Job Interview: Your Key to Success

The qualification interview is the most common and crucial method for personnel selection. Following the initial screening of application documents, it offers a chance for a more in-depth, direct understanding of the candidate. Its main purpose is to verify the information provided in your CV, expand on that information, and get to know the individual who is a potential candidate for the job. This interview also allows the employer to observe how well the candidate's actual qualities align with the ideal job profile.

Proper preparation for the qualification interview is the key to success. This moment of conversation is what determines whether the employer will hire you. What is a qualification interview and how does it proceed? The interview follows a script of questions and answers. The candidate responds to the questions posed and also formulates their own questions for the interviewer, mainly about the job's conditions and requirements. The qualification interview can take various forms, depending on the multi-stage nature of the recruitment process. In a multi-stage process, the initial interview might be brief and focused solely on verifying hard skills—qualifications, work experience, and availability. If this stage goes well, subsequent interviews can explore other skills.

However, in cases where the employer doesn't foresee a multi-stage process, the qualification interview might be longer than average—lasting more than 40-60 minutes—since the recruiter would want to assess numerous competencies.

When preparing for the interview, the candidate should:

  • Be prepared for the interview
  • Possess relevant qualifications and skills
  • Effectively present their competencies
  • Demonstrate self-presentation skills
  • Know their strengths
  • Have knowledge about the company they're applying to

During the qualification interview, the recruiter can assess whether the candidate's skills match the requirements of the job.

There are various methods for evaluating hard skills. One approach is verifying the candidate's diplomas and certificates. Increasingly, skill tests are being used in recruitment processes (for example, if English language proficiency is required, the candidate might be asked to write a text in English).

The final selection of a candidate depends on many factors. There's something colloquially referred to as "chemistry." Sometimes employers choose candidates who don't have as much experience as others but fit the team better, share a work approach similar to the team's, have similar values and a sense of humor. Candidates may sometimes have uncertainties about why their applications were rejected, and even employers might have difficulty providing a precise answer—it's about that "chemistry," something that can't be fully defined.

For positions that require interpersonal skills, these skills can be assessed during the qualification interview by observing the candidate's verbal and nonverbal behavior.

If an employer is interested in additional competencies such as flexibility and adaptability to change, they might ask for specific examples of situations where those competencies were demonstrated. Thus, it's beneficial to have prepared examples of situations where these skills were displayed, as mentioned in the CV.

Here are a few important tips to consider when preparing for a qualification interview:

  • Gather Information about the Company
    Collect as much information as possible about the company you're interviewing with. This information will undoubtedly come in handy. If you can mention how long the company has been in the market, its history during that time, when it appeared in your country, its products, etc., you'll make a positive impression on the potential employer. It's also ideal if you can assess its position and main competitors. If you encounter various challenges from the employer, don't react defensively. Try to prove that you're the right fit for the proposed position. Don't confirm that you can't do something. You can mitigate any such remarks skillfully.
  • Prepare a Professional CV
    Before heading to the interview, review your CV and prepare for potential questions. Topics covered include education, work experience, completed courses, skills, and interests. In other words, everything you wrote in your CV will be scrutinized during the interview. Carefully study the job offer, examining the ideal candidate the employer is seeking. If experience in managing people is required, recall all situations where you managed a team.
  • Take Care of Yourself and Your Appearance
    It's important to prepare for the qualification interview by taking care of your mental and physical well-being. Ensure you're well-rested, relaxed, and arrive at the interview location early to avoid stressing yourself out. Your attire should be appropriate and neat. Your clothing and behavior should match the position you're applying for. If you want to be a salesperson, behave like one. Women should avoid excessive makeup and provocative jewelry or clothing.
  • Prepare Answers to Frequently Asked Questions. Think Before You Speak.
    During the interview, be yourself, and don't pretend to be someone you're not. Be specific in your responses, and avoid going off on tangents. Be clear, concise, and emphasize what's relevant. Your language should be understandable to the interviewer. Avoid using technical jargon. Allow the interviewer to ask what's really important to them. What kind of questions should you expect? Typically, the interviewer begins with, "Tell me about yourself." Respond to this question as follows:
  1. Introduce your education and work experience
  2. Highlight your successes
  3. Present your skills in the context of the job's requirements
  4. End with enthusiasm

Remember, facts matter, not generalizations. Substantiate your attributes and skills with concrete examples from your life. If you lack work experience in the industry, try to demonstrate your familiarity with it.

For questions about difficult situations at work, refer to situations you've successfully managed. Remember, you shouldn't speak negatively about a former boss. Candidates often fear challenging questions during interviews. Remember that you should anticipate such questions. Problematic question responses are rarely straightforward. Recruiters focus on your reasoning, not your choice. If the recruiter asks whether you have any questions, have some prepared. These questions can pertain to the job, its specifics, or the company. It's hard to say if there are questions that shouldn't be asked. However, avoid asking questions with easily obtainable answers, as this shows a lack of preparation. A good question to ask is, "What's most important for you in a candidate?" or "What are your plans for the next year?"

  • Establishing Contact
    This is a significant stage of the interview. The first few seconds of the encounter influence the impression you make on the employer. Your appearance and behavior affect that impression. Always be moderate. Approach confidently, make eye contact with the interviewer, and approach without fear but with respect. Wait for the interviewer to extend their hand first. The initial greeting belongs to the host. Maintain an appropriate personal distance—don't invade your interviewer's psychological space. Open arms, a slightly inclined posture toward the interviewer, and visible hands indicate sincerity, openness, and self-confidence. Sit fully but not overly in your chair. Maintain eye contact to show you're attentive and interested in what the interviewer is saying. However, don't stare at the interviewer like a painting, as this could make them uncomfortable and is artificial. A sincere smile conveys likability and a positive attitude, so strive for it during the interview.

Some common mistakes during qualification interviews include:

Lack of knowledge about the company

Inappropriate attire

Lack of enthusiasm


Avoiding eye contact

Inadequate, vague responses