At this point, we would like to offer you some hints and tips that may be useful to you in the application process - irrespective of whether you are new or "experienced" in this field.
Preparation is decisive for your success. Take time to consider what your best characteristics are, what you do well and what satisfies you. Are you a person who enjoys constant communication with people, or do you tend to find that tedious? Are you prepared to spend eight hours a day, five days a week in the office, or do you prefer to work in the open air? Also, concentrate on your specialist skills - do you speak two, three or more languages, for example, and what sectors are of particular interest to you? The people around you may be able to help you here; for example, friends, family, teachers/lecturers, fellow students or other acquaintances - ask for their opinion. As soon as you have decided on a line of business or sector where you want to enjoy success, research further! Research on the internet and find out about the specific industry and companies that can offer you the development and perspectives that you want. Watch the media and always keep an eye on new developments so that you know where you can best invest your time and effort.
Jobs fairs They offer you the opportunity to talk directly to potential employers and to obtain other interesting information about the company first hand.
XING: The biggest, work-related network in the Germany, Austria, Switzerland region. XING is a professional network where people in work, as well as those seeking employment, can present themselves with a comprehensive profile following the social media principle, network with other users and find out about entire companies. You should remember the following:
- Where possible, always keep your profile up-to-date.
- Describe yourself, your previous work and your relevant strengths in as much detail as possible.
- Profit from the "For Recruiters" function - here, you can provide information about yourself that only recruiters can see.
LinkedIn: The biggest international, work-related network. The principle of LinkedIn is similar to that of XING, but LinkedIn is also popular beyond the Germany, Austria, Switzerland region, especially in English-speaking countries.
If you want to learn even more about a specific company, the following sources could also be helpful.
Facebook: The wor(l)d of mouth. All over the world, Facebook is used not just by private individuals, but also by companies - practically all major companies maintain a Facebook profile. You can simply find them using the search function and then follow them. In an ideal scenario, you therefore don’t just receive information about job offers and news, but you also get an impression of the working atmosphere. Remember: Where appropriate, you should set your Facebook settings so that employers and colleagues cannot see which companies you are following.
Twitter: to put it succinctly. Almost every major company has a profile on the short messaging system Twitter. You can follow interesting companies to keep up to date with topical information. The most well-known feature of Twitter is the hashtag (#), which you use to search for specific key words, for example "#EasyConsultDE".
Google+: The principle of Google+ is very similar to that of Facebook, only from the very start you should choose what information you want to make visible to whom. You can define various circles here, for example friends, colleagues, etc.
Kununu: Who’s saying what? Kununu is the biggest German platform for employer evaluation. Here you can see what evaluations the various companies get from their current and former employees, as well as applicants (e.g. with respect to the application procedure). In addition to the rating system, the users can also write personal comments and go into more detail about their experience, it is also possible for the company to state its point of view. You can then, for example, compare these evaluations with those of other companies.
Prepare application documents
Letter: In the letter you can express your motivation with respect to the job. Here, you have the opportunity to explain why you in particular are so suitable for the position. Don't generalise too much and try to write an individual letter for every job. Basically, the letter should answer the following questions: the position you are applying for and where did you hear about it? What can you offer your possible employer? Be specific and don't hide behind claims. For example, try to refer to the job advertisement and prove your statements, e.g. with the help of your work experience. What can you achieve together? Thank the company for their interest and say that you look forward to the opportunity of an interview.
CV: The general rules for application documents are relatively simple - the CV should not be longer than one page and a maximum of two pages. It is short and precise as well as informative, it also refers to your strengths and your skills with respect to the possible job. The layout is a matter of taste, but you should include the following: the names of your employers and the periods you were employed, to the month, your areas of responsibility or core skills in three to four lines for each employer, other possibly relevant skills/knowledge if they may be of interest, your current contact data including telephone number and e-mail address.
