Job Interview Made Easy | Ingo Depner | Skillshare
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10 Lessons (39m)
    • 1. Can you tell us about yourself

    • 2. What are your strengths

    • 3. Why do you want to work for us

    • 4. Why should we choose you for the job

    • 5. What are your salary expectations

    • 6. How do you handle criticism

    • 7. Where do you see yourself in 5 years

    • 8. Are you willing to work overtime

    • 9. How do you handle failure

    • 10. Do you have any questions for us

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About This Class

This course has been designed to give you the competitive advantage in a job interview. It will boost your job interview skills & provide you with all the information you need to feel confident, prepared and ready to give a great job interview.


“Job Interview Made Easy” is perfect for you if you want to:

  • Maximize your chances to get a job
  • Know what to expect in the job interview 
  • Improve your job interview confidence

The key to success is being prepared

This course will prepare you for the 10 most common job interview questions. By doing your homework prior to your interview, you will make the impression you desire. You will learn all you need in order to be able to give answers that make you the top choice for the job. 

Meet Your Teacher

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Ingo Depner

Professional German Teacher


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1. Can you tell us about yourself: can you tell us about yourself? Basically, every job interview starts with this question. Many drop candidate think that it's an ice breaker or a warm up, but that's wrong. You are already in the middle off the job interview, and actually, it's one of the more important questions. Now let's see how to handle it, and I'll start with what you should not do. All right. First of all, the answer should not be longer than 3 to 5 minutes, so you cannot really tell your whole life story there and you're not supposed to. You don't have a lot of time, so don't go into topics that are not relevant, such as childhood stories, personal problems or problems you had in previous jobs. Thinks you like doing your free time or hobbies, you know, unless asked, it's better to keep your private life to yourself. It'll make you look more professional, and that's why you're there, right to get the job, not to make new friends. In Germany, private and professional life are often strictly separated, and even after getting the job, you usually don't talk about your private life with your colleagues, so the focus should be on topics that are relevant to the job you're applying for. You describe your education and what you've done so far in your career. That makes it clear that hiring you for this job is the next logical step because you have the necessary experience and are the perfect fit. And that's exactly what the hiring manager or H R representative is looking for. While you're talking, they analyze your answers and pay attention to the way you present the facts. If your presentation is interesting and to the point or boring and not relevant to the position, of course you want to avoid the latter because knowing how to prioritize is also very important in the workplace. And they can evaluate that by the topics you choose when answering this question. Now, if you applied for the job after seeing a job advertisement online or in a newspaper, it is crucial that you know the content off the job ad very well. I'll be repeating this several times throughout the course. I'm talking about the requirements and the job description. This might seem trivial, but still many candidates fail here. They use the job at to determine if they're interested in the position. But when they're invited to the interview, they talk about their professional experience without linking it to the job description for that specific role. And that's a mistake because the HR representatives or hiring managers either wrote the job ad themselves or know it very well. So if you incorporate specific points from there in the presentation off your own professional experience, you will leave a positive impression because they'll think, Okay, this person has what it needs. They have exactly the experience we're looking for. For example, if the job requirements include project management skills or team working skills, and you've done that in your previous jobs, it's very good to mention this when answering the question. All right, let's summarize. You have about 3 to 5 minutes for this question, so don't tell your whole life story. Don't go into topics that are not relevant for the job. Don't talk about your private life, and the doors are prepare and practice the answer for the question so that it sounds interesting and eloquent. Describe your education and relevant experience in a way that shows that this job is the logical next step in your career include details from the dock description in the presentation off your profession experience and that's how you can ace this question. 