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6 Common Steps in the Job Application Process in Germany

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If you are an international student getting ready to graduate from a university or Fachhochschule in Germany, chances are that you’d have a tougher time finding jobs in Germany. Job-hunting for international students can be more complicated and frustrating than it might be for German students, as it usually takes more resources for employers to hire foreign workers. Here are some tips that will help international students get a foot in the door during the job search.

 1)     Self-assessment and Job Search

The first and the most common question many graduate students ask is: “What can I do with my degree and what career is right for me?” Self-assessment is the first and the most important step in making the right career decision. To make the right career decision, it is important to identify your skills, strengths, and personalities before sending out applications. Taking the time to evaluate and understand your values, interests, short-and long-term goals can make the application process easier and less time-consuming. After all, self-assessment is about helping you know yourself and further helping you convey your abilities, your passions, and your motivations to potential employers. There are some free and affordable career-assessment tools on the internet that help plan your career direction. For example, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is used to classify job-seekers into one of the 16 personality types. StrengthsFinder provides a comprehensive guide that identifies your dominant strengths and talents. Hollandcode helps determine what career path(s) work best for you based on your suitability with 6 different occupational themes. In addition, most university career centers offer career counseling and assist students in preparing for assessment centers.

     The unique qualities an international student possesses include flexibility, intercultural competency, multiple foreign language skills, the ability to adapt to a different cultural and social system etc. Therefore, seeking a job with an international company based in Germany may increase your chances since most international companies tend to recruit individuals who are familiar with the language of a specific country or region for their overseas business development. To explore employment opportunities for international students, it’s worth visiting online recruiting platforms such as JA Jobs!  

      2)     Online Job-assessment Test

More and more companies use online pre-employment assessment to identify applicants with the skills and traits required for particular jobs. Those prehire assessments are used to measure applicants’ competence, emotional intelligence, work ethic, and foreign language ability. It is recommended that you seek assistance from people who are familiar with online recruitment tests. There are also articles and forums that share tips and strategies on how to prepare for online tests. 

      3)     Assessment Center

The purpose of assessment centers is to test your communication, problem solving and team working skills to determine whether you will be a good fit for the position you’re applying for. An assessment center is usually designed to simulate work scenarios where candidates are presented with the tasks and environments similar to the ones they’d be working in. The exact assessment activities used by individual employers may vary from one company to another; however, common types of exercises you can expect as part of an assessment center include presentations, group activity exercises, inbox/in-tray exercises, psychometric testing, and role playing. This testing process allows employers to measure whether your skill, knowledge, and attitude are right for the role you’re applying for. On the other hand, this sort of assessment also helps you as an applicant to find out if the company is a good fit for you

Here are some useful tips on how to prepare for and stand out at the assessment center. First, do thorough research on the company you’re applying to and analyze your strengths and weaknesses. These steps help you get a better understanding of the role you’re applying for so that you can improve the skills that you’d expected to demonstrate during the assessment. Second, be a team player. You need to be confident, assertive and collaborative to show that you’re able to work together effectively as a team in various situations. So being passive and overly competitive may ruin your chance of getting the job offer! Last but not least, simply be yourself! You’re more likely to feel relaxed and comfortable when presenting your true self.

      4)     Case Study

Case study interview is frequently used by business and management consulting companies. Case study questions are designed to test applicants’ problem solving ability, creativity and analytical skills. Typical case study questions require candidates to give an estimate based on statistical data, analyze and interpret the data from graphs and charts, and find a solution to a typical business problem. This sort of interview not only gives you a sense of what type of work you’d be doing at the company, but also presents an opportunity to demonstrate your logical thinking ability and analytical skill under time pressure.

So what does it take to ace the case interview? Developing a habit of reading business newspapers and magazines will help you understand current business trends and cycles, collect information about the profession you intend to pursue, and learn business-related tips and techniques. By doing so can you look at things from different perspectives and ultimately showcase your “out-of-the-box” thinking during the interview.

      5)     Interview

The final interview is the last step in the job application process. The interview might be conducted by a hiring manager or even a number of your prospective co-workers. Ensure that you’re well-prepared and relaxed as your final interview is your last chance to make a great impression on the employers. Familiarize yourself with how the job outlook and system works in Germany can give you a leg-up at job interviews in Germany. It is also recommended that you read through our “10 Common Interview Questions in Germany” so that you can prepare those questions ahead of time and be ready to answer them with confidence. Other tips that will help you ace the interview include: research the company’s culture, mission, values and recent achievements; bring extra CVs and other required documents; ask questions about the company or position to show your interest and enthusiasm; dress nicely and be polite.

      6)     Wait for Good News

After the job interview, there are more steps to follow. Firstly, sending a polite thank you email within 24 hours reflects your willingness to follow through with the company, which helps create a more positive impression on the recruiter. Challenging as it must be for international students to find the right job in Germany, it is important to keep hope- or to Kopf up in German! So keep searching and applying for jobs until you have an offer in hand. Also, see rejection as a learning experience and use it to improve your weaknesses, your job search strategy and your interview skill!