Preparation for a job interview

For most positions, one of the most important parts of the selection process is the personal meeting. The interview is an excellent opportunity for candidates to convince their prospective employers of their personal qualities, and for interviewers to discover the real strengths and weaknesses of candidates.

Preparation for a job interview

Preparation

You can and you should be prepared for a job interview. Think again about your vision for the future and why you are suitable for the position. Reading through your application (CV, cover letter, reference letter) or even practicing with friends and acquaintances beforehand can help you.

Find out more about the company, look at its website, check out its products and services, memorize the company slogan! The more information you gather, the more you increase your confidence, the more they see that you are interested in the position and motivated to get it.

Types of interviews

There are several types of interviews, depending on the nature of the employer organization and the nature of the position, which one you will meet.

Smaller organizations (smaller businesses, schools) usually decide on the selection of a prospective employee after fewer face-to-face meetings, because candidates often meet the manager the first time.

For larger organizations, such as multinational companies, larger public organizations, you can expect a more complex, more suitable selection process. Selection processes tend to be much more standardized, usually carried out by professional HR people.

Don't be surprised if more than one person attends the same interview at the same time, as there are also group selection forms.

Some common types of interviews

Pre-commission interview (panel interview), you may meet with a multi-member committee, which aims to make less biased, more objective decisions.

The small group interview type is mainly used in cases where the potential employee has to work closely with several internal colleagues or clients.

Professional interviews are typically used in jobs where there is a strong emphasis on knowledge and methods learned at university or other training(s) (e.g., research and development, design). The professional interview focuses on the candidate's professional background, experience, and knowledge.
Before a professional interview, be sure to prepare yourself with the specific tasks and the relevant professional knowledge for the given position.

The criteria-based interview is concerned purely with exploring the personal competencies expected of the ideal employee, which are already identified during the job description preparation process.

A stress interview is a test of your resilience, with questions that are unexpected, unusual, personal, or sometimes asked in a harsher tone. The stress interview is designed to find out how you handle unexpected or embarrassing situations, and how you perform under pressure. It is more common in situations where the prospective colleague may expect unexpected situations (e.g., customer services). This type of interview used to be more popular but is now much less used.

Take part in the interview! Participate!

Interviews start with an introduction, usually answering questions or summarizing your CV. You may be asked questions about any information you give in your CV, so always keep in mind what you have written and why.

You may also be asked about your knowledge of the employer's activities, and you also have the opportunity to find out more details about the position.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions! It is not expected (nor is it possible) to understand all the details of a position from a brief description. Before the interview, think about what you know about the position and what they haven’t written about, but is important to you. Be an active partner in the conversation, try to think together.

This will both improve your mood and create a positive experience in the interviewers' minds and show the interviewers that you are interested enough in the position to imagine yourself in it, and you also have questions about it.

Interviewers may ask you about your future plans, strengths, achievements, successes. You can also expect surprising and strange questions when relevant and appropriate. In that case, there are a variety of appropriate responses, but the key is not to be intimidated and to remain confident and authentic.

The first impression

First impressions are always very important, so try to plan this moment well. It is important to wear appropriate clothing, but make sure your clothes are comfortable.

You communicate with your appearance from the moment you appear before you say anything. Often, even when you speak, it's not what you say, but how you say it.

The goal is not to make the interview stressfree for you, but to make sure that you are not caught unprepared. Before the interview, if necessary, take a few minutes to relax, think about the situation, take a deep breath!

Calmness, a smile suggests confidence, positive self-esteem. If you act naturally and confidently in this situation, you are likely to perform better.

Payment reconciliation

Towards the end of the interview process, positions on salary are discussed if the job is created by employment rather than promotion (in the latter case, a salary scale will provide information on salary levels).

Potential employers always have an idea of how much they want to give their employees, but it's important to be prepared to answer the question. Before the interview, find out what the salary is for the position and consider what is realistic and what you would take the job for.

The size and composition of the income earned vary, depending on the regional labor market situation, education/qualifications and the nature of the employer (public sector/non-profit sector/ competitive sector).

Be clear about the tasks, working conditions and level of responsibility of the position you are applying for, as the salary is based on the duties you will be doing. When making your decision, you should also consider the nature and level of fringe benefits, as this may also influence whether you accept a salary offer. You can ask for time to think before making a final decision.

In many cases, you will also need to take into account what percentage of your salary is declared and what rate of increase you can expect over the years in your career.

In general, companies that work under international standards, are most likely to declare/announce their employees properly. They motivate them with appreciable benefit packages, and guarantee a significant salary gap between levels of the ladder of success.

Civil servants and public employees can also expect legally declared wages – important if you want to get a Child Care Fee or a pension one day – but the rate of increase in benefit packages and salaries is less attractive. If you become a civil servant or a teacher, you can use the pay scales to calculate on your first day of work how much you will earn at 60-65 if you stay in the profession.

Small and medium-sized enterprises have the worst record when it comes to the legality of salaries because the taxes linked to wages are a significant burden on organizations that they seek to save. In many cases, you will expect to receive the rest of the money on top of a low declared monthly fix. These expected ’black money’ amounts can make a good salary, but they are definitely illegal and uncertain.

The assessment centers

The assessment center (AC) is an emerging selection method. It can effectively complement the impressions gained during the job interview. In a selection process lasting up to several days, a more complex overall impression of the candidate is formed than in a short interview, and the success rates of the method are therefore significantly better.

The AC tasks don’t require specific expertise, they can be solved by strategic thinking. Most importantly they are trying to identify components of group cooperation that would otherwise be brought to the surface after a longer period of time.

Participants (6-10) perform group tasks, participate in role-plays and in individual assignments, solve tests and give presentations. It is common for candidates to complete tasks under intense time pressure.

Situational exercises model certain features of expected job tasks, often in a playful way.

During the group and individual tasks, the participants are monitored by specialists, and their behavior in the given situation is scored on the basis of a preliminary system of criteria. The candidates will be selected at the end of the process, on the basis of a combination of the qualities they display in a variety of task situations.

The development center (DC) is a variant of assessment center, which specifically examines candidates already within the company, by simulating complex models. Participants are tested in different workplace situations where their leadership and interpersonal skills (and the development of them) can be observed.