Photo: If you want to add a photo to your documents, it should obviously be as serious as possible. Clothing appropriate for your new job is ideal, but at least a white shirt or something similar. By contrast, party photos or out-of-focus selfies with your wallpaper from home as a backdrop don't make a good impression. It is best to have these photos taken by a professional photographer.
Invitation to interview
If you receive an invitation, you should try to reply to it within two days if possible. The following rule of thumb applies: if you receive an oral invitation, reply orally - if you receive a written invitation, reply in writing. If you receive the invitation by telephone, it is best to ask whether you should also confirm it in writing. By the way, it is absolutely OK to ask about any dress code. The principle applies that you should go to an interview dressed as you would dress for work. If in doubt, you can rarely go wrong with a suit or smart casual.
Travel expenses: When you have received an invitation to interview you can ask about reimbursement of your travel expenses. In many cases, they are paid by the employer. If this is not the case you will usually find a comment to this effect in the invitation. However, when we are talking about a first interview with a contact from a (recruitment) agency, it is not usual for travel expenses to be paid. But you can still enquire - asking doesn't cost anything.
Rescheduling appointments: It can occasionally be the case that you have to reschedule an appointment that you have already confirmed. The reasons include:
- a business trip - if you are still working,
- personal reasons.
In this case, it is important that you inform your contact as soon as possible. Write that you are still interested in the job and ask for an alternative appointment. It goes without saying that it does not look good if you state another interview or personal appointments are reasons for rescheduling - or if there is no explanation whatsoever.
Conducting an interview
Welcome: When you present yourself at reception, greet the receptionist, introduce yourself and state the name of the person you will be meeting and the reason for your visit. Not too late and not too early - try to be punctual. Obviously, arriving late is taboo, just because your interviewer will usually have more appointments. Being there a few minutes too early is obviously not a problem provided that you don't give the impression that you have a problem with having to wait. However, it is not advisable to be much more than five minutes early because your interviewer could feel under pressure due to your early arrival.
Handshake: Studies have shown that body language is often more important than what is said. The handshake is one of the first signs of your self-confidence. The handshake should be firm and without a lot of shaking of hands. Tip: if there are several people taking part in the interview, you should try to follow the hierarchy (irrespective of whether there are women present or not) - i.e. you greet the person with the highest position in the company first.
Business cards: If your interviewer gives you a business card, look at it briefly before putting it in your pocket. It doesn't make a good impression if you put the card straight in your pocket without at least having glanced at it. But during the interview you should not be holding the card in your hand and "playing" with it because you could then give the impression that you were nervous.
Breaking the ice: It is normal to be asked questions like "Did you find us easily?" at the start of the interview. Remain friendly and answer. Apart from the usual small talk factor, questions like this can definitely have a purpose, e.g. whether you have a good sense of direction, are punctual or have a problem finding your way.
Self-presentation: Talk about yourself. After you have been given some information about the company and/or the job in an interview, it is usually your turn to present yourself and to convince the interviewer that you are the right candidate for the job. At this point you should avoid asking questions about the company - there is usually enough time for this at the end of the interview. Feel free to go into detail - your interviewers already know the general information from your CV. The same is true again: avoid claims and try to give examples instead. You are aware what the company is looking for - try to convince those you are talking to with specific examples from your own experience.
Questions: At this point you can ask all of the questions that arose during the interview - there is no problem with you making notes for this during the interview, this is also a sign to your potential employer of how serious your interest is. However, it does not make a good impression if you immediately ask about the salary. The employer will usually ask you the question about your expected salary.
Ending the interview: Remain as committed as possible to the end of the interview:
- Find out about the next steps in the application process.
- Agree on a date by which you would like to hear back or when the company can let you know. It is OK to ask whether you can telephone the company yourself if you haven't received any feedback by this date.
- Clarify who is your contact in the continuing process or with whom you should maintain contact.
Sending an e-mail: After about 24 hours, you should send an e-mail to the contact in which you thank him or her for the interview and his or her interest in you. Once again, confirm your interest in the job and the company. Also point out that you will be happy to answer any further questions they may have or to provide any more information.