Job interviews may be scary for everyone who applies for a job in a foreign country. To guide you through the personal steps that I took, I prepared this article for you that hopefully helps you ace your job interview in Germany.

Key takeaways

  1. First, you will get to know what kind of documents you should bring to the interview, that you should do some research about the company you are applying to and questions you might want to prepare.
  2. Second, you will learn what process an interview follows, how to dress for it, and how to introduce yourself at the very beginning.
  3. I am also covering whether handshakes and eye contact are appropriate during the interview.
  4. Last but not least, I will provide you with some examples of interview questions
  5. And some helpful do’s and don’ts you should be aware of during a job interview in Germany.

In this article:

Preparation for the job interview >>
Interview rounds in Germany >>
How to dress for a job interview >>
How to introduce yourself >>
Examples of interview questions >>
DOs and DON’Ts during a job interview >>

This is how I prepare for a job interview in Germany

The best way to ace your job interview in Germany is by keeping a few things in mind that are essential for your success. Despite learning how to understand and speak German correctly, which is something I covered in my article over here about nine ways to learn German, please consider getting prepared for your interview in Germany.

First, let’s talk about the essentials:

Copies of your CV and other documents

Prepare copies of your CV and additional documents that you handed in. It may happen that you will talk to a different person than the one who initially talked to you before the interview. If not everyone is as well prepared as you are, bring some copies of your CV, recommendation letters, and certificates.

Do some research about the company before the job interview in Germany

Do some research about the company you are applying to before the interview. While I think that this is important in any country, from my own experience, it is even more important in Germany. The reason for it is the competitive job market. Don’t let this chance go away if you can stand out by showing interest in the company.

It would be good to have a basic understanding of company values, types of employees, products and services, and maybe even projects they are currently working on. Having a good understanding of the markets they are operating in can also be helpful.

Social media screening

Find out more about the company you are applying for. It’s always good to check out its social media accounts before the interview. You may learn a lot by looking at their LinkedIn, Youtube, and Instagram accounts.

By the way, be prepared that the interviewer will do the same with your accounts. Nowadays, most companies check social media profiles on different platforms to learn more about an applicant’s personality.

Prepare some questions for job interview in Germany

Before you go to the interview, think about some questions you’d like to ask. General questions that you may ask are, for example:

  1. Flexibility regarding work from home
  2. Specific skills you need for your job
  3. Questions about the company culture
  4. Benefits like holidays, sick leave, coverage for public transportation, and bonuses
  5. Terms of the contract (is it a temporary or permanent contract, if not already stated in the job posting)

Questions about your salary during job interview in Germany

Think about the desired salary range you would like to earn in that job. From my personal experience, it’s not common to ask about salaries as an applicant. Usually, you will get asked by the interviewer what you’d like to earn. Being prepared for that question can be very helpful.

If you need some advice or reference, what you can ask for, you should consider visiting the following sources.

  1. kununu.com
  2. absolventa.de
  3. gehalt.de

Your current visa status

For those of you, who have not worked in Germany before, make sure to provide information to the interviewer about your work visa status. Employers prefer to know whether they need to fulfill particular requirements from the “Ausländerbehörde.”

How many interview rounds are there in Germany?

Usually, you can expect that you will have three interview rounds during the process in Germany. Of course, this is only a rough estimate and can vary based on the company or job. The higher your position, the more interview rounds you may likely have to go through.

How to dress for a job interview in Germany?

Try to get an idea of what to wear during the interview. Usually, you can find out more by looking at how they present themselves online. Try to adapt to their style, if possible, and make sure that your clothing is in good condition.

How to introduce yourself during a job interview in Germany?

Usually, the best way to introduce yourself in the German interview is by starting with a general greeting formula. “Guten Tag” is more formal than just saying “Hallo”.

In Southern Germany, you may hear “Grüß Gott” sometimes being used by the slightly older generation or when you apply for a job in the countryside.

After this general greeting, it’s time to introduce yourself by saying either

“Ich bin …”, meaning “I am …”.

Or you may say “Ich heiße …” which means “My name is …”.

