Preparing for an interview can be daunting for many people and as career advisors, we understand this pressure first handed. However, you dont have to fear. We believe the more prepared you are the better you are going to feel during the interview. The first thing you need to understand is that interviews happen in stages and depending on the role and seniority, the stages will be different.
Here is a brief synopsis of interview stages you can envision during the process.
1. First interview - HR call: This interview is conducted by the recruitment team and in Berlin, it lasts no longer than 30 minutes. The recruiter in this call tries to get to know who you are, how you communicate, a sense of how well you can explain what you said you are capable of. This is your moment to shine because the recruiter is excited about your profile and the potential it could bring to the organization. You being afraid and nervous will not help you. Below as you go through the questions you may be asked, try to repeat them to yourself over time until the answer feels more natural.
2. Team interview: This is usually the second stage for non-technical roles. However, most roles could have a technical assessment or case study that you may need to pass before you can be invited for a team interview. Let's assume you have been invited for a team interview. This can be onsite or online with two or three team members of the department you will work with. The team interview is the second proof analysis of your expertise. Here the team has been briefed about your potential that they should be excited to get to know you. Your role is to make sure you know exactly what the role requires and how can you demonstrate that to the team. They may also be interested in seeing how it might be working with you as a person, how you approach problem-solving and how your personality will be embedded in the current setup of the team. Win them over. Dont overdo stuff but just be confidently yourself.
3. Senior management - Executive interview :
Congratulations for making it this far in the process. At the same time, be ready to step up your game at this level. The executive team is always looking at how far you can think both about the business and your individual role. They want to see practicality, expertise, and deliverables. Take the opportunity to show how valuable your expertise will move the entire company forward but also how excited you are to be joining them on the journey.
4. Cross function partner interview or team hangout:
The cross function partner interview is really about involving other people within the company that will work very close to you. Their review of your expertise count at least to 30 percent. At this stage, you must really try to relax and be more and more yourself.
5. Founder Interview: If the founder was not involved in the executive interview, you may speak to her/him or them at this stage. Their decision in most cases is final. Most of the time they rely on team feedback but if they dont feel a sense of agreement or expertise their business is looking for, this might be the fastest no you may receive.
Finally, if you have made it all the way with all Yesses, you can now expect an offer.
Please practice the below questions and learn how to best answer them in a way that is most natural to you.
Interviewers want to know more about your professional background and why you are seeking a new position. We recommend primarily sticking with the professional basics and adding in a few fun facts along the way to show the interviewer that you are a real person too. Start off by telling the interviewer about your highest level of education. Give a very high-level overview of your past position stating your job title and what your standard job duties involved. Next, share 2-3 fun facts about yourself focusing on special non-work related skills or hobbies.
For example, you might share that you enjoy beatboxing or you play guitar or sport. Finally, share with the interviewer why you are seeking a new position focusing on positives such as wanting to further your career or having an opportunity to work for this exciting company.
This question can be difficult because it requires you to know enough about the company to be impressed by what they do and what they have to offer. The only way to find out is by simply doing research. Review the company website first. If the company is more service or client focused, you can read reviews of customers and find out about their reputation. Sometimes you can even find articles or press releases to give you the low down on their latest accomplishments, innovations or company culture. Pinpoint the highlights.
Know the company vision so that you can easily tell them, "I am impressed by your mission and I love how much of an impact you made on the local community." Sharing your knowledge about the latest news at their company is a great indicator that you have a vested interest and know what you are looking for in a company.
The interviewer is hoping to hear that you will stay with the company long-term. Be candid with the interviewer about your dreams within this company on a long-term basis. Share what promotions you hope to eventually receive if any, and share what you hope to learn from being a part of the organization. If you hope to further your education in a related field, now is the time to mention it! The key is to make the impression that you will be employed with the company for many years to come.
Match your strengths to the requirements of the job. Rather than sharing how you have gone above and beyond, focus on how your qualities will help you to meet and even exceed expectations. Why will you be great at this job? What are your qualifications and skills that will help you to do this job well?
For example, "I know I will be successful in this role because I have been working in the field for five years and have a solid understanding of (X) and (Y). I have my (Z) certification and I am driven and consistent in my work.
