Before the interview

To quickly attain your goal of signing an employment contract, make sure you are thoroughly prepared for your job interview.

Get ready for the D-Day

  • Carefully check over your CV in order to have your work record clearly in your mind (you will certainly be asked to comment on it point by point). You may also want to re-read any work certificates that are particularly positive. Also revise the job description as well as your cover letter. Memorize all the information that you are sure to be asked at the interview.

  • Prepare yourself to answer any questions on any gaps in your CV or any sections that may be unclear.

  • Prepare examples that will allow you to demonstrate your skills, your know-how and your ability to manage multiple tasks.

  • Gather information on the company (e.g. turnover, number of employees, market position, name of the founder, country in which the head office is located, name of the CEO, etc.).  Based on this information, prepare a few questions about the job or the company, the work methods, the organization, etc. and write these down.

  • Carefully prepare your materials the night before.

  • On your writing pad, put the name and number of the person whom you are meeting, along with the company's address.

  • Find a salary scale for your profession in order to be able to indicate your salary expectations. (salary calculator in French, German or Italian)

    • It is better to indicate a salary range rather than a precise amount.

    • The gross salary is what is usually discussed.

    • Some companies refer to an annual salary, others to a monthly one; calculate both and jot them down on your writing pad so you won't be caught off guard.

    • Always keep in mind the minimum amount you wish to get. But think it through if you are offered a lower amount. Sometimes it's worth considering a company's employment benefits and downgrading one's salary expectations (for instance, if your health insurance as well as your family's are covered by the company, if there is free child care, etc.)

 

Download the checklist for the interview

A phone call can boost your chances

A phone call can give a serious boost to your application. However, it has to be prepared just as carefully as a face-to-face interview.

There are two types of situation in which a phone call can be useful:

  1. You are calling the company before sending in your application. In this case you can mention the phone conversation in your cover letter.

  2. You are calling the company about ten days after sending in your application file.

Tips and tricks for a successful phone interview

Goal: obtaining an interview

A phone call aims at the same result as a cover letter: obtaining an interview. Therefore, make sure to put the odds in your favor by preparing carefully, for example following a guiding thread of questions you want to ask and information you need to get.

Straight to the point

The phone call should be rather short. The person you are talking to shouldn't feel like they are wasting their time talking to you. Get straight to the point, namely getting an interview.

Documents you should keep in reach

  • Your CV (with relevant information highlighted)

  • The job ad

  • A piece of paper and a pen

  • Your organizer

  • A copy of your cover letter or email (if you have already sent it)

Controlling your voice

  • Speak with composure and slowly.

  • Articulate.

  • If possible, slightly drop your chin to prevent your voice from rising up.

  • Remain calm and polite.

  • Smile! (communication experts know very well that a smile can be heard though the phone.)

Topics that should be avoided on the first phone conversation

  • Salary.

  • Vacations and other benefits offered by the company, even if they are publicly known.

  • Don't get too personal. For example, avoid talking about hobbies, even if you have found out while googling their name that the person you are talking to is a water-ski champion.

  • Avoid commonplace topics (such as weather, traveling, sports, etc.) that are not related to the interview and will give the impression that you are not serious or that you are wasting the interviewer's time.