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How to Tackle the Top 10 Most Common Interview Questions in Germany

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Congratulations! After sending your CV and waiting anxiously to hear back from an employer, you will finally receive an invitation to the job interview. The interview can be one of the most exciting and challenging aspects during the whole job application process, as acing the interview is the final step to landing a job. Its usually conducted by your prospective manager and a number of employees from HR department. Some employers tend to ask tricky questions in order to get to know who you in a real situation and thus to hire the best applicants. Although it’s impossible to predict the exact questions you’ll be asked, it is still important to prepare thoroughly for some key interview questions. When it comes to interviews, research and preparation are keys to success. This will help you answer the questions with ease and outshine less-prepared candidates. Therefore, we compiled a list of top 10 common interview questions and hope that it will help you master the interviews!

 1) What are your career goals? (Where do you see yourself in _ years?)

Remember, most employers want to hire someone who is truly enthusiastic about the job and is willing to stick around. As recruiting, hiring, and training new people can be a time-consuming, expensive and difficult process, your employer does not want to invest time in someone who does not see a future within the company. Hence, as a fresh graduate without much experience, it is important to reaffirm your realistic ambition and dedication to the job you’re applying for. Make sure to do company research to find out which potential position you’re interested in and the company’s long-term goals. It’s better to answer to question by letting your employer know you’re passionate about the job and how your expectations and goals align with the growth of the company. For an international student, looking for positions that require multilingual ability and expat experience can help you demonstrate your dedication to helping the company grow overseas.

2) Why are you interested in this position? Why do think you are suitable for this job?

As simple as it might seem at first glance, this kind of question usually help employers screen out candidates who just want a job just for the sake of making a living. Many interviewers ask these questions in order to gauge your level of interest and dedication and to see what you know about the company. Avoid giving generic answers as it shows that you haven’t done enough research on the company. Instead, try to give a thoughtful and organized answer tailored to the company’s values and goals that can showcase your interest and qualification. As a rule of thumb, make sure that you know the skills and experiences that this position requires, recent news and events about the company, and the company’s mission, culture and values. Talking about how the company and the position align with your personal values and your own goals can make your answer sound more specific.

3) What experience do you have in this field?

As a fresh graduate, how do you answer this question when you have little work experience related to the position? Remember that the key to succeeding at the interview is to SELL yourself. Think about what internships, volunteer work, part-time jobs or any extracurricular activities you’ve done that require similar skills, elaborate on those experiences and demonstrate to the employers that you will be able to contribute and do the duties with some other similar experiences. It is also recommended that you highlight the transferrable skills you get from those experiences, such as oral and written communication skills, interpersonal skills and time-management.

4) What are some of your strengths?

As a foreigner, your level of German is one of the employer’s concerns, especially if the position requires German language ability. So be sure to let the interviewer know that you are dedicated to learning the language well (e.g attending German classes, giving in-class presentations in German…etc). Which can be interpreted as some of the strengths that most foreign students have- willingness to learn new things and intercultural competency. It is also important to take the time to identify your work-related strengths, whether it be experience, soft skills, education or even personality. Then develop at least one example to illustrate each of your key strength so that interviewer can know that you’re able to perform the job well. It is your job to sell yourself at the interview so don’t be too humble!

5) What do you know about our company?

This question is asked to gauge how the level of research the candidate has conducted on the company. The response can be indicative of the candidate’s level of interest in the position. As mentioned earlier, a thorough research on the company is one of the keys to impressing the interviewer. So gather the information by reading the company website and press releases, reading newsletters or blogs for more information on the sector as a whole, and making good use of social networks to find out more about their company culture. Getting a better understanding of the history, key players, competitors and financial status of the company can immensely help you ace this question.

6) How would your friends and colleagues describe you?

This is another way of asking about your strengths and weaknesses. The purpose of this question is to get to know more about you in the eyes of others in order to verify if you possess good interpersonal skills, as the ability to establish good communication with others is vital in today’s competitive market. To answer the question, keep in mind the qualities your employer is looking for. Elaborate on those qualities (e.g. cooperative, people-oriented, flexible, etc) with specific examples of how you display them.

7) What’s your biggest failure so far?

This is similar to the question about the most difficult problem you faced. As a fresh graduate with limited or no work experience, discuss a failure in school, college or university. The key thing the employer wants to hear from this particular question is what and how you learned from the failure. The first step in answering this question is to choose a real failure from which you learned valuable lessons. Then organize your answer into three parts: the context (what was the failure? What was your role?), actions that caused the failure, and what you learned from the failure. When being asked about the problems you faced, take the problems you faced in Germany as a foreigner for example and describe how you dealt with and learned from the difficulties.

8) What did like/dislike most about your previous job/ work experience?

This question provides the interviewer with further insight into your approach to what you liked and disliked about that aspect of your position. This question is often asked to see if you’re satisfied with the position you’re applying for. In answering this question, focus on the positives of your last job that have prepared you to take on a challenging new role at a different company. As most interviewers ask this question not only to learn about your work background but also to measure your positivity, do not badmouth or talk negatively about your previous employer. Instead, try to frame your reasons for leaving the previous company in positive terms and explain why you prefer to work for the company you are applying with. For entry level candidates with little work experience, talk about what you liked about your recent internship or school projects and how this position can further develop your interests and potential.

9) What is your motto of life and why?

This open-ended question provides an opportunity to demonstrate the aspects of your personality that make you the best fit for the job. Use this as an opportunity to show that you can clearly articulate your personal values and motivation. For example, if you want to demonstrate how you are willing to learn new things and take risks, explain your motto that relates to the fact that you stepped out of the comfort zone as an expat. Of course, explain the meaning of your motto in English or German if it’s in your mother tongue.

We hope our interview preparation tips will help you put your best foot forward and make a good impression at the interview. Since a good preparation is always essential to a successful job interview, it is recommended that you prepare and practice responses for these questions with native speakers who can give you feedback on the things you need to improve. Also don’t forget to research the company you’re applying to. The more specific you know about the company, the more likely you’ll get the job. Lastly, as an international talent, don’t hesitate to make reference to your international experience when answering interview questions!