2. What are your strengths: What are your strengths? This is also commonly asked question and job interviews, and you must be able to answer it well in order to land the job. A good preparation is important because you want to stand out and speak about your strengths in an authentic way rather than sound like a bragger. Now interviewers ask this question because they need to fill the position with someone who can perform and get along with the team. And that's why you want to show them that you can do the job, that you have the necessary skills and experience and that your strengths align with the company's needs. The problem is that many people aren't comfortable selling themselves or speaking about what makes them great. But it's important to get over any hesitation and show the hiring manager or the HR representative that you're the right person for the job. You know, with a good preparation and authentic examples. Even introverted or shy people can make it very good impression. And how do you do that? First of all, it's a good idea to brainstorm, make a list and write down everything that comes to your mind. This can include professional experience, talents, soft skills, education, anything that is relevant for the job Possible examples are problem solving skills, teamwork. You're good at organizing events, selling or marketing managing. You have experience with similar clients or products. Be creative and specific. Don't choose to generic strengths that anybody could claim. The next step is narrowing down the list to 3 to 5 main strengths and preparing good examples from your professional experience toe illustrate each of them. This is very important because usually the interviewer wants to get to know you better so that they can determine if you're a good fit. And therefore choosing good and relevant examples makes you stand out now. I mentioned it before. Keep the job advertisement in mind. When you prepare your answer, your chosen strengths need to address the requirements off the job. They will want to hire you because of your skills and qualifications, not because you're a nice person. That's also important, but not enough. So telling the interviewer that you're a vegetarian or a non smoker isn't really a suitable answer. Let's have a look at some answers that might be problematic. I perform best under stress. Basically, you're saying that without stress you don't really work, or at least that's what they'll understand. I'm ready to learn new skills now. That's definitely a good thing and important, but it's not a strength, you know. The company wants to hire you because of your current skills, not those that you haven't acquired yet. I can take criticism if your biggest strength is Thea Bility to take criticism. Your potential employer might get the impression that you've been criticized a lot in your career because you weren't working well and you don't want to create that impression, so it's better to think off other examples. All right, so to summarize, it's very important to prepare yourself for this question because they will most probably ask it for the interview, choose three specific strengths that are relevant for the job. Don't be too humble. This is the time to sell yourself, be authentic and choose strengths that you actually possess and be prepared to back each up with a good example. 3. Why do you want to work for us: Why do you want to work for us? One of the biggest complaints of hiring managers is that many job interview candidates know very little about the company they're interviewing for, and that's why I actually like this question. When answered correctly, It will provide you with the opportunity to impress your potential employer, and that's crucial for your success. But let's start with some answers that are not so recommended. It's a great company to work for. Well, that's nice, but it doesn't really say anything. I need the money. It may be true, but it's not what they want to hear. I heard there were some open positions that doesn't make you sound very enthusiastic about the job. You know, a job interview is like a date. That's why it's recommended to avoid giving reasons that would work for just any company. Show them that they're special and that you want to work specifically for them. The interviewer asks this question in order to understand how well you prepared yourself for the interview. What do you know about the company? What are your expectations for the job? Do you really want to work there, or is it just a temporary solution, and that's why it's essential to know the company very well. Do some research and gather as much information as possible on the company's website is the best place to start. Read all off the about US section press releases, history, mission statement and company values. Check out their social media accounts, do a Google research and look for recent articles about the company. Trends in the industry. Competitors. Financial data All off. That is crucial information that you can use to demonstrate knowledge off the company and the industry, and that will enable you to give specific reasons why you want to work for them. For example, your admiration for their services or the company's management philosophy. Find a way to give an answer that connects between your values and the company's values. Tell them what you like about the company, and if it's the case that you identify with their mission, all right, let's summarize when asking this question. The interviewer wants to make sure that you're really interested in that job at that specific company, and that's why you need to be prepared to speak about your motivation and show that you know the company very well. So demonstrate knowledge off the company and the industry identify specific reasons for choosing this firm. Avoid a general answer that could apply to just any company. And that's how you leave a good impression. Set you apart from other candidates and convince the interviewer that you're serious about working for their company. 