Students engaged in discussion

Job interview

On this page, we compiled hands-on tips which can help you prepare for your job interview.

If you received a written invitation for the job interview, please confirm it by phone. This call is also a chance to get the name and position of your interview partner. Additionally, you can ask for information about the structure of the job interview, for example if it is an individual job interview or an assessment centre together with other applicants. You can also ask in which language the job interview will be conducted. Prepare well for this phone call! You might end up having the job interview by phone and you certainly want to appear capable.

You can collect information already beforehand from the job ad and the company’s website. Most certainly, you will be asked about it during the job interview.

If you have the opportunity, get information about the person you will have the job interview with. Shared interests are connecting people. During the interview you can casually bring up this shared interest. Maybe the interview is then a bit more personal and you leave a positive impression.

Even if this tip sounds obvious: prepare for the job interview by reading your own application. You should know where you excel, why you applied at this company and which skills qualify you for the job. If there are gaps in your CV or if you do not have the qualification that is required for this specific job, prepare arguments to explain both the gaps in your CV and your motivation. Sometimes it helps to go through the application together with a friend and do a mock interview with them.

Every job interview is different, but some questions are kind of classics. Prepare for them. Here is a list with possible questions:

  • “Tell us about your background/career!”
  • “Why did you apply for this job?”
  • “Why do you want to work with us?”
  • “Why do you think you are the right person for this job?”
  • “Have you also applied at other companies?”
  • “What are your goals?” “Where do you see yourself in five years?”
  • “What is your strength?”
  • “What is your weakness?”
  • “Why did it take you so long to graduate?”
  • “What are your salary expectations?”

At the end of the job interview, you will be asked whether you have any more questions. This is your chance to get information about things that have not yet been discussed, for example

  • salary
  • working times
  • holidays
  • familiarization period
  • professional development opportunities
  • reasons for the vacancy
  • how long will it take until the decision is made

As already mentioned in Step 4: Know your application, we recommend doing a mock interview with friends or family. It will help you to become more confident for the interview as such and in handling personal questions during the interview.

Though there are slight differences in dress code for every profession, you won’t make any mistake with neat clothes. Rather dress more formal than too casual. It goes without saying that a business suit, tie and clean shoes are always a good choice.

Female applicants should avoid being heavily made up or using too much perfume.

Please note that tattoos or piercings can have a negative impact on your job chances. It might be better to remove all face piercings when going to the job interview.

This point, too, sounds trivial, but it is extremely important to plan your journey so that you arrive in time for the interview. A traffic jam or delays in public transport can lead to you being late through no fault of your own. Avoid this risk by taking the earlier train/tram/bus or by having enough time when travelling by car. Rather be too early than too late at your future employer. It might be the end of your application prospects even before you had the chance to present yourself.

If you are running late, let your interview partner know as soon as possible.

Take the following things to the job interview:

  • invitation to the job interview
  • name of your interview partner
  • your application
  • a copy of the job advertisement
  • your mobile phone (for emergencies)
  • a notepad
  • a pen
  • detailed directions (map)
  • the list with notes and questions you prepared
  • Having applied, regularly check your e-mail account.
  • After about one week without any information, you could ask the company whether your application has been received by the contact person.

FHWS events and trainings

Details about the FHWS events: FHWS E-Learning.