Interview (preparation) guide

To help you prepare for your interview, we have enlisted tips that you may want to use in your preparation. These tips are divided in different sections: before the interview, during the interview and after the interview. In case you have questions, want to have more background information about the tips, or want to prepare your interview together with us, send us an email via: studentcareerservices@wur.nl.

1. Before the interview

1.    Read the vacancy text / website / future vision of the organization carefully.

2.    You can check on LinkedIn whether there are more WUR alumni working at the organization or not. You may want to ask them how it is like working there and if they have any tips for your interview).

3.    Make sure you have prepared questions on beforehand that you can ask during the interview.
Example questions: what do you think a person makes a good candidate for this position? What kind of person would be a good addition for the team?

4.    Look up the persons with whom you have the job interview via LinkedIn: you can get to know their background and functions.

5.    Think about 3 strengths of yourself, desirably which fit well with the vacancy (requirements). Try to think about STAR(R) examples of these strengths as well (STARR method | LU Careerzone English (universiteitleiden.nl)).

6.    Also think about 3 points of improvement. When discussed during the interview, elaborate on that you can still learn to develop these points.

7.    Think about those things that you still want to learn, what kind of skills would you like to get during the job? This is especially of importance during an internship.

8.    Make sure you can tell something about yourself, your pitch: who are you, what do you want? Tell the read threat of your life until now.

9.    Think about why you are motivated for this position: what motivates you so much why you want to work for this function/organization?

10.  Make sure that the photo you use on your CV is comparable with how you currently look like.

2. During the job interview/on the day of the interview

1.  Wear professional and clean clothes. If the organization is informal, adjust your clothing style to this.

2.  Take a notebook and pencil with you, so you can write down keywords during the conversation.

3.  Take a few copies of the vacancy text, your CV and motivation letter with you in a binder.

4.  Make sure you are at the location on time, approximately 10 minutes on beforehand.

5.  Write down the contact details of the person whom you have the interview with. In case you are too late, you can still contact that person to tell you are a bit later.

6.  Try to be yourself during the interview, be authentic. Tell personal examples, show them who you are as a person.

7.  Try to have a bit of small talk when you are on the way to the room where the interview takes place.

8.  During the interview: answer the questions. Try to stick to the point and not talk endlessly by giving much information. If you do not know the answer, state that you want to think about it and will get back to it later. During the interview there should be a conversation instead of a monologue of answers. So try to answer the questions short and powerful, so interviewers can react on it.

9.  Ask questions yourself as well. Max 5 questions are sufficient.

10.  Show the persons whom you have the interview with why you want to have the position. Be specific and clear, show your interest/motivation.

11.  The interview often takes 45 minutes – 1 hour. Often 6 candidates are invited for the first job interview. A second interview can be needed when there the interviewers still need to make a choice. At that time, often there are 2-3 candidates left.

During the online interview

1.  Pay attention to the light: are you well visible?

2.  Pay attention to your background: what do you show? (No moving objects/persons, your bed, or distracting filter).

3.  Make sure you are comfortable: sit on a chair in which you sit straight and well.

4.  Put away your phone (and on silence) so that you cannot be distracted.

5.  Test your internet connection on beforehand.

6.  Get to know the program in which you will do the interview. Do you not know it? Look it up and watch a tutorial.

7.  Make sure you sit in a quiet spot. If the interview is in MS Teams, you can turn Noise Suppression to High. More information: Reduce background noise in Teams meetings - Office Support (microsoft.com)

8.  In case there is no waiting lobby, you will be accepted to the interview meeting immediately. So prepare yourself for this, make sure you have your pitch ready because the interview starts right away.

9.  The online interview often takes about 30 minutes.

The end of the interview

1.  Ask what the next steps are: when do you hear back from them? What is the entire application process?

2.  If you want, you can ask: are there many people interested in the vacancy? Often this is mentioned by the organization. Do not ask: how many applicants are there?

3. After the interview

1.  If you are selected:
Congratulations! For questions about the agreement or conditions:contact Astrid van Noordenburg to brainstorm about the job proposal via Planzelf.nl (wur.nl). The responsibility stays with you, but brainstorming can help you.

2.  If you are not selected:
- Ask about feedback: why did you not get selected? What could you have done better? These questions allow you to learn a lot from the interview.

- Do not say on beforehand (after the interview): I would also like to apply for other positions within this organization. This does not show your motivation for this specific position. Rather say (when you hear you did not get selected for this position): I am very interested in the organization, are there any comparable positions available (on the short term)?
- Stay professional and react friendly on the rejection: perhaps the recruiter has some leads for you.