4. Why should we choose you for the job: Why should we choose you for the job? Well, the interviewers job is to hire the best person for the position. Most of the candidates that make it to the interview stage are qualified for the job. The winning candidate must be more than qualified, especially in today's very competitive job market. Now why should we choose you for the job is an interesting question, because it can also be kind of a psychological test. Sometimes, the interviewer asks it with a smile. Sometimes in a more aggressive way, your answer is important, but they also want to see how you react in stressful situation. Do you start stuttering and feeling intimidated, or do you remain calm and give a focused answer? And this is your chance to convince them that you have a good self evaluation? You're a good fit for the job. You want to work for their company and are not just looking for any job and that you will deliver what they are looking for. So for your answer, you should use elements from the questions. What are your strengths and why do you want to work for us and connect them? And that will convince them that you want exactly that job and exactly that company. Now, how do you do that? You impress them with knowledge off the company. You remind them off your strengths and illustrate how you would use them in the new job. You give them examples off successful projects from previous jobs and link them to the requirements off the new job. And thus you show them. Look, I've done that before and I was successful, and you show them what you have in common, for example, shared values or the same vision. So basically, you demonstrate how your experiences and skills would benefit them if they hire you and not the other way around. This is a mistake that many candidates make. They focus on themselves rather than demonstrating what's in it for the company. Let's have a look at some bad answers. I want the job Well, all the other candidates also want the job. Why should they choose you? I will work hard. That goes without saying and is not a strength. I'm the best for the job. Well, this might be true, but, you know they should come to that conclusion based on your arguments. If you say that is a statement, it will definitely create a bad impression. So to summarize, with this question, the interviewer is actually asking you to sell him on you, and you can make his job easier by convincing him that you can do the work and deliver exceptional results. You possess a combination off skills and experience that make you stand out from the crowd and you will fit and beautifully and be a great addition to the team. And that's how you can show him that you are the best person for the position. 5. What are your salary expectations: in this lecture, I'll be talking about the question. What are your salary expectations? Many job seekers don't know how to answer this question or feel uncomfortable asking for the compensation package they actually want. There are several reasons for this. Let's look at some off them. They were never taught how to negotiate correctly. They're afraid that negotiating will make them look greedy and ungrateful. They're afraid that the potential employer will get angry and they lose the job offer. Now. These are all valid fears, so let's see how to overcome them and execute a successful salary negotiation. First of all, it's very important to gather a lot of information and prepare well. For this question, you need to find out what the salaries are for your type of position in the industry. You can find this information by doing a research in the Internet, and I also add a document with a lot of interesting information and typical salaries from different industries to the resource is section off. This lecture another way, is talking to people who work in this area or, even better, who worked for the company where you apply for the job. Check your linked in profile to see if you have any contacts that work for your potential employer. Some important questions are. What is the prevailing celery in the industry? What is usually included in the compensation package? What is the size of the company would like to work for? What is the cost off living in the city you'd like to live in? The answers to these questions will help you know your market worth and create a salary estimate based on your work history and the job market. Find out how you would add value to the company, what benefits they would get by hiring you. But keep in mind that your interviewer should bring this question up, not you. If you do, it would leave a bad first impression. And, of course, you want to avoid that. If the company is interested in you, they will ask the question sooner or later. And then your best strategy is being well prepared. It's an interesting fact, and I mentioned it before. Most candidates ask for a lower salary than the company would actually be willing to pay. They feel employers won't agree to something higher. But how is that perceived on the employer side. Let's have a look at our own behavior as consumers. When you go to the supermarket, you typically choose a product based on a good price. Performance ratio or value for money, usually wouldn't buy the cheapest available option. If you buy toothpaste, for example, you want a quality product. Now. If that tooth based costs 10 euros, that's kind of a luxury good, and not many people would go for that one. On the other hand, if it costs 30 cents, that seems too cheap. So something must be wrong. And it's probably not a good product. A lot of research has been done in this field, and it showed that most consumers choose the affordable product in the mid price range. Now what does that have to do with your salary negotiations? Well, when a company invites you for a job interview, the interview goes well and they ask you about your salary expectations. That's a sign that they're interested in you and thinking about hiring