Congratulations: thanks to your carefully crafted application and Europass CV, you’ve got an interview. But how do you turn it into a job offer?
Finding work can be a full-time job in itself, so it is vital that when you get an interview you make the most of it. “The smallest details can be decisive,” says André Atalaia Samouco, a EURES Adviser in Portugal. “What we say, the way we say it, how we sit, how we behave. My advice can be summarised in very few words: honesty and authenticity.”
Preparation is key
Do your research. The more you know about the company and the industry, the more comfortable you will be. Visit their website and look at press cuttings for news stories.
André explains: “If you are applying for a commercial role, for example, it is important to have some fundamental ideas about the market and the changes it is going through.”
Next, practise your answers – with a friend or family member and out loud if possible. You may not know exactly what questions will arise, but you can prepare some responses about yourself and your goals. Decide why you are the best person for the job and be confident about presenting this.
On the day, dress smartly but comfortably and allow lots of time to get to the interview. Try to relax and remember the company is interested in hiring you: they would not have asked to meet you otherwise.
Bear in mind, too, that an interview is a two-way process: the questions you ask can be as important as those you answer. Have questions ready in advance, but also respond to things discussed on the day.
Processes vary from country to country; for example, in Portugal, an interview should never last more than 45 minutes, and while letters of recommendation may be considered an advantage, it is not current practice in Portugal to cross-check references. The booklet You Will Hear From Us provides more detailed advice on interviews in each of the EURES countries.
André concludes: “Preparation for an interview is not a memorising of words or a performing act, but honest reflection about the advantages an employer may gain from our work and dedication. My experience shows that it is profitable to demonstrate that we have skills and values; that we behave in a way that the employer will benefit from by employing us.”