7 tips for the next job interview with Tractebel

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Over the last 5 years I have conducted quite a few job interviews. Meetings for a wide range of jobs with all sorts of different people. And yet, these interviews all have one thing in common: For the applicants it is a challenging situation. Good preparation is half the battle! How about a look at it through the “HR glasses” and a few insider tips for the next job interview?

Online versus offline

Corona has led to a reshuffling of the deck in many areas of life. This applies equally to the recruiting process. Suddenly job interviews were no longer conducted face-to-face on site, but online via Teams, Webex, Zoom, etc. Even if this has in the meantime almost become the “new normal”, I also take a look at the differences between online and offline in my tips. This is because the pandemic has led to changes in some of the priorities of HR personnel and recruiters.

1. Do not hide being nervous – it hardly ever works anyway!

It is better to accept that you are somewhat nervous. Ultimately, it makes no difference whether the job interview is with an experienced freelancer or a young career starter: Every interview is about getting to know each other for the first time. Nerves are therefore understandable and can even indicate a form of respect for us as a company. After all, if you aim to appear completely relaxed and full of confidence in conversation, you can often overshoot your goal and then come across as disinterested or even arrogant.

In the online format of an interview, perception of facial expressions and the tone of speech is amplified. For those of us who are nervous, this means: Do not worry about taking a sip from your glass of water or making a brief pause before answering. Taking a deep breath helps and is absolutely OK!

2. Seek information about Tractebel –
we notice that!

A tip which is very important both online and offline and is neglected surprisingly often. By this I do not mean simply memorising our key figures. Instead, it is about showing genuine interest in Tractebel. You should be familiar with the following issues:

  • What are the current challenges facing the energy market?
  • In which regions do we operate?
  • Examine the job description closely and be aware of the differences compared to your own curriculum vitae! (A few deviations are not dramatic. Especially not if you know how to deal with them.)
  • Google the typical salary range for your position and compare it with your expectations.

Having the perfect or exactly the right answer to these questions is not the issue. The key is to be thinking about these questions already in advance.

You will be able to find appropriate information at the following platforms:

3. Extra tip: The question about work culture

Very few do ask about it, and yet it is an immensely valuable tip. As a recruiter I am of course your first point of contact. But why not simply contact a potential fellow worker via LinkedIn or Xing and exchange views in advance? These social media platforms have been created specifically for the purpose: “I’m considering applying for a job with your company, could I ask you something about XYZ in advance.”

I can tell you from my own experience that such contact is taken as a sign of respect. It is a quick way of getting into a conversation and gaining inside information for the job interview. 

4. Not too much self-praise

Every job interview is a form of advertisement for oneself. Of course, we all present only our positive achievements and characteristics. However, those who present too much about themselves and talk in great length about their feats of heroism achieve precisely the opposite. In my view, an honest and authentic presentation about previous positions, challenges and goals is the most sincere way to convince. These kinds of statements are more grounded in reality and therefore have more impact.

Taking a gamble and aiming too high when it comes to salary generally misses the target. An applicant or candidate who is 20% above the average salary on offer is in most cases considered to be out of touch or even completely unrealistic unless there is a good reason for his demand. Taking a look at portals such as StepStone, etc., will help avoid situations such as this.

5. Questions during and after the interview

I offer this to candidates and freelancers all the time and it is never just an empty phrase: “If you have any questions after or before the interview, please do not hesitate to ask me.” We are all allowed to forget something and then ask it later. Questions are not a sign of poor organisation, but of interest. In this respect, we have become more direct after Corona. A quick phone call or a short email is questioned far less now. That is a good thing!

6. Take care in online interviews – when the postman knocks three times.

In a face-to-face interview there are few opportunities for distraction, except for your mobile phone. At home, however, in an online interview, the postman, clamouring children, barking dogs, etc., are lurking. One would almost think that they are simply waiting for the start of the interview. Do not panic! Nearly all of us have had experience of home office due to lockdown. Every one of us must surely be able to recall such a mishap right now. That is simply human!

The best way of dealing with interruptions: Request a short break. Sort out the situation as quickly as possible, remembering the last spoken sentence on the subject. That will then make it easy to resume the interview: “Thank you for your patience. You said that the position is in Bad Vilbel. What is the situation in terms of premises there?”

7. It’s the sound quality that counts

When it comes to an online job interview, there is no risk of not finding your way there or not getting a parking space. However, there are a few stumbling blocks here too that can be avoided with sufficient preparation time. Online everything stands and falls with the technology! Checking the charge level, internet connection, etc., one more time will ensure that the interview gets off to a smooth start. Incidentally, the sound quality – provided by a good microphone – is more critical than a flawless 4K image. After all, being honest, this is unfortunately not yet possible everywhere in the German network anyway.

My summary

With these tips, nothing can go wrong with your next job interview! Regardless of whether it is online or face-to-face: At Tractebel we always try to conduct our interviews directly and at an equal level. An invitation to a job interview means that we are genuinely interested in the applicant and would like to get to know them as a potential fellow worker. We are looking for a person who shares with us the challenge of the energy transition and the provision of supplies for people. This involves experience, strengths and successes, as well as weaknesses. Authenticity wins out! Bending over backwards for a job doesn’t achieve anything. 

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