you. If your salary expectations are too low, they might start doubting your qualifications. It's like the cheap toothpaste. Something must be wrong. You know they liked your CV. The interview went well. You sold yourself and convince them that you can deliver what they need, and then you ask for a low salary. Aren't you aware of your market value? Don't you know your industry? Can you really do the job? In any case, there will be doubts, and that's not good. Now. Should you give a salary range or an exact number? Well, there are pros and cons for both. Option. You know, when you give a range, be prepared that employers will likely choose the lower end. Don't be offended, because if the employer gave you arrange first, you would likely choose the highest android. If you're asked to be the first to disclose a salary number, giving a range is seen as you being flexible and cooperative, something they often prefer in employees. And according to a study from Columbia University, even if the numbers you set are ambitious, people don't want to insult you by going lower than your bottom range. So keep in mind if they tell you a number, it'll be most probably a lower number than they're actually willing to pay, and your number should also be higher than what you really want? Let's have a look at the short answer to the question. How much do you think we should pay you? Well, according to my research and past experience, my understanding is that 50 to 65,000 per year is typical based on the role and requirements. This shows that you did your homework and that you know your worth. All right. Now you'll be able to navigate the tricky waters off salary negotiations in order to get the compensation package you really want. 6. How do you handle criticism: giving and taking criticism is an essential part of our jobs. The thing is that performance feedback works differently across cultures. So what is considered effective in other countries might not work in Germany and the other way around in order to give a good answer to the question, How do you handle criticism? It's important to know that particular aspect off German business culture. So let's have a look. In Germany. You don't single out specific accomplishments or offer praise unless the accomplishment is truly extraordinary. From a German point of view, these positive work behaviours are normal rather than extraordinary. Employees are expected to do a particular job, and when they do that job, they do not need to be recognized. On the other hand, Germans are not afraid off confrontation and being straightforward, tough, direct, critical to the point. Negative feedback isn't considered rude and shouldn't be taken personal. It's simply a different feedback style that is aimed at improving productivity. They don't criticize you as a person, but your performance and it's not done in order to humiliate a person, but rather to get the process moving back in the right direction. All right, so how do you handle this? The question is designed to understand your response to feedback. Do you get defensive or upset? Are you quick to assign blame? You know, constructive criticism is an important part of professional growth, and this is a good chance to show your potential employer that you are open to improvement and striving to do better. Even though receiving criticism can feel lousy, show the interviewer that you're happy to put your ego aside and act upon feedback and advice. Explain that you think that criticism is an important agent off change and you're open to receiving feedback in order to further your growth and development. So the steps are as follows. First, you listen to the criticism objectively. Then you repeat it in your own words to make sure that you understood correctly. Ask for specifics, decide whether the criticism is valid or not, and act accordingly. Sometimes criticism can spring from a person's doubt about your abilities, jealousy off your success or pure revenge fullness. So depending on the situation, you may need to stand strong and be confident in your abilities as a ways it's a very good strategy to give a really life example, because it shows that your answer is based on your personal experience, and that's what the interviewer wants to hear. Make sure that the example illustrates that you have dealt with the criticism objectively, taken ownership off the problem and used it to improve your work. And if you are in a leadership position, you will also need to show that you are responsive to criticism by calling a follow up meeting to discuss feedback and work towards solutions. All right, so let's summarize some do's and don't do listen objectively do take ownership and responsibility. Do learn from it. Don't get defensive angry or rude. Don't make excuses. Don't take it personally and that's how you can ace the question. How do you handle criticism? 