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Prepare for your first interview and avoid stress

Marek Žalud
Marek Žalud Country Manager CZ/SK

Students very often take on casual part-time jobs or positions that are not related to their field of study. This is a good way to broaden your horizons and get to know the labour market. However, it is worthwhile to gain experience in a field that really interests you while you are studying.

The decision to apply for a job can be stressful for students and graduates. But as we'll show, the recruitment process isn't so scary. By preparing well, you can not only give yourself some peace of mind, but also improve your chances. How to do it? The following article can serve as an inspiration.


1. Inform yourself in advance

Get information about the company you are applying to. Use the power of the internet and the resources available on it. LinkedIn, social networks and company websites are a treasure trove of knowledge. It's a good idea to learn about the organizational culture, values and specialties. The recruiter will be positively surprised if you shine with your knowledge of the potential employer, the role you have chosen and why you want to work for them.


2. Think about your answers

Prepare your answers to the most popular questions. During the interview, you will certainly be asked about previous work experience. Pay particular attention to the duties and tasks related to the position you are applying for. In addition, consider what the reason for the job change is, if you have already had one. The most common answer is usually a lack of development opportunities, so prepare other arguments to make you stand out from the crowd.

Remember that as an employee you are the face of the company you work for (or want to work for), so never speak ill of your current or previous employer. Even though you may not have been completely satisfied at your last job, phrase it as diplomatically as possible.


Common topics and questions in job interviews:

  • Future career plans and direction.
  • Dealing with difficult, non-standard situations or conflicts at work.
  • Examples of professional and life achievements.
  • How do you cope with time pressure?
  • What motivates you in your daily work?
  • What would the company gain from hiring you?


3. Prepare yourself in a foreign language

Be prepared to test your foreign language skills if the position requires it. Listing foreign languages on your resume is not enough. Recruiters include a short segment in the selection process for multilingual positions where they check your conversational skills by asking you a few questions in a foreign language. It is therefore advisable to prepare your answers to the questions in the previous step in the foreign language you speak.


4. Clarify your financial expectations

Think carefully about your salary. The recruiter will certainly want to know your financial expectations and whether you are willing to negotiate. Therefore, it is a good idea to find out what the salaries are in the market for the position you are applying for. Remember that salaries can vary by industry and location. Our brief overview can help you get a basic idea of what junior salaries are. Download it here for free.

You may also find it interesting to look up the rates of senior staff or those in managerial positions (and whether career progression is even possible). If you're applying for a junior position, you can't expect the same salary as a specialist, but you can get clear on whether you see the potential to enter the industry and pursue it in the future.


5. Consult a specialist

Consult a recruitment agency about your entry into the market. This is an ideal opportunity to broaden your knowledge of the current labour market situation, the current salary trends and the benefits offered by companies, as well as to ask about your doubts. The consultant will take note of your CV and job search preferences and may contact you later when a suitable job opportunity is found for you.

Even when interviewing directly with a particular company, don't be afraid to talk to the recruiter about things that interest you. After a series of questions focused on you, it's a good idea to ask about things like a typical day at the job you're applying for, the development and training opportunities the company offers, and other benefits. If the next steps in the recruitment process are unclear, you should also ask about the timeline of the process so you know roughly when to expect a response from the recruiter.


6. Bet on good manners

You can only make a first impression once, so make sure you look neat and professional. This also applies to online interviews! If you want to leave a good impression on the recruiter, you should adapt your appearance to the atmosphere of the company. You can easily find this out in advance from their website or social media. In general, clean and neat clothes are always the key to success, but whether you arrive at the interview in a suit or in so-called "smart casual" depends on whether you are applying for a job at a bank or a not-quite-formal start-up.

Punctuality is also part of a good first impression. Keep an eye on the traffic situation. For online interviews, make sure you connect fifteen minutes in advance and check that your internet is working and that you have a working program for online calls.


7. Take it easy

Avoid basic mistakes. The most common one in a job interview is lack of preparation, which can make you act stressed. So do this "homework" and think through the steps above. But above all, be yourself. Honest and truthful answers will be the most correct. Remember that the person in front of you is also just a human.


Fingers crossed for your next interview. If you would like us to help you with your job search, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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