Are you’re looking to move to Germany and find a job here? Are you maybe already in Germany and wanna find a job? Here are some common questions you might get asked on each interview.
Each company is different, each interview process is unique and each interviewer is gonna be unique. Even if you apply to the same company multiple times, you will discover that interviews will probably vary each time at least a little bit. I’m gonna tell you a few questions you should always have an answer ready to, regardless of the job position where you are applying.
1. Tell us something about yourself.
Here you wanna introduce yourself in a concise, quick way and provide a lot of useful, business related information. Don’t stretch this topic too long. 1-2 minutes is enough. You didn’t come to a speed-date that you need to provide all the personal details.
Make sure to prepare these answers according to the company as much as possible telling them about what similar experience you had before. If they they are hiring for truck driver, it’s fine to talk about being a pizza-delivery guy. But working as an entertainer during basketball halftimes isn’t really relevant.
2. What are you proud of in your life?
Tell about 2-3 situations, decisions and the outcomes/results when you did something that you are proud of.
For example, you’ve managed to cut the costs by 10% while working for your previous employer. Or maybe you tried some complex project on your own, and failed but learned a lot from those mistakes? Each mistake can be at least partially good if you learn something from it.
3. What are you not proud of?
Same thing as the previous one, just reflecting on the stuff you are not happy with how they turned out.
Make sure to have answers ready. Don’t be that guy who can talk days about his great accomplishments but can’t think of a single thing he did wrong. You will sound unrealistic, over pretentious and not aware of yourself.
4. What do you know about us?
I know people tend to apply left and right while being unemployed and willing to do pretty much anything. The employer knows that and can easily spot this behavior. Make sure to research the company, understand what they are doing, what you will be doing and formulate your answer according to that information.
While formulating an answer to this question, never, ever say something stupid like “You are an amazing company with amazing products and I really wanna work for you because of your cool people and environment”. First of all, you don’t work there. How do you know they are an amazing company? Maybe they are a great place to work for somebody, but this can’t be generalized like that. Second, you’re getting hired to do a job, not to hang out with people. It’s great when the company has a great atmosphere but they’re not gonna hire you simply because you seem like a nice guy but have no relatable skills.
5. What is your salary expectation?
You need to have an understanding of an average salary for your field. If an average monthly gross salary for a position you are applying is 2000 EUR, then don’t be a smart-ass and ask for 4000. There is a reason why some jobs are paid more than others. If you wanna earn more, that’s fine but you need to gain additional skills and find a job that pays well. Don’t expect a job that requires little to no qualifications to pay the same as a for a medical doctor.
Have your expectations ready but be realistic about them.
6. Why are you leaving your current employer?
This obvious applies if you are currently employed. When answering this kind of questions, it’s fine to say you are unhappy with your current position. It’s fine to say you are not progressing as much as you’d have hoped for. However, it’s not OK to badmouth your current (or past) employers. If you’re gonna talk bad stuff about them, that means you will probably talk bad stuff about the company you are currently applying to also, once you decide to switch your job again.
And another point – don’t burn your bridges when not really needed. Even if you are leaving your current employer, don’t be a jerk about it. You never know when you might need their help or if they open some other position that might suite you better but because you badmouthed them, you won’t get a job.
7. When can you start? What is your notice period?
Read the contract with your current employer and know what is your notice period. The worst thing you could do is tell your potential new employer that you can start working in a month and later inform them that you can’t leave your current employer for at least another month. They have business plans and schedules to make and you didn’t even start to work and already you are causing trouble.
Obviously if you are unemployed, you don’t have this problem. However, don’t jump ahead and tell them that you can start immediately. Tell them you will be available to start a week or two from now and that you are in the process of finding a new job and you would prefer to have have a few days to decide after getting their offer. This way you don’t sound so desperate and you’re showing them that they are not your only option which gives you more leverage and potentially a better starting salary.
8. Why Germany, why this city?
If at this point you don’t know why you decided to search for a job in Germany and move here… you might wanna hold off those interviews. Either you haven’t yet moved here and are interviewing remotely or you are already here but have no idea how you ended up here. Both of those situations don’t sound very promising and could be a big red flag in the eyes of the employer since you are a very risky candidate.
9. Do you have any questions for us?
This is usually gonna come at the end of the interview. Don’t, I repeat, do not ask them “How did I do on my interview”. You’ll here the results sooner or later. What you also don’t wanna do is say ” I don’t have any questions”. This show your lack of interest in the company and this business. Always have 3 to 5 questions ready to show them you really have interest in this job position. This will also show them you’ve researched them, you know what they are doing and you won’t take the job and leave in 3 months when some other job pops out.
If you’re a software engineer be sure to check out my experience from doing interviews for German companies.
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