. This is also a good question to ask family and friends.
Our recruiting specialists at DreiKreis give you full support from the word go: in order to ascertain, which company or job/project is most suited to your talents as well as wishes, we ask a number of questions, both during a call and a personal meeting (as long as you live within travelling distance of our Vienna-based office).
Thorough knowledge of our clients enables us to match you only where there is high potential for mutual satisfaction. This way we help you avoid frustrating and time-consuming appointments. We further supply our candidates with comprehensive information about the interview. We frequently provide a presentation of the company as part of the interview prep.
We regularly know our customers including the heads of department and HR from a long-standing business relationships. Therefore, we know what to expect and brief our candidates accordingly. This and more information, for example on subjects the customer may find particularly important, we relate to our candidates.
A four-phase interview
In the IT-world, you can expect a job interview to last between 30 and 90 minutes. Most job interviews consist of four distinct phases, the order of which can vary.
Phase 1 begins with an introduction.
Useful to know: many interviewers forget to introduce themselves with name and position or mention it too briefly. In that case, don’t hesitate to ask. Knowing, who you talk to allows you to conduct the interview at eye level. And clarifying ambiguities in a friendly way shows initiative as well as self-confidence.
Next, the interviewer will usually present company, department, and position/project (phase 2). Applicants are regularly asked what they already know about the company, says van Zeller, and you can favourably impress if you have done your homework. Should you have questions yourself, keep them for the conclusion phase. This is the right time and place to ask them.
Phase 3 of the interview is the most interesting – both for the interviewer and for the candidate. You will be asked to introduce yourself. van Zeller explains: we recommend asking the interviewer, they prefer: a chronological presentation of your professional experience or highlights of particularly relevant stations/projects. “We know that many companies prefer the latter, especially with very experienced applicants.” Be prepared to discuss your CV in detail. Tricky HR-questions, which most candidates have to answer, we will cover in part 5 of the tutorial, as well as specific technical questions or aptitude tests.
Important: know your CV!
In the conclusion phase (phase 4), you will usually consider typical job-related questions, such as renumeration, entry date, notice period, questions regarding holidays, the possibility to do home office et cetera. Here, you will have the chance to ask everything that hasn’t been answered yet. Knowing what you aim at and inquiring after the relevant information is helpful to you, but also shows self-confidence. We therefore advise you to give these matters some thought.
Tip: always have an interesting question ready. This way you can underline how keen you are on the job. A good topic is the chance to learn and grow with your future employer.
Lastly, the interviewer will tell you when to expect feedback, whether there will be a second interview and what the next steps are. We suggest sending an email, thanking your interview partner for the time and consideration, thus signaling continued interest.
Read in part 2 of our tutorial, which hard and soft skills could matter. And find out where your appearance will earn or lose you credit.