Make sure you use your first and your last name and not just say either “Tom” or only use your last name.

Examples of interview questions in Germany

The goal of an interview is always to get to know you better and learn more about your intention and plans for your career. My experience is that private life and work-life are kept separate. You might get asked some questions that do not necessarily relate to work.

I adjusted some of the questions specific to your situation as you might be searching for your first job in Germany. Taking that into account, some questions will most likely be different. Your interviewing partner will try to get answers from you regarding:

  • your current skill-set
  • your personality (are you a problem solver, driver, pioneer, thinker, team worker, etc.) 
  • whether you are a good fit for the company or team you’ll be working for

Here are some typical questions you might get asked during the interviewing process.

  • What’s your intention for working in Germany?
  • Why are you considering leaving your country?
  • What are you doing in your current position?
  • What was your most tremendous success in your current position?
  • What was your greatest failure in your career? (Important here to explain how you coped with it and what you learned from it)
  • What are you proud of?
  • What are your expectations regarding the role you are interviewed for?

DOs and DON’Ts during a job interview in Germany

Besides the questions you might get asked during the interview, here are some “traps” or dos and don’ts that are important for your job interview in Germany. Germans are very mindful of integrity, loyalty, and commitment. 

DON’Ts

Don’t bore your interviewer

Since an interview is a conversation, it’s recommended that you are not the only one talking during an interview. Even if you are answering questions, try to keep them short and explain things in an easy-to-follow fashion. You might also want to ask the interviewing person whether they’d like to know more about something specific.

Don’t criticize others

No matter how bad your current situation might be, don’t find excuses for it by blaming or criticizing others for it. Try to focus on the positive things you learned.

Don’t belittle your achievements

Even if you are a job-starter or have only worked on some internships, try to explain where and why you stood out amongst the rest of the employees.

Don’t be emotional

Emotions are something you should not show during an interview. Of course, you may express that you are happy about the opportunity to have that interview. That’s something you should do. But if you had a hard time in the past for whatever reason and showing that is not a good decision.


DOs

Here are some other things you should be doing from my experience during a job interview in Germany.

Do arrive on time

Germans are very mindful of punctuality. Arrive a few minutes early for your interview. You might have to wait until the room where the interview happens is available. You may have to walk a few minutes to the interviewing room. As a rule of thumb, you can say that it’s good to arrive about 15 minutes earlier.

Do maintain eye contact and shake hands

Eye contact is a sign of confidence and respect while talking to a German interviewer. Handshakes are commonly used while greeting the interviewing partner or saying goodbye. This may have slightly changed due to COVID-19, so my advice would be to watch out for how your interviewing partner is about to greet you. If they stretch out their right hand to greet you, do the same.

Do bring something to take notes

Being prepared to take notes during an interview is a good organization. You may want to ask something at a later stage or take some notes regarding the interview. Asking for pen and paper would only display that you are not well prepared.

Conclusion

I hope that I was able to outline the process and preparations for a job interview well enough for you. With my tips, you should be able to get through an interview. An interview is always about convincing the interviewing partner of your authenticity, curiosity, and competency.
I wish good luck with you your following interview in Germany!


USEFUL INFORMATION ABOUT GERMANY

JOBS IN GERMANY
> How To Get A Job In Germany
___
INSURANCE IN GERMANY
> 15 types of insurance in Germany any expat should have in 2022
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FINANCES IN GERMANY
> Find Best Rates for Loan in Germany [Loan Calculator Guide]
___
WAGES AND TAXES IN GERMANY
> Tax return Germany – Everything you need to know
> Average Salary in Germany Latest Data
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WORKING IN GERMANY
> CV in German with Europass: How to fill in step by step
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LEARNING GERMAN LANGUAGE
> How to learn German fast: Top 10 strategies


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About the Author

Alex Z.

Alex works in product management and has been living in Germany for more than 12 years. He has been speaking German for more than 22 years. His passion is to help people, who want to live a good life in a German speaking country, to learn German super fast. Want to connect with him? Send him an email and he'll get in touch with you.

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