Job Interview

General Information

Remember, a job interview is in no way an oral exam, so no points will be awarded for giving the right answers and there is no such thing as getting enough points to get the position.

What a job interview actually is:
The employer is interested in the applicant; otherwise they wouldn't have taken the time for setting up an interview. The interviewee is not a petitioner but rather a conversation partner.

Job interviews can proceed quite differently. No one job interview is he same as another: the length, the number of interviewers, as well as the type an content of the conversations can vary greatly.

That notwithstanding, there is one thing that all employers have in common: There are specific basic questions that the employer seeks to have answered in the job interview. These questions are usually not asked openly, but they are usually based on the following:

  • Why are you applying to work at our company? What is your motivation to work here?

  • Do you possess the proper skills and knowledge needed to help our company succeed?

  • Will you fit in well with our current team? Will you fit in well with our company / Institution?

  • What differentiates you from other applicants with similar qualifications?


To have the best job interview possible please pay attention to the following points:

  • The skills and knowledge you possess related to the position are considerable qualifications to help you get the position desired. In order to advertise yourself in the best manner possible, you should know in advance exactly what qualifications the employer is seeking. With displays of special technical knowledge the applicant is able to impress the potential employer than with general answers. This will be critical when the topic of potential salary is to be discussed.
  • Learn as much about the potential employer as possible. Go over their homepage. Try to find out as much information on the company and their branch as possible. It is not necessary to learn everything by heart, even less so to start listing everything about the company in a job interview, but it is important to give the impression that you are well prepared and well informed about the company being applied to

You have to know about the world around you to be able to present appropriately!

  • Try to read up on current world events before going to the job interview. Current events can be a topic in the job interview, especially if they are related to the field in which the company works.
    If a rival company was, for example, shortly bought out by a foreign competitor such the applicant should be aware of this and able to give input on the matter.
  • Please read books and articles regarding the generic job interview questions; not to learn generic answers by heart but rather to be prepared for the type of questions that will be asked. Doing this will minimize the risk that a question might be asked that where no good answer could be given, but with proper preparation this embarrassing situation could be avoided. For more literature on the subject feel free to stop by the Careerbüro Job&Weg. (Literature predominantly in German)

During the Interview


  • During the job interview pretty much the same rules as with the letter of application apply: Please discuss concrete examples and not just give generic answers or phrases! Goals, solutions, potential problems, and specific facts or numbers come across quite nicely when used in this context.
    An excellent example:
    "When I was doing X I had Y problem and I did X to solve said problem."
    Empty Phrase:
    "I am always motivated and am very responsible. It is important to me that I give my best. Responsibility and high motivation are my strengths."

  • At the end of the interview the question, "Do you have any questions for us? "is soften asked. Here you can take the opportunity to show your interest and motivation by asking an interesting question. Think of an appropriate and interesting question to ask at the very end as statements such as, "You've answered all my questions" does not go over very well.