Give an example from your work experience or outside activities that show the things that you enjoy doing and that you can do well. Typically people are motivated by environments where they feel supported and encouraged. Let's say you playing on a basketball team and everyone works together well. It feels as if the ball flows down the court and everyone is communicating and working hard to win. That's motivating! Now think about a work environment where you laugh with your coworkers and help each other solve problems. When someone is having a bad day, you encourage them and they do the same for you. These scenarios bring out the best in people because they are positive and life-giving. Think of a recent scenario where you felt motivated and ask yourself what was so motivating about it.
What tools do you use to stay on task and meet deadlines? How do you prioritize when everything demands your attention at once? Think about the ways you manage your projects and daily tasks. Do you keep a calendar? Do you set reminders? Sometimes a to-do list is helpful when you're managing your time because it can help you prioritize what needs to happen next. Paying attention to which tasks require the most time and which ones bring the most value are ways you can pick and choose what needs to happen in your schedule. What are some ways you have found work best for you to manage your time at work?
Before your interview, do your research! Make sure you have questions ready for the interviewer. Review the website to make sure the answers are not obvious. The last thing an interviewer wants to hear is a list of questions you could have found the answers to from simply watching a video on their company site! Think of questions that are relevant to the industry. Did you read something about their care for the environment or volunteering? What interests you most about their mission? Some of your questions may be asking for clarifications about something. Other questions might be delving deeper into something that interests you about their vision or their company culture. Put together a list of up to ten questions so that you are prepared!
Picture a coworker who didn't carry their weight. Maybe they were lazy. Maybe they were preoccupied with their personal life. Maybe they didn't care about the job. What was it that bothered you about this person? How were you affected by them? Most importantly, what did you do about it? Briefly describe the person you worked with, but hone in on your response. Your ability to deal with difficult people and conflict is far more important than the issue itself! For example, "My coworker didn't pull their weight, which created more work for the rest of the team. I took some time to get to know them, confronting them in a way that was not too harsh and sensitive to the fact that there could be a bigger problem." You can elaborate about how you became friends with your coworker or how the underlying issue was solved. Show that you are proactive instead of letting things get under your skin.
This question is designed to determine your understanding of what a manager is. Some great qualities of a manager are:
Being someone who people naturally want to follow, Exceptional interpersonal skills, Strong relationship building skills, Taking ownership for the team's errors and mistakes, Excelling at motivating others, Providing kudos/recognition to your team, Knowing how to select and hire the right people to join the team, Having a vision for the future
These are just a few to get started! Which qualities do you most identify with? We recommend picking about 5 qualities and feel free to think beyond this list. Tell the interviewer your 5 things.
The interviewer wants to ensure your greatest weakness is not a vital part of this job. Pick one of your weaknesses that is not a necessity for the role. Be candid and humble in your answer recognizing that you really aren't great at something and acknowledging your need to improve. Be sure you have an action plan in place for improving on this weakness too. Perhaps you are watching TED Talks about the weakness, reading the latest-and-greatest book on the subject, or maybe you are taking a seminar at a nearby community center in the near future. We are all human and all have weaknesses, so don't be afraid to share yours!
Yes! No matter where you work you need to be a team player to help a company achieve its goals, so be prepared to tell the interviewer, "Yes, I am!" Expand on this by sharing your philosophy on the importance of teamwork and being a part of a team. Tell the interviewer that it takes a group of people for a company to achieve its goals, and you recognize that each person is a piece of the puzzle. You recognize that there may be days where you need to perform duties outside of your usual job description to help out, or you may need to spend time mentoring and coaching new employees to ensure they are fitting into the team.
Interviewers want to understand the one thing that sets you apart from all of the other candidates applying for this job. We suggest that you ask a few former co-workers or family members what they feel is the one unique thing that sets you apart from the other candidates. Their perceptions will help you understand how you are perceived and what makes you the perfect person for the opportunity.
Do you have any questions for us/me? You will hear this question most of the time. Never say you dont have a question, because it shows a lack of interest. Prepare at least 3 questions and if time permits have 5 questions. Some of our favorite questions have been :
1. How big is the current team (the team you will join)
2. What is the core pain point (hopefully so you can fill it)
3. How does the company facilitate learning and development for employees?
4. Are there any business plans forecoming that might affect how you are working right now?
5. Why do you as the recruiter like to work at the company?
Keep it short and just have a conversation.
The interview process can be daunting but there is nothing like being prepared in the knowledge of who you are. You will be much calmer once you have built strength and confidence in knowing who you truly are. All everyone is looking for is to know you, understand and see if you can do the job and then decide from there.