Attending a job interview in another country can be daunting. It is always hard to envisage which questions you may be asked, and where the main emphasis of the interview will be placed. Will the emphasis be placed on your professional skills? Your personal and social skills? All are important, but make sure to prepare for a lot of personal and behavioural questions. Behavioral-based interview questions focus on how you have handled various work situations in the past. Your response will reveal your skills, abilities, and personality.
If you have been selected for an interview, you would most likely be able to fulfil the requirements for the hard skills in the job. Enough hard core matching skills have been detected in your CV, so the professional/technical skills match is, so to speak, in place.
You will of course be asked clarifying questions about your professional skills during the interview. But be prepared for quite a lot of personal and behavioural questions, as recruiters will also try to determine if you are a “nice fit”.
Recruiters will explore if you have a genuine interest in the job and if you are truly motivated to take on the required responsibilities. It is essential to explore, if you are (cognitively) overqualified in order to avoid future job dissatisfaction and boredom, which could potentially lead to poor job performance. Moreover, it is important to explore how you work, how you solve problems and how you fit into the work environment and company culture. Do we like each other? Can we work together? Do you fit into an existing team?
Finally, a recruiter will also explore what the company values mean to you, and how you imagine this affects your daily work. So, to conclude, your personality, social and personal competences play a major role in the selection.
Typical interview questions
How would you describe yourself?
- Tell me about yourself – make sure that your answer is not a repetition of your CV. Try to find an interesting way to introduce yourself, and maybe let the recruiter know how you think you match the requirements and what made you apply.
- What are your strengths? And you weaknesses?
- What motivates you?
- What does success mean to you?
How do you work and relate to other people?
- What kind of people do you like to work / be with?
- What kind of people do you find it most difficult to work with?
- Describe how you handled a difficult person?
- How well do you fit into a group? And how have you contributed to the group?
- Could you give us an example of a situation where you had to deal with a difficult customer / employee?
- What do you expect from your next manager /group?
How are you perceived by colleagues?
- What would your manager/ colleagues / references say about you?
- What will you be remembered for?
Positive and negative aspects of your work
- What did you like most about your last position?
- What gave you the greatest satisfaction? Or: What are you most proud of?
- What have you done to make significant contributions in your workplace?
- What are your weaknesses?
- What did you like least about your work?
- What was the biggest problem you have ever had to face?
- Describe some situations where you wish you had behaved differently with someone on your job.
What did you do? What happened?
What did you learn?
- Describe an experience where you were persistent.
- Give some examples of situations where your ideas were met with resistance during a discussion.
What was your reaction?
- Describe the most important decision you made last year.
How did you involve others?
- How did you invite your group to communicate and share information?
Remember: Recruiters will expect you to have prepared for questions like the ones mentioned above. Try to think about specific examples that explain your points. It is advisable to have at least three examples of successes in relation to specific tasks or to working in a team. Also try to find some examples where you failed. We all make mistakes, what is interesting is how we coped with it and what we learned from it.
What NOT to ask
There are very few “no goes”, but what you should never ask about or mention until you are asked is salary and benefits. This is usually one of the last questions you are asked, when you and the interviewer are about to wrap up the interview. You are expected to have a general idea of the salary in your field, and be prepared to mention at least a salary range.
Here are a few suggestions of useful salary calculators:
Jobindex salary calculator (in Danish)