Practice answering the recruiter's questions

Questions about your work record

  • What do you think about your work record/are you happy with your work record?

  • Why do you want to change jobs?

  • What failures have you experienced in your career so far? How do you explain these?

  • You have worked for three different employers over the last five years. How long do you expect to stay with us?

  • How did you fit in at company XYZ?

  • What did you do between April and September XXXX? (a question that is asked when there are chronological holes in the CV)

  • Tell me about your profession.

  • What were your greatest achievements?

  • What were the best results you obtained?

  • What did you learn during that time?

Questions about your profession

  • Why did you choose this profession?

  • What do you know about this industry?

  • Do you know the main competitors in our industry?

  • How do you see your career developing in the coming years?

  • Have you ever considered re-training?

  • Why did you decide to re-train?

  • Don't you think you're overqualified for this position?

  • Where do you see yourself in three/five/ten years?

Questions about your work practices

  • Do you ever take work home with you in the evenings or on the weekends?

  • How do you deal with pressure at work?

  • Why do you enjoy teamwork?

  • How do you function within a group? (What role do you like to play within a group?)

  • How do you react to conflict when it arises in your department?

  • What do you do if you have a disagreement with your supervisor?

  • What character traits irritate you the most?

Questions related to the company

  • Why did you choose our company?

  • Why did you respond to our ad?

  • Why would you like to work for us?

  • What do you know about our company?

  • In your opinion, what constitutes a good ……… (the job you wish to have at the company)? Referring to the adjectives you provided, the recruiter will ask you whether you possess those specific skills. (Use examples to illustrate your response.)

  • What contribution do you think you can make here? Why should we hire you?

  • Are you in touch with other companies?

Be careful about using jargon and abbreviations specific to your profession. If you are speaking with a human resources representative, there is a good chance that this person will be unfamiliar with your field and therefore won't understand your language.

Intrusive questions

During the interview, the recruiter may try to test you to observe how you react to certain situations. To this end, the recruiter may ask you some personal questions that you are not legally required to answer (refer to article 328b C.O.)*. Prepare your answers to avoid becoming confused in this situation.

  • Do you have a girl/boyfriend?

  • Why did you get divorced?

  • Why aren't you married?

  • Do you belong to a union?

  • Etc.

Don't leave these questions hanging; even if they are intrusive you should give an answer. However, the way you respond will reflect your personality, so don't go to pieces!

 The pregnancy issue

It is tricky to take a stand on this issue. In most cases, it's a private matter and accordingly you have the right to hide the truth. On the other hand, in cases where the position being sought is physical in nature or poses a risk to the pregnancy (waitress, handling toxic materials, etc.) the employer is entitled to a truthful response.

*Art. 328b 3. Use of personal data
Employers may only use data regarding an employee if they concern the employee's ability to do the job or if they are necessary to carry out the employment contract. Furthermore, the provisions of the Federal Law of 19 June 1992 on the protection of data are applicable.

Prepare the questions that you will ask the recruiter during the interview

To give you some ideas, we have created a short list of questions that you can jot down on your pad before the interview.  Don't forget to record the recruiter's answers.

  • In which department is the job?

  • Where is the job positioned on the company's organization chart?

  • How many people will there be in my team/department?

  • Who will be my supervisors/subordinates?

  • What projects are currently in progress?

  • What is your company's development policy?

  • What is the corporate culture like?

  • Is this a new position or a replacement?

  • Will training be required for this position?

  • What will be my responsibilities or my tasks? What is the job description?

  • What are the prospects for growth in the job?

If the recruiter does not broach the subject, don't raise the issue of salary or employment benefits during the first interview.

Some questions should generally wait until the end of the interview, when the recruiter will ask you if there is anything else you would like to know:

  • What is the next step in the recruitment process? (Record the answer precisely)

  • Who will be getting in touch? You or the company?

  • When is this likely to happen?