The top 10 tips for the perfect job interview

Written by Kerstin Lakits, Mar 09, 2023

Being nervous before a job interview is completely normal because this interview will likely determine whether you get the job. Thousands of questions and worries crowd your mind. Therefore, we have the 10 most important tips for a successful job interview!

1. How to prepare for a job interview

Preparation is key. Find out who your interview partner is and what their position in the company is. You can use the company’s website or career networks such as LinkedIn for your research. Furthermore, you should get to know the company’s history and philosophy since that shows that you are well prepared.

Challenging questions can easily put you off, but if you prepare them, it will be easier to answer complicated or surprising questions professionally. Here are some common questions to prepare:

  • What are your weaknesses?
  • Why are you the right person for this job?
  • How would your family/friends describe you?

You should inform yourself about your rights before the interview. There are questions that are off limits (e.g. family plans, pregnancy, religion, sexual orientation…). There are also requirements based on labour law regarding the duration, remuneration, etc. of a trial period. Inform yourself beforehand about the collective agreement and other specific features of that sector.

2. Practice makes perfect!

If you haven’t had the opportunity to gain any experience with job interviews, the uncertainty about the procedure and the situation will increase your nervousness. That’s why we recommend practicing a job interview beforehand with friends or family members. You will get a feeling for the course of the interview. It’s not about learning all the answers by heart or planning every detail of the situation. Be authentic and yourself! Here are more tips for job applications for students!

There are tons of videos with tips for job interviews or simulated interviews with HR managers online, for example here! Try to answer the mock questions yourself!

3. Dress code for job interviews

An important factor of your appearance is your outfit since it’s the first impression you make. However, there isn’t “the one right outfit”, but there are company-related factors that you should take into consideration:

  • Comfort: You should feel good in your outfit and not have the impression that you are dressed up. Show your sense of style and your personality!
  • Colours: Colourful and eccentric clothes show creativity and motivation, which is not adequate for all companies. Classical colours such as blue, black, dark green or beige make you seem more professional.
  • Cleanliness: Obviously, your clothes should be freshly washed and ideally ironed!
  • Industry sector: Depending on the company you want to work in, you can choose a more formal (blouse, vest, blazer, jacket, neutral colours) or more casual (colourful, jeans, only a blouse or shirt) outfit. Creative sectors, start-ups or smaller businesses tend to be less formal than authorities, banks, big corporations or institutions.
  • Brands: Maybe also pay attention to the brand of your clothes. If you apply at a clothing company, make sure that you don’t wear their competitors’ brands.

STUWO tip: To get a feeling for the company’s dress code, take a look at their website. What kind of clothes do the employees wear on the pictures? Is the website simple or intricate?

Your hair is just as important as your outfit. The most important thing is that your hair is freshly washed. Take some time to get your hair done to look well-groomed.

4. Time management

Punctuality is essential to make a good first impression! So look up the journey to the company beforehand. How long does it take you by car or public transport? At the same time, calculate a time buffer in case of a traffic jam or missed bus. If you arrive too early, you can make use of that time by walking a bit and taking some deep breaths.

5. The first impression

Not only your appearance, but also your behaviour and your charisma make up a first impression! Polite, friendly and confident! Greet your interview partner and other employees you meet at the company. Maintain eye contact with your partner and smile. Ask questions and show your interest!

STUWO tip: Imitate your interview partner’s body language and behaviour! Try to mirror it without copying them!

6. Let the interview begin!

Try to appear self-confident and motivated! In addition to common rules of politeness, you should try to seem interested and develop a conversation. Don’t wait to be investigated, but ask questions yourself. Here are more tips for successful (self) presentation!

Usually the job interview goes like this:

  • Self-presentation (education, past work experiences, competencies, weaknesses)
  • Presentation of the company or position
  • Questions
  • Salary discussions
  • Further steps

Salary negotiations are oftentimes an important part of a job interview. Therefore, you should make up your mind about your salary beforehand. For your salary wishes, you should get to know typical salaries in that sector. Collective agreements, the Chamber of Labour, the Center for Unemployment Services and other job portals are a good resource for your research.

7. Online job interviews: tips and tricks

Some job interviews take place online for practical reasons. The ground rules apply to this scenario as well. Make sure that you have a quiet and undisturbed place with good WIFI connection for your interview. Even though you stay at home, you should put on your job interview outfit. Maintain eye contact by looking straight into the camera. Take notes (e.g. names of important contact persons, important data or further steps). Should you be unfamiliar with the video software, we recommend that you familiarise yourself with it beforehand. Furthermore, you should also dial into the call a few minutes early.

8. Phone job interview: Useful tips

You should also seek a quiet and undisturbed place for job interviews via phone. Keep a notebook and pen nearby to take notes. Prepare a glass of water as well. Since the visual component is missing, make sure that you let your interview partner finish speaking.

STUWO tip: Smile throughout the interview because this will be evident in your voice, which makes you more charismatic.

9. After the interview

Do you have any questions?” is usually the beginning of the end of your interview and a popular question, which makes a lot of applicants stutter and grow silent. Therefore, think about what you want to know about the company, the work life, your portfolio of activities, the working hours or other beforehand. This is the moment to resolve open points!

At the end of your interview, you should inquire when you can expect a positive or negative response and how you will receive it. For unresolved points or missing documents, you can send a follow-up email or make a follow-up phone call and thank them for the interview.

Take a moment to think about how the conversation went, what went well and what you can improve next time!

10. The most frequently asked questions

Some questions are classics among HR managers. You can easily prepare for them. A variation of these questions will surely come up during your interview!

  • Tell us about yourself! Don’t repeat all the points on your CV, but present yourself and give them a sense of who you are!
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses? Talk about strengths related to this position and name weaknesses that you can improve over time and are indirectly somewhat positive. Always add examples from previous work experience.
  • Why should we pick you for this position? Think about which qualifications, competencies or soft skills make you the perfect candidate!
  • How do you work when stressed? Name some qualities that are helpful in these situations and illustrate them with practical examples from your past.
  • Why did you apply for a position at our company? This is an opportunity to complement the company, show your motivation and put your good preparation to the test.

You will be perfectly prepared for your job interview with these tips. You will convince the HR manager with your professional appearance and thought-through responses.

If you are still looking for a mini job, here are popular mini jobs for students!

We wish you a lot of success!


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