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How to master the different types of job interviews in Germany

If you’re looking for a new job in Germany, the first step is to understand how to best prepare for acing the interview process. For this, it is important to know that there are different types of interviews. And that they require different forms of preparation. 

How to master the different types of job interviews in Germany

In this blog post we will thus look at the following typical interview forms in Germany:

  • Intelligence/Personality tests
  • Video interviews
  • HR or Recruiter interviews
  • Classical job interview
  • Technical Interview
  • Cultural Fit interview
  • Assessment center

Ready? Let’s jump in.


1. HR or Recruiter Interviews

This is mostly the first interview you will have with the company. Commonly, this one lasts around 30 minutes and is done virtually or via phone. The goal of the recruiter or HR person is to check in about your knowlege and experiences you mentioned in your CV and get a first understanding of who you are as a person.

The best way to prepare here is to make sure you have a strong pitch (what makes you the right candidate for this job) and to prepare answers for the typical interview questions (“whats your motivation for this job?”). You can find out some typical questions in this blog post here. Also make sure to prepare some questions to ask at the end. Remember, this is also your chance to learn more about the company and the job.

2. The Classical Job Interview

This is the official job interview. Here you will be interviewed by one of your future managers (the “hiring manager”) and many times there will also be other representatives of the company as for example someone from HR, the department head or some colleagues. This interview usually lasts a bit longer, typically 45-60 minutes. Here you will be asked not only the typical interview questions, but actually job-related questions to find out if you can do the job successfully.

As preparation make sure to read the job ad carefully and for each bullet point in the job ad, know examples of things you have done that prove you can do the job or your plan on how to learn specific skills. This is your chance to shine. Also here, remember to ask questions at the end that can help you identify if this is the right job for you as well.

3. Video Interviews

This is a type of interview that is sometimes used as a screening function before inviting you to the official interview. There are different softwares used by companies which also means that there are different ways of how you need to work through them. But typically you will get a pre-recorded set of questions and you need to answer them within a set time-frame by recording yourself on video. 

Because the process of answering while being recorded can feel a bit overwhelming when you haven’t done it before, we recommend that you actually prepare for these types of interviews by practicing being in front of a camera (your phone or in your laptop) and recording yourself. By doing this you feel much more relaxed on the day you do the official video-interview.

4. Intelligence and/or Personality tests

Companies sometimes use so called intelligence or personality testing measures to get a more objective assessment of a candidate. These tests are someetimes used in advance to invite you to the first interview. The goal here is to gain some more key insights into your knowledge and/or personality traits. While they are not very common in Germany, we still want to give you some tips if you encounter them.

Commonly you will need between 45 – 60 minutes of time to work through the test but many of them have a specific time-limit set. You can try to prepare for them by googling some examples online and familiarizing yourself with the way they work. However, the main goal of the tests is to be honest. So make sure that on the day of the test you have a place where you can work without being disturbed by anyone and where you can feel rather relaxed. Also make sure to read the instructions carefully and create a good timing plan to be able to work through the whole test without feeling time-pressured towards the end.

5. The Technical Job Interview

More and more companies are including a technical interview in their hiring process. This means they want to see you in action. 

In the IT sector you will commonly encounter coding challenges, that you either have to solve while they watch you or that they will send you via email and give you a period of time until when you have to send it back to them. In more business related settings, they will either send you via email a case study presenting a business challenge related to the role and expect you to present your results during the interview. Alternatively, they give you some time during the interview to prepare for the case study and present it right after. 

To prepare make sure to familiarize yourself with case studies. You can find many examples online but try to also filter these case studies based on the job/industry you are applying for. Keep in mind that many times the goal of the case study is not to see if you solve it 100% perfect. Mistakes are allowed. It is more about your approach and how you handle feedback afterwards.

6. The Cultural Fit Interview

The good news is, this is the easiest type of interview. The goal is to meet other team members so that both of you can understand if there is a cultural fit. What will be important here is to prepare many questions you want to ask other team members and to show your interest for their work and for the company. Also be very authentic and do not play any role. Remember, if they give you the job you will need to work there every weekday, so being able to be authentic is key for your own happiness and health.

7. Assessment Center

For many management trainee positions or senior management jobs, companies will do so-called assessment centers. These can vary between 1 day or 1,5 days. During an assessment center, various skills and competencies will be tested in live action. You will need to work on different tasks also with other candidates.

It is very important to not forget to network during the day as you will find many representatives of the company. So make sure you take it seriously and try to show your skills and personality.

As there are many things to consider for the preparation of an assessment center, we put together this blog post for you sharing some more tips with you.

Summary: How to master the different types of job interviews in Germany

We hope that now you have some better understanding of the different types of interviews and the things you can do to get better prepared for them.

No matter what interview you are facing, always remember: There is a reason why the company invited you in the first place!

Now, if you are currently not so happy with the amount of interview invites you are receiving and feel you receive too many rejections,  make sure to check out our brand new masterclass  “Land your dream job interview in Germany” where we put together all the knowledge you need to understand the recruiting process in Germany and create outstanding application documents. On top you will access a free community of international talents and have the chance to attend free webinars to support your job search process. Find out more here.

Picture of Laura Villafuerte

Laura Villafuerte

HR expert & Career Coach

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