Especially when you go to an interview for the first time, many people are unsure how to present themselves well beyond their CV and personality. After all, there are so many little things that play a role and that you have to pay attention to in order to make a good impression. Or not?
We would like to address a few topics that can be crucial in an interview.
An interview does not begin with the step through the door into the company where you are going to present yourself. Already in the days before being at home in your own four walls you can already do a lot for your appearance.
"You never get a second chance to make a first impression." This also applies to the first seconds you face your contact person. The first thing he will notice is your clothes. It should fit the company and the position. So make yourself aware in advance of which structures obtain in the company. As a general rule, family-run medium-sized businesses with a tradition tend to be conservative and sophisticated in their clothing style. In corporate groups, too, it is better to be a little more conservative and chic than underdressed. Start-ups and agencies, on the other hand, tend to have a loose dress code, if at all. Nevertheless, even in such companies you have to pay attention to a well-groomed appearance during the interview. It may be a bit more casual, even using one or the other colour and accessory. But your clothes must still be impeccable, professional and not a leisure outfit – so, sneakers, jeans, possibly frayed, and unironed shirts better leave at home.
In general, of course, you should not disguise yourself for the interview. Your outfit must match your style and colours, it must fit comfortably and you must feel comfortable in it. So if you're choosing something new, including shoes, you should wear it for a few hours at home a few days earlier. Then you'll know if you can move around and sit in it without being hindered by the clothes. As you walk through the rain, it is important to check the condition of your shoes right outside the company’s door and wipe off any stains quickly if necessary.
Immediately after this first conscious or unconscious check of your clothes, the next point that plays a role in your appearance comes in the next few seconds: The handshake to greet you. Of course, you don't just greet your counterpart with a "hello". Give your full name, clearly and friendly. The handshake should be sincere and firm. A too soft handshake or a hand, which has no life of its own and no resistance, will attract attention in any case negatively. Do not crush the fingers of your conversation partner either, but find a healthy, firm mediocrity.
Once you've been taken to the meeting room, they'll probably offer you something to drink. Don't reject it out of false modesty. You never know how the conversation will go. Maybe you are made to talk a lot, maybe the air in the room is dry. So if you get a rough throat or even a slight coughing stimulus, it is better to have the water glass ready in front of you than to have to interrupt the flow of the conversation with a request for water.
As soon as the actual interview starts, you should retrieve your documents and offer them again to your contact person. Most likely, they will have printed out the documents they consider important for the interview. However, it still makes a good impression if you bring your application folder with you again.
When we get into the presentation now, we actually have to take a step back to the time before you have made your way to the interview. In order to present yourself well and independently, you need to know your CV. Not only what you have put on paper, but also details of the individual stages, and you must have internalised the chronological sequence. But don't get lost in details. Above all, focus on the aspects that are important for your future position. Be sure to have a flow and follow a golden thread of your CV. If you are unsure whether your presentation is easily understandable and comprehensible, you can also hold it in front of a critical friend.
Speak clearly and not too quickly. Of course, the language level also plays a role. So stay professional in your expression. But it is also true: Do not throw around terms, foreign words and idioms whose meaning you only vaguely know and whose use you do not really master. Internal company abbreviations from your current job or general abbreviations that are not commonly used are also taboo.
You will certainly be asked questions during the conversation, but the nature of the questions is not really predictable. It can be questions of a purely professional nature, related to your previous positions, company and tasks. But it can also be very personal, psychological questions. However, you should know that there is no right or wrong with all these questions. That's why you can't really prepare for it. Of course, you can inform yourself on the Internet or read through one of the numerous books with application tips. This will give you a general idea of how to position yourself on one or the other question. Often the purpose of such questions is not the answer itself, but one would like to get to know, how the applicant thinks, develops mental constructs and argues. Beyond that, however, your credo should be above all: Be authentic! Nothing is worse than giving answers and descriptions that do not do justice to your convictions or nature, but which you simply express because you want to impress and please your conversation partner. Much faster than you think one will see through such a game.
Perhaps this is the most important tip we can give: that you are authentic and do not slip into a role for the interview to convince the company of a person you are not.
Together with the other small hints and well-prepared documents, these can be the first steps to your new job.