AAU Career

Job interview

You have already come a long way!

If you are invited to a job interview, you have earned it! Either by submitting a great application and a well-made CV or in some other way made an impression that you will be a good match for the position.

Part of the interview is about the personal chemistry between you and the appointments committee. It can be very difficult to do anything about this.

However, there are many other elements of the job interview that you can prepare for and practise beforehand.

Nice to know when you have a job interview

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    What should I remember at the interview?

    There are some specific ”customs” when it comes to job interviews. We hear about them again and again.

    Some of them are listed here:

     

    Make sure to match the company’s ”dress code”

    Do not show up in shorts and a Metallica t-shirt from 1988 if you have seen in pictures from the workplace that people are usually wearing shirts. On the other hand, you should not put on a tie either, if it looks like the custom is to wear shirts without a tie. In other cases, a washed-out band t-shirt can be the perfect choice.

     

    Show up on time, but not too long in advance

    Obviously, you should not be late for an interview – but it does not necessarily give the best impression it you show up a long time in advance. Doing so, you might risk running into some of the other candidates for the job, and there are employers who prefer to avoid this. A rule of thumb is to be there 10 minutes before, and if you arrive earlier, it is a good idea to wait outside for a bit before going in.

     

    Bring notes and application / cv

    It can be nice to have some talking points written down on paper from your preparations for the interview – we are also told, that you generally seem more prepared if you bring different materials to the meeting. The notes can also help you remember what you have written in your cv and application and help you avoid too many repetitions or omissions. You should also bring some good letters of recommendation that you would like to present.

     

    You are allowed to have an opinion

    Of course, you need to think about how controversial your statement might be. Being provocative is not the aim – it has to be insightful and show perspective, just like your application.

     

    Be yourself

    It is an old cliché, and it is extremely difficult to be yourself in a situation that you would like to go well. Luckily there are many ways to ”find yourself” in stressful situations – for example, you can sit down and listen to some music that makes you relax – just for a few minutes before the show begins.
    It’s the fact that you are YOU that makes you unique – not a lot of extra props – remember that!

     

    The interview begins as soon as you enter the front door

    It is not only your behaviour in the interviewing room that your potential employer is forming their opinion about you. Think about what impression you give, e.g. when being asked to wait in the lobby for a while.

     

    Find out what the job is actually about

    You probably know a great deal about the company, its values, strategies and so on, but how much do you actually know about the different tasks of the job you are interviewing for? Seize the opportunity to get to know more about it during the interview. This way it becomes easier for you to talk about how you would solve the tasks on a practical level, and you can be better prepared if you get the job.

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    What questions will they ask me?

    There are some questions that we can almost guarantee you will be asked at a job interview. Therefore, it is a good idea to consider them in advance and think about how you would answer them.

    It might be formulated a little differently, but chances are high that you will be asked something along these lines:

    • Tell us about yourself
    • What are your strengths and challenges?
    • What do you expect from your manager?
    • How would you describe yourself as a colleague?

    Practise answering out loud – that way it is easier to feel if you stumble and then you know if you should practise a bit more. The better prepared you are, the more confident you seem.

     

    Find more questions  

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    What type of questions can I ask at the interview myself?

    Prepare a couple of questions to ask at the interview. The meeting is not an interrogation but a conversation that should lead to figuring out if you are the right match for what the company is looking for – and, if the company is what YOU are looking for. The questions should reflect, that you have done your research on the company and preferably also questions that you are not able to find the answers to anywhere else.

     

    Examples of such questions could be:

    • What do the employees say is the best thing about this workplace?
    • What would it take for me, in a year to say, that I have succeeded in this position?

    Generally speaking, it is a good idea to pick up on what’s relevant. This means, that if you have noticed specific words that have been used more times, or if they mention something that you could not have known about beforehand, then ask about it.

     

    Read about asking questions

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    What if I have to do a personality profile?

    It is increasingly widespread that companies use different types of personality profiling and analysis in connection with recruitment and usually they are relatively spot on in their results.

     

    Not for ''putting you in a box''

    The purpose is not to use the profiles to ”put you in a box”. If handled correctly, they can give really good insights into the respondent’s behaviour in a work setting and can provide the foundation from which to start a dialogue about how you thrive in different work settings and with different tasks, or how you act as a colleague and employee.

     

    Be honest

    Remember not to put yourself in a box either. Do not try to anticipate what type of profile the company is looking for, but answer the questions you are asked with honesty.
    If the company is looking for a profile that is not who you ”are”, then, the question is if you would even thrive in the job?

    Therefore, you should consider how you prefer to work and how you act as a colleague – and then stick to it.

    This way it is possible to enter into a constructive dialogue where you get to show that you are aware of some potential pitfalls, and by paying attention to these might already be the first step in overcoming unwanted situations.

     

    How to apply your knowledge of the profile

    • Apply some examples to the statements that you recognise in the personality test. If for instance the profile says that you appreciate systems and accuracy, you might support this by explaining that this is the reason that you are usually the one who proofread your group projects and makes sure that all formalities are in order.
    • You should also consider those elements of the profile that you do not recognise right away. You could try and speak to someone who knows you well in order to get an ”outside perspective”. Sometimes it can be very difficult to put one’s own behaviour into words. It is the self-reflection that has the most value in connection to the personality test – not necessarily the answer that comes out of it. So make sure to be honest with yourself.

    Remember: there are no right or wrong answers and no answer is better than the other. Therefore, the main goal is to get as much reflection from the profiles as possible.

     

    Read about personality profiles

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