7. Where do you see yourself in 5 years: Where do you see yourself in five years? This is not an easy question to answer, especially nowadays, where our behavior is changing and we don't stay with one employer for a lifetime, as previous generations did. Job hopping every 3 to 5 years is pretty common and sometimes even recommended in order to advance in our career and get paid more. But what about the companies? They invest a lot in hiring the right talent for their teams, and employee retention is a big thing for them. It is costly toe constantly train new employees who will benefit the company only after a certain period of time. And that's why you should treat your answer to this question as an opportunity to highlight your ambitions and your dedication to the potential employer. So let's have a look what information you need to gather in order to give a good answer. First of all, it's important to know the industry and the different career paths that are available. Then it's crucial to know the company where you're applying its departments and fields off activity, do some research on the values and vision off the company. You know you need to find the balance between realistic and over ambitious. You don't want to undersell your abilities or appear to be lacking and drive, but you also don't want to give them the impression that you're after the bosses. DOB. You could say that in five years time you would like to have learned and progressed enough to be in a position off greater responsibility, perhaps taking on a manager or project management role. Make sure you come across as enthusiastic but avoiding portraying yourself as a ruthless go getter who would do anything to fight your way to the top. All right, you see that the answer is a combination off your personal goals and your growth opportunity at your future job. And now I'd like to mention some points that are important to keep in mind. Don't be surprised if the interviewer asks this question. They assume that you have goals in your life and expect you to be able to talk about them. Stay realistic and think what kind of career goal would make sense Based on your professional experience so far? Keep your answer specific toe work. Don't mention your plans to travel Mary or have Children this could have a negative impact on your job application. You might want to emphasize that you are very open minded toe whatever opportunities may arise and would welcome any training and career development they have to offer. And that's how you can create a positive impression and show them your motivation, passion and drive so that they will consider you as the perfect candidate for the job. 8. Are you willing to work overtime: are you willing to work overtime? All right. Before talking about the best way to answer this question, I'd like to give you some background on the German business culture regarding work ethics. As you probably know, Germany is the economic engine off the European Union. It's the industrial powerhouse and the leading manufacturer off goods for export. At the same time, German workers enjoy shorter working hours than most off their global counterparts. So the question is, how can a country that works on average 35 hours per week maintained such a high level of productivity? Well, the answer is that in German business culture, when an employee's at work, they should not be doing anything other than their work. Facebook office gossip with co workers surfing the Internet and pulling up a fake spreadsheet when your boss walks by are socially unacceptable behaviors, and there is zero tolerance among peers for such activities. So when a German is at work, they're focused and diligent, which in turn leads to higher productivity in a shorter period of time. Now, since the working day is focused on delivering efficient productivity, the off hours are truly off hours. You know The German government has even been considering a ban on work related emails after six PM to counter the excess ability that smartphones and constant connectivity give employers to their employees. Okay, so that is the background information that you need to keep in mind when you prepare your answer to the question. Are you willing toe work overtime? The thing is that many candidates really want the job, and they're willing to say anything in order to get it. For example, no problem at all. I'm used to working overtime in my last job. It happened a lot that we stayed two or three hours longer in the evening. That's nothing that scares me. This seems like a good answer that shows that you're ambitious and hardworking. But there is a problem. It creates the impression that you're not efficient or well organized. You don't seem to possess the required time management skills to finish your work within the allotted time. Therefore, you constantly work over time, and that's an impression you want to avoid right now. Another conclusion that the interviewer can draw from that a little bit too enthusiastic answer is that you don't have a social life and that work always comes first again. This might seem positive for them, but in terms of work life balance, it's important to have free time and weekends to relax, spend time with friends, recharge body and soul so that you can come back to the office and be a productive member off the team rather than become overworked, burned out and frustrated. So in your answer to this question, you want to convey the message that you consider over time as an irregular or occasional activity. You can give an example from a previous job and say that you've worked very efficiently and therefore over time, used to be an exceptional occurrence rather than a routine occurrence. But of course, if necessary, your flexible and willing to do overtime in order to make sure that urgent projects are delivered on time. And that's how you can show your potential employer that you're well organized and that he can also count on you if need arises 9. How do you handle failure: How do you handle failure now? This is a tricky situation, Toby in usually in a job interview you want to impress, but here you're explicitly being asked to talk about something. You fail that. So what do you do? How do you talk about failure without sabotaging your chance off landing a job offer? First of all, there is no need to worry. Hiring managers don't expect you to be perfect. They know that everybody fails and ask this question in order to learn more about your past job performance. Are you someone who can learn from