Master your job interview with sovereignty and authenticity
It’s only been a while since my last job interview, and I can still remember how chaotic it started. The night was short, it was already in the morning about 28 ° C hot and I stood, with closed windows and a non-functioning ventilation, squeezed between loud students in the bus. I was just praying at this point to be able to escape the situation. On the way to the interview, of course, I buckle on the cobblestones and meet the representative of the staff council, who then takes me to the interview in person. As a job application coach, my nerves had been strained by then, but a confident demeanor and a friendly smile are among my most important standard repertoires, so I enter the room with confidence.
Do you know the situation described above and have always wanted to know if there are any tips and tricks you can use to successfully master a job interview and leave with a good feeling? Today I’m sharing my 8 recipes for success for a successful job interview, even if the starting conditions aren’t the best to begin with:
1. get information before the interview
You’ll find this tip on pretty much every job application platform. Those who do not inform themselves about the company or institution and do not know their contact persons have already lost before the interview. However, your knowledge spectrum must go beyond this information. Read through the job posting again (print it out beforehand, otherwise it may no longer be found on the Internet) and memorize the data from your resume and cover letter very carefully. Of course, you should not throw around facts and figures; after all, the company already knows them. So look for specific interfaces to your own subject areas and shine by pointing out parallels and similarities. The identification of your person with the tasks and the corporate culture should be visible here.
2. do not forget the conversation training
Practice your talk the night before. No one can do without practice. I like to practice by myself. In dialogue with myself, I sound out my “weaknesses”, because I know them best and transform them into strengths. I’m usually harder on myself than the people I talk to the next day, but that’s the only way I’m prepared for all eventualities. I specifically practice formulations, think about suitable answers to critical questions and skillfully weave my strengths into the required job profile.
3. keep your composure
One of the most important tips is to radiate calm and serenity. A job interview is not an interrogation, but a dialogue. My starting position was not the best. I was stressed, it was very hot, the shoes were pressing and I was desperately looking for the building. However, once the moment of truth arrives, you flip the switch and forget everything that stressed you out before. Now it’s all about everything. I usually take another deep breath, focus on the task ahead, and am always glad that small talk is chosen by most employers as a gentle introduction. Always remember to nod slightly when your counterpart is explaining something to him/her to signal that you are following him/her attentively.
4. remain sovereign and authentic
My next tip follows on from the previous one, but goes a step further. Don’t pretend to be someone else and make sure you have a confident posture, as this will give you a certain charisma. I like to wear high heels for my interviews because I want to be at eye level with my interviewers. Of course, however, I always carry spare shoes and always put on my jacket before entering the building (in case the temperatures are too hot). In cooperation with bonprix, I have written an article about this, where you are offered at the same time the opportunity not only to read my personal recommendations, but also to purchase them immediately.
5. be honest and smile
Her most important weapon is her smile. Be careful not to grin inanely or display an embarrassed/desperate smile, but remain authentic here as well. Honesty is an important component that you should not disregard. This is not about repeatedly mentioning how nervous they are. If an area of expertise is mentioned in which you are not familiar, state this openly. Mention that while you see interfaces, you see this specialty as a personal challenge that you want to grow with and will gladly accept. No one expects you to have any deficiencies in your resume or qualifications. The important thing here is to be honest and point out that “learning on the job” is something you will take for granted for the rest of your life.
6. the magic glass of water
If you are offered a drink, be sure to accept the offer! A critical question can always throw you for a moment. At this, feel free to briefly say “Excuse me, I need to have a quick drink” or something similar and while sipping your glass, think of an appropriate response. Of course, you can’t use this trick several times in a row, and you don’t always need to announce it, but it’s a good way to give yourself time to think.
7. the interview is for asking questions
My favorite question is the one you’re always asked toward the end of the interview, and that’s “Do you have any more questions for us?” Yes, and more than enough. Right at the beginning of the conversation, I take out my DINA5 notebook, in which I wrote down my most important questions the night before (see point 1). Can’t think of any good questions? Feel free to check out relevant sites, such as Karrierebibel.de. Here you can find a good selection of questions that you can customize. Make sure that the questions match the corresponding conditions. For example, the question of remuneration is completely superfluous if a tariff applies and you can look it up yourself using the tariff calculator, for example.
8. the firm handshake
I have already described this tip to you in my article on targeted networking. A firm handshake is evidence of a strong personality. Don’t be afraid to “crush” your counterpart’s hand, because we usually perceive the handshake as stronger than our conversation partner. Do not forget to look your counterpart in the eye while shaking his hand. Of course, this happens not only during the farewell, but also during the presentation. The rule of thumb here is: shake hands – maintain eye contact – say first and last names.
I hope I was able to give you some of my tips for your next job interview? What are your recipes for success?
About the author
Kinga Bartczak berät, coacht und schreibt zu Female Empowerment, neuer Arbeitskultur, Organisationsentwicklung systemischen Coaching, und Personal Branding.
Zudem ist sie Geschäftsführerin der UnternehmerRebellen GmbH und Herausgeberin des FemalExperts Magazins.