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Ten typical interview questions

Good preparation is half the battle – and naturally, this applies to a job interview as well. But how can you prepare for an interview, if you don't know what the questions will be? Here, we offer you an overview of frequently asked questions – including tips for answering them.

Please introduce yourself!

This is the classic opening gambit in an interview. Out tip: Tell the interviewers something (new) about you that they do not already know from your application documents. Be prepared to explain the background to individual decisions, as well as to describe why you decided to take one path rather than another.

What have been your greatest professional successes and failures?

It is clear that you would like to gloss over failures in an interview. Therefore, you should always start by talking about an exciting project that you brought to a successful completion. However, the question about failures does deserve a plausible and honest answer. Defeats are no problem. What is important is that you learn from them, so you can do better next time.

What are your particular strengths and weaknesses?

This is a classic job interview question. Here too the principle applies: it is important to answer the specific question in the context. It is quite in order to talk about examples. And another tip, in case you find it difficult to put your finger on any personal weaknesses: Ask people who are close to you. No doubt they will be able to help.

Where do you see yourself in five years' time?

The interviewer is trying to find out how ambitious you are. Therefore it is important to provide a carefully considered and specific answer. You need to know precisely what you want, and how you intend to go about achieving your goals. In general, it is important not to set overly ambitious goals, but to strike a good balance. Exaggerated career plans can leave an unrealistic impression, while vague ideas are an indication of lacking motivation and commitment.
Describe a situation in which it was difficult to convince other people to accept an idea.
This is about how convincing you are. Display that you are prepared to stand up for your ideas. But be careful: Don't exaggerate! Display to your interviewers that you have a healthy mixture of resilience and readiness to compromise.

What has been your greatest challenge to date?

You should answer this question with real examples from practical work. Describe situations from the past that reveal how you dealt with a challenging situation, and how you were able to contribute to the solution. Ideal: describe a difficult challenge that you were able to overcome.

Why have you applied to join our company / for this job?

It is easy to offer a convincing answer. Find out about the company's products or services in advance. Report on experience that people you know have had. It is possible to discuss negative aspects here as well. In brief: show that you have done your homework on the company.

Why should we employ you?

A typical question for the end of the interview. Once again, good preparation will enable you to score bonus points here. In advance, consider at least three arguments in your favor, which show your personal strengths in the right light. Convince your interviewers that you would be a benefit for the company.

What salary do you expect to receive?

Important here: it is essential that you know what the usual salary paid in the industry for the position you are applying for is. Do you have any more questions? The classic way to bring an interview to a close. Here too the principle applies: being well prepared is half the battle. Therefore, prepare a few questions in advance that you are interested in. To round off the interview, you can ask questions about the reasons why the new post is available, its position within the company hierarchy, the nature and duration of the trial period or other development possibilities that have not been discussed.

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