Preparation and follow-up work for applications

“You and your CV are unique – you can bet on it!” Before and after the interview: how to go about things efficiently

Even if you start out your search euphorically: looking for a job can be laborious and tedious. This makes getting an interview seem even more like good news. Grab your chance by arming yourself well. Robert Half explains how to prepare efficiently for the big moment and what questions are allowed in an interview.

How do you know that someone has prepared well for an interview?

The fundamental rule is: companies don’t hire a piece of paper, but a person. Have you highlighted important milestones in your CV that explicitly fit the job advertisement and the company? Then you’ve achieved something important: you’ve made yourself interesting. This approach shows thorough preparation and creates solid conditions for getting invited to an interview.

And how specifically do I make myself seem interesting during the job search?

First: draw parallels between you, the job advertisement and the company. What connects you and these things? For example, you could write: “You're looking for an expert in accounting and controlling with very good English? I lived in the USA for two years." Second: offer them added value. Say, for example: “You’re looking for a financial expert with an official diploma? I’ve been working in controlling for the last three years and last year successfully completed the higher level examinations as an expert in accounting and controlling.” So: show parallels, create added value – and do it in five sentences.

On the job search: when does it make sense to make contact for the first time?

Distinguish yourself from other applicants, be brave! Of course you are allowed to call up the company after your job search. It could be that the title of the job description doesn’t necessarily match the content of the job. The description “bookkeeper” could be in the job advertisement, even though the company is really looking for an expert in accounting. But you will only find this out if you speak to the HR department or the specific department before applying.

How do I prepare for the interview?

An interview depends entirely on your participation. Don’t make them have to draw the answers out of you, contribute proactively.  

Inform yourself about the company before the interview, write down questions for it. You’ll gather some extra points by brushing up on the industry and having arguments ready for why this particular branch of business interests you. Finally, ask yourself this question with regard to the job advertised: what fascinates me about a controller's job and why do I really want to do it? Then you can think about the right questions for the interview. Like: what would my daily tasks be? How big is the team?
And afterwards? Can you follow up after the interview?
Of course! It’s completely fine to call up a week after the interview and ask in a friendly way when you can expect to hear their decision. Or even better: find out in the interview itself if and when you can get in touch. That’s a sure bet.