failure? Are you self aware enough to acknowledge failure? How do you view success, failure and risk? In general, you know, it's no shame to acknowledge a previous failure. In fact, the ability to recognize your own failings and learn from them is an important quality and will work in your favor as long as you demonstrate the right attitude towards such experiences. Failures, usually providers with our greatest lessons and the ability to learn from them shows maturity, self awareness and an ability to grow. So how do you prepare for this question effectively? First of all, you want to go through your work history and come up with an example off something that went wrong or a mistake you made, or a project that failed. You don't have to confess your deepest and darkest secrets. Choose a real failure. But don't raise red flags about your professionalism. Then show them how you took responsibility for the failure. Without being negative or defensive. You analyze what went wrong and how you could have done better. The idea is to have something that shows your determination, problem solving skills and the send off someone they can trust to handle things even if they go wrong. And the last part of the story is the outcome. Off the situation. You demonstrate that you learned your lesson and how you would approach a similar situation today so that the same mistake won't happen again. All right, so to summarize, talking about failure is not easy. It might be strange to think of failure as a good thing, but even the most successful people have probably failed at something at least once. Their secret is that they learn from their mistakes. So the key here is to acknowledge where you went wrong, took a positive lesson from it and moved on. If you can demonstrate that you never made the same mistake again, that will impress your prospective employer. And if you present your story with all these components, you'll definitely have strong answer. 10. Do you have any questions for us: Do you have any questions for us? You can be sure that this is a question that will be asked at the end of every single job interview. Just remember that as a candidate you are an equal participant in the interviewing process . This is a crucial opportunity for information exchange for both of you. So you're actually also interviewing your prospective employer to see if they are a company you would want to work for. What's more, if you ask questions in an interview, it shows that you're interested in the job and the hiring organization. Employers want to hire people who are interested in the job, So if you really want the job, you are likely to have questions that you want answered. Asking questions also shows that you are prepared. You know, employers love it when people are prepared for interviews because it shows them that you are likely to be well prepared for meetings and other tasks if you work for them and this will make you stand out in the interview. On the other hand, if you don't prepare any questions, you run the risk off the interview, assuming that you aren't really interested or having prepared so saying no, I don't have any questions is definitely the wrong answer. Now, how do you come up with questions that show that you're the perfect candidate for the job? Well, when you're doing research about the company and carefully reading the job description, write down questions about the organization and your role there. Asking industry specific questions is good, too, especially if you've read something in the news or if recent government legislation has affected to the industry. This will show the interviewer that you're keen and have done your homework. By the way, it's also good to have a note pad and pen in front of you during the interview because questions that arise from the interview itself are often the best. They showed that you were actively listening, are interested and are able to follow up on such things. Okay, so let's have a look at some good questions to ask. What would a typical work they be like for me? By learning mawr about the day to day tasks, you will gain more insight into what specific skills and strengths are needed, and you can address any topics that haven't already been covered What do you like about working for this company? The answer to this question will generally tell you a lot about the organization, its values and how the employees feel about the company. This helps you to make sure that you're comfortable with the culture and the dynamic off your prospective employer. What are the next steps in the interview process? This is the most important question you can ask at the end of the interview. It shows that you're eager to move forward in the process and will also help you gain important information about the timeline for hiring so that you can follow up appropriately . And remember, don't ask about salary benefits or vacation just yet. Wait for them to bring it up, because what's in it for me? Questions can be interpreted as self centered and the sign off your lack of interest in the job. These topics should be discussed later when you're close to an actual offer. So to summarize, when you are looking for a new position, it is important that you learn as much as you can about the organization. Doing research and asking questions will give you the information you need to determine whether it is a company you would like to work for or not. In addition, preparing smart questions will show the potential employer that you are committed as a candidate and really interested in doing the job. By the way, you probably only need two or three questions because you don't want to grill your interview and that's it. Good luck.