Going well prepared to the interview

During an interview, mutual understanding develops. It is the where the person behind the application, and the employer behind the job offer, both step to the fore. With thorough preparation, you can significantly contribute to a positive impression with your interlocutors and partners. The following aspects can be helpful for the success of your job interview:

Dealing with the invitation

The appropriate response to the interview invitation will already increase your chances. It is important to answer the allocated appointment as quickly as possible- either by mail or by phone. If you cannot attend on the suggested date, you can either ask for an alternate date or propose one yourself.

Information about the employer

Before setting off to the interview, it is very important to collect specific and factual information on the employer’s objectives. The employer’s homepage, advertising material, newspapers, trade press or acquainted employees can be valuable sources for such information. Key data include, for example: Number of employees. How is the company organised? Does it have branches? What legal form does it have? What are the current developments in the relevant sector?

The interview in context

Try to obtain answers to these questions before the interview:

  • Who will be present at the interview?
  • What positions do the parties involved in the interview have within the enterprise?
  • How will the conversation run? Will there be any additional tests on that day?
  • What, if necessary, do I have to bring with me?


Find out comprehensive information on the profile required for the advertised post. If you have internalised the appropriate competence profile, you will find it easier to relate to them during the interview to present your professional and interdisciplinary skills.

Your own competence profile

Reflect on your competence profile by asking yourself the following questions

  • Which functions does the employer want fulfilled?
  • How does this offer fit into the different competencies?
  • What part of the description of the tasks are you very good at and how?
  • What specific (large or small) successes have you achieved in each of those?
  • Which of your skills will serve the company most?

In the next step, you can compare the requirements of the vacancy advertised with your skills’ profile to find out where they match and where there are differences. This will provide the argumentation basis for your skills. If the profiles diverge too much, you should think of a strategy that allows you to reduce major differences.


A successful self-presentation can be trained. Bring your skills, qualifications and your personality with a few sentences to the point briefly and concisely, not forgetting to always link the employer’s requirements to your profile. Find people who will watch you practicing - friends, fellow students or use a mirror to simulate a conversation situation. You can also use job fairs to practice presenting yourself at every booth.

Body language

Next to the aspects of qualification and formalities, body language and voice play an important role. Pay attention, therefore, to presenting an adequate posture, gestures and facial expressions. An upright posture looks more confident than slouching shoulders. A friendly face and eye contact give the impression that you are interested in the person facing you. Use your hands to emphasize your statements without appearing fidgety or entangled. Your voice also produces an effect; its tone should be appreciative and friendly. Avoid speaking too loudly, too quietly or too fast.

What to wear

Make sure that your clothes are neat and adapted to the sector you wish to work in. This allows you to signal that you have prepared for the interview and know the habits of your desired employer. Where makeup, jewellery or perfume is concerned: less is more.

Discussing salary

It is not necessary to mention salary during the first interview. Nevertheless, if the salary is not determined by collective agreements, and is thus not individually negotiable, you should think about how much you want to earn in the new position. Enquire beforehand about the salary level usually paid in the sector and the position applied for.

Asking your own questions

In almost every interview, you will get the chance to ask your own questions. Well thought-out questions signal commitment and interest in the position offered. At the same time, they provide the opportunity to find out more about the employer or the field of activity. Take notes in advance and think about what information you need to make a positive decision with regard to the job. Optionally, you can ask your questions in the course of a dialogue when the subject comes up.

Getting there

Prepare your arrival to the interview carefully and in good time. Plan a generous time buffer so that you can deal with delays or road congestion. If an overnight stay is required, book a hotel early on. Clarify, in the course of the preparation, if your travel expenses are borne by the company. And make sure that you have the exact street address and room.