Keep our advice in mind, and you’ll be armed with better information, a well-rounded approach to communication and questioning, effectively giving you a far greater chance of landing that perfect job. After all, now that you’ve got your interview coming up, it’s vital to do everything to maximize your potential. 

How to Prepare for Any Interview

Preparation on the big day comes down to one thing - composure. There is no one way that each of us reaches that place of calm, where we're completely in control and able to exude our personality despite the pressure of the big day. Nonetheless, that is the state that every candidate is looking to command when interviewing. Start by preparing early. Make a checklist of your concerns, and see to it that each of them is resolved. We've got a step-by-step pre-interview checkup coming up soon to take care of the basics.  List any concerns and potential questions you're afraid of being asked while visualizing yourself progressing through the process.

See Your Success

With a framework of your concerns and goals for the interview in mind, run the scenario of being interviewed through your mind. Start wherever you want - even at the point of waking up, but make sure that you repeat this until you can see clearly yourself composed and in control of your interview. With this blueprint for success ingrained in your mind, you'll have a place of sanctuary to go when stress, worries, or any pre-interview angst begins to get in the way. The better practiced your vision of the projected outcome, the less negative thoughts to throw you off and steal energy from your much-needed positive impression.

Second-Language English Tips for English Language Interviews

Just because you're applying for a job as a coder, developer, or UX designer, this doesn't mean that your communication skills can be lacking. Yes, it may be true that you'll be speaking conversationally with team members, but all professional communications leading up to your interview, and after, need to be flawless. English as a second-language only is nothing but a hurdle - mistakes won't be overlooked. Rather than taking a risk, make sure that your verbal understanding of concepts and company-specific pronunciations are correct.

Proof Read and Check Everything! Again! 

Furthermore, every email, letter, or brief conversation via online messenger needs to be properly proofed. There are tons of tools out there that make written English not only grammatically correct but easier to understand as well. If you're not used to conversing in English, then have a friend or your recruiter proofread anything important aloud, in addition to putting it through any of the following fantastic free proofreading & editing tools:

How to Improve Second-Language Interview Communication

Be honest regarding your level of English competency. Your willingness & open effort to communicate shows that you are driven and intelligent enough to put boundaries aside in lure of your goals and professional aspirations. If you're concerned that you're going to be misunderstood, then run a Q&A with someone who's a native-English speaker. Almost all verbal communication can often be clarified, overcoming language hurdles if yousimply practice what you expect to be asked, and how you plan to answer. During the interview, non-verbal communication is your best friend. Your positive attitude should be infectious, while every aspect of your person and persona should be focused on professionalism and the interviewer. Finally, consider the way that you phrase things during this vital first impression. There is no need to come up with extravagant speech, flowing in complex phrases but use just one or two comparisons or idioms, and you'll hit home every time.

How to Do Company Research 

The easiest way to evaluate whether you’ve put enough research into the company that you’re interviewing is to consider the following factors:

  • Analyze All Online Sources Available - Visiting their homepage is a good place to start, but how about checking our Glassdoor, Twitter accounts, and even YouTube or Instagram? Who are the founders? Who are the people you will be working with? Where are they coming from? Check LinkedIn but don’t stop there. Use all your available resources.
  • Look At Location - Consider the location that the employer is based in. Do not leave this to the very end when you are staring at an offer, as if it were the barrel of a loaded gun. Be open-minded, but read up about the location properly and with complete sincerity to the role. Ask questions, read city guides, get a feel for the place. There is, of course, no way you can form a complete opinion about a region without visiting in person but at least make an effort to know what the area is like better.
  • Communicate Well - Poor verbal communication skills account for over 50% of failed interviews. Most developers are under the false impression that it is a lack of technical proficiency that denies many roles, whereas the actual reason is the inability to prove basic professional interpersonal communication skills.

Verbal Communication Skill Tips for Interview 

Conversation is something that is often overlooked, leading to an informal approach that spoils impressions, drastically lowering your chances of getting hired. Follow these verbal communication skill tips to make sure your interview goes smoothly at all times:

  1. Not Listening To The Interviewer - Some job seekers are shooting from the hip - they start answering the interviewer's question without hearing the end of it. As a result, they either give irrelevant answers or completely misunderstand the question without even realizing it.  
  2. Learn To Listen -  Listen to the question and make sure you understand it. Hear your interviewer- not what you what to hear, but what they are actually saying. Perhaps repeat the question in your answer to make sure you’re on the same page. Clarity is everything, especially to initial conversation. 
  3. Get To The Point -  Answer the question directly and refrain from any unnecessary details. Give one good example. It is usually enough. If you cannot answer the question spontaneously, ask for some time to think your answer through. This will only show your discretion. Keep it simple. Be honest. Be relevant. You have limited time during an interview.
  4. Speak Up -  Saying "Yes" when you have not understood the question (or heard all of it) will not get you the job. Rather ask questions​ that are truly important to you. Ask more about the technology used, the person who held the position before you, or regarding the financial stability of the company. ​Prepare for the interview​ thoroughly. Before the appointment, put yourself in your interviewer's shoes - what questions would you be asking yourself? If you must, do some prior training with friends, or by watching sample interview videos. 
  5. Examples -  Make sure that you are prepared to give examples of how, when, and in what context you used your skills, and to what effect.

Pre-Interview Check List & Check-up

Eliminate nervousness while making sure that you’re perfectly prepared and ready for your interview by using the follow pre-interview checkup processes. 

2 Days Before Your Interview

  • Consider the impact of your outfit and general look - what impression is given?
  • Consider a haircut if it’s been a while since your last one
  • Get rid of wrinkles in your clothes - you can do this by ironing or try steaming your clothing in the shower (here’s a great hack)

1 Day Before Your Interview

  • Get together three printed copies of your CV on normal or high quality paper
  • Carry a bag or folder for holding your items  
  • Keep an unbranded notepad on hand (competing brands is a big no)
  • Carry an unbranded pen
  • If you wear contacts, bring your glasses just in case

The Day of The Interview

  • Put yourself in a positive state of mind. Do something that will help you clear your mind.
  • Spit out your gum!
  • If you smoke don't do so immediately before the interview.
  • Apply right deodorant before going into the office building for the interview (especially if it is a Berlin summer)

Handling A Phone Interview 

A large portion of our communication and personality is conveyed nonverbally. This is lost when you have a phone interview.  However, when this is your only option, there are certain steps you can take to maximize the positive impression that you make:

  1. Fix Your Surroundings - Make sure that you're in a quiet environment with good phone reception. Pick somewhere that you won't be disturbed. Use a hands-free set for the calls so that you hear your interviewer better, and have your hands free to make notes. A fully charged phone is a must.
  2. Research Your Interviewer - Look toward professional networking sites or try simply Googling them. This will boost your confidence thanks to placing the company into a proper perspective rather than approaching them as a total stranger. Print out your CV and have it ready next to you. It's typical to expect being "grilled" over the finer details of one's CV during the first conversation. This is also why it's so important to consider your CV from the perspective of an employer before the interview even happens.  
  3. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate! - You're losing non-verbal communication tools, so you need to make sure your verbal ones make up for it. When asked questions, try to give precise and tangible answers. If faced with 'YES-NO' questions, always answer with a full sentence. Your company research and knowledge of their current affairs by means of media and news reports need to be sound so that you understand your prospective employer and can communicate effectively.

Handling a Video Interview

Video interviews are more impersonal than meeting in person, but they still hold far greater potential than interviews over the phone. More of your personality can be conveyed, as well as your professionalism and unique suitability for the role. Make sure that have the best video interview possible by following these simple steps:

  1. Create The Right Environment -  Ensure that you’ve got sufficient internet speed to support a two-way video call. Test your connection using The minimum connection speed that you're looking for is 8Mbps download and 1.5Mbps upload to support a smooth, full HD video call via Skype, Google Hangouts, FaceTime, and other conferencing software. Prepare for a test call, looking as professional as possible. Dress as you would for a face-to-face interview, prepare the area, and check the conditions of your call. Moving your laptop or computer in such a way that a white wall is behind you is advantageous. It helps the interview subtly keep the focus on you instead of wondering what is on the bookshelf behind you.
  2. Maintain Eye Contact  - Eye contact is a critical form of body language, often speaking far more than our words and other gestures. When you keep eye contact with the person you're listening to, it shows that you are actively paying attention. It also conveys confidence, respect, and serves as an assurance of honesty. Words lie. Eyes don't.  
  3. Communicate Both Verbally And Non-verbally - Armed with the aid of video, you have the opportunity of using your hands and upper body to communicate. Non-verbal communication by means of stance, gestures, and other simple cues are essential to conveying the essence of what makes you perfect for the job. 
  4. Find Out About Real-time Testing - Many companies will present you with real-time coding tests, asking you to screen share whilst you solve it. Check whether there is any testing during your interview so that you're on the right device. You don't want to end up having the video call on your iPhone or Android and end up having to find or move to a MAC or PC quickly.  
  5. Prepare Your Computer - If you are expecting to share your screen during the interview, beware of what else is open on your computer. It is extremely important not to dismiss a video call as an informal conversation. From your desktop to your browser, links, and general organization - make sure it’s a reflection of your ability, potential, and personality.

Always Ask Interview Questions 

Be prepared to take notes in the interview; this demonstrates your interest in the position and it makes sure that you get the details right. Do not feel that it will make you look "stupid." Quite the contrary - it only makes you look keen. Write your questions for the interviewer down on the top of your notepad ahead of the interview. Interview questions are a crucial opportunity for you to find out more about the company, position, working conditions, colleagues, and much more. Are You wondering how to ace a job interview? The answer is often as simple as ask the right questions!

Here are a few good sample interview questions to increase your chances of getting hired:

  1. Who was the last person to hold the position, why did they leave, and what would have made them better at the job? 
  2. What are the 1-, 3- and 5-year career prospects in the position? 
  3. How do they expect the company/team to develop within the next 1, 3, and 5 years? 
  4. How do they define success in the team and company? 
  5. What is the working environment like? 
  6. What is the company culture like? 
  7. How do people communicate within the company? 
  8. Do they have any remote teams? How is communication organized with them?
  9. Are there any outside-of-work activities in the company? 
  10. What is the percentage of employees with families? 
  11. What technologies does the company/team use? 
  12. What other technologies is the team/company currently exploring? 
  13. Does the team have any interesting open-source contributions? 
  14. What is missing from your CV? (Do also consider this as a chance to show your experience and fill in any gaps) 
  15. Are there any questions that the interviewer feels you could provide more details/clarity on? 
  16. What are the next steps in the process? 

The job interview questions that you ask are just as important as the answers you're given. They say a lot about you, your interests, personality, and priorities to your potential employer. Compensation will inevitably be discussed at some point later, so don't waste your valuable question time on this. It doesn't leave a good impression. Most are left thinking that you're mainly interested in the money and nothing else. .

Bad Questions to Ask  

It is always good to think about the ​questions you will ask your interviewer as a chance for you to present your skills, motivation, understanding, and professionalism in an exceptional way. This is even more apparent when an interview is being conducted in English as your second language. Use the chance to take control of the interview and showcase your abilities on your terms. You can prepare for this well in advance, avoiding the pitfall of asking the wrong type of questions completely.

Here are a few examples of terrible questions to ask at your interview:

  1. How Quickly Would I Be Promoted? - Promotion is not something that an employer can predetermine without you first proving your worth and viability in the given role. Presenting promotion as a forerunning concern shows that you're not completely focused on the job you're presented with, creating an unfavorable impression. No one likes pretense.
  2. I Won’t Have To Do “X” (Which Is Clearly Marked On The Job Description) At This Job, Do I? - Putting up barriers from the very start by showing your potential employer that you're not interested in performing tasks that are clearly essential to the position spoils your chances completely. It immediately indicates the wrong attitude for the job and a gross lack of basic interview preparation. After all, you couldn't have read the job description if you're asking that.   
  3. Can I Work-part Time Or Work From Home? -  This is an immediate conversation stopper and will make the interviewer feel that you are wasting their time.
  4. I Don’t Think That Doing X Is Important, Would I Be Able To Pass That Work Off To Someone Else In This Role? - Shirking responsibility shows immaturity, a lack of personal accountability, and unwillingness to work as a team. Consider your application refused if you start with questions like this. 
  5. What Time Do We Finish Work? Or, ‘Do I Have To Work Overtime?’ -  it is odd that you would take up valuable time, when you can ask the interviewer anything you want about the company, to check when you can go home.  show that you are a clock watcher  

What to Do After A Job Interview 

Follow these six standard steps, and you're sure to improve your chances of securing the position that you want:

  1. Take notes
  2. Write a thank-you note 
  3. Follow up with your hiring manager 
  4. Stay in touch with your recruiter 
  5. Prepare for the next step 
  6. Continue your search

What Should You Write Down?

First of all, you must have ​a list of questions you’ve prepared​ before going to a job interview. Based on the answers you’ve received, think about the following:

  1. What is your impression of the company? Would you like to work there?
  2. Do you think the position is the right one for you (both technologically and culturally)?
  3. What do you think about the interviewer?
  4. How did you like the interview? Remember - the better you communicate during the job interview, the more information you'll have to analyze afterward.
  5. Analyze your own performance in the interview -  how do you think you did in general? What were the mistakes you made?  How could you have performed better? If it was a technical interview, see whether you could have solved the problem differently. Post-interview etiquette requires you to do so. It’s your chance to stand out.

Always Say Thank You with A Sample Thank You Note

Here’s a sample thank you note for you to customize and use, including an area for you to present questions showing your sincere interest in the position:

Good Day [Interviewer's Name],

Thank you for your time and consideration. It was a pleasure to meet you and learn more about [Company Name], as well as your vacancy for a [Position Name].

I had one matter slip my mind during our conversation. I would be grateful if you could tell me more about [Info You Want to Know About]. 

Thank you very much!

I look forward to hearing from you concerning our next steps forward. I hope you're having a wonderful day. 

Kind regards

[Your Name]

Write A Thank You Message on Linked In

A good and smart way to thank your interviewer is via a connection request on LinkedIn. Simply write the same message that you would via email.  

Show Your Job Interest Clearly

Demonstrate