Oh, my God. This headhunter contact could really be worth gold! Everything has gone smoothly so far – an informative phone call, a pleasant initial conversation – but now comes the first real hurdle: the job interview at the company. Just being good is not enough anymore, you’ve got to be great. Top Headhunters reveal their best tips on how to grow from a suitable candidate to the best candidate.
The job interview obtained through a headhunter is the superbowl of job interviews. Now you have to prove whether you really belong to the first-string or if your place is more on the bench. Only rarely do technical shortcomings thwart a successful job interview. Rather, a candidate’s behavior is more important. Headhunter Thomas Friederichs warns: “Never forget: the headhunter recommended you for an interview with his client. Without the headhunter, you would not be on the list of candidates.” Until the first interview, the company has a positive outlook on you because it trusts the headhunter’s recommendation – it expects an excellent candidate. For you that means just being “good” is not enough. You have to come across as a “perfect fit“. You should go into the interview with exactly this attitude, that you are perfect for the job.
Never be too sure of your cause
It’s a mistake to believe that the invitation to interview has already secured you the position. Quite the contrary, the company is now putting you through rigorous steps to see if you meet their high expectations. Make sure to develop professionalism in your inner attitude and remain humble. Of course you’ll be “courted”, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t have to worry about your own motivations.
Thomas Friederichs advises: “Be aware that the job interview is only the entry ticket for the next career step. It’s a peer review interview where you have to fight for your cause.”
Never sell yourself short in the interview
Don’t forget, the company is looking for an all-around all-star, so you should be able to pinpoint exactly what makes you stand out from the rest. If you downplay your own achievements, the client perceives them as such.
Top tip from Thomas Friederichs: “The client wants to know why you are excellent for the position. Clearly explain in the job interview what makes you so extraordinarily good!”
Deliver only accurate and reliable information
Everything you say in the job interview must be 100 percent consistent with the information that the company obtained in advance from the headhunter about you. Whether it’s about how many people you’ve led, what your income expectations are, or how many key accounts have been in your portfolio, you need to provide consistent information.
“Make the facts clear and verifiable. Because your interviewers are interested in the truth,” says Thomas Friederichs.
Be active in the interview
Normally, the interview structure is the responsibility of the company and the headhunter. It would be a mistake, however, if you only answered their questions from this comfortable yet passive role. It shows too little activity/interest.
Thomas Friederichs recommends: “Answer the following questions for yourself: ‘Why am I going into this interview? What result do I want to achieve?’ This helps you to define your own motivations and goals. Prepare carefully, and in writing, on topics such as:
- Job functions
- Corporate culture
Ask the questions that are important to you. If you don’t you could get labeled as ‘disinterested’ “.
Excellent preparation is the alpha and omega
The client will expect you to have informed yourself in detail about his company. However, if you trip-up already on the question of company size, or something else equally as easy to determine, the application process will be completed very quickly.
Thomas Friederichs tip: “As an excellent candidate, you should not only inform yourself about the company, but also have an opinion about your potential employer. If you have any questions about the company values and culture you can address and answer them in the interview.”
About the author
Jörg Peter Urbach is the author, editor and blogger of Sprachleidenschaft. He has been writing for more than 25 years, for print and online. Concepts. Stories. Journal articles. After studying musicology and German language and literature, Jörg Peter worked as an editorial manager in the classical music business. As long-time chief editor of the portal wissen.de, he knows how to inspire readers with clever topics.
If the native Kieler is not writing, he is walking through the Alps. Or listening to the opera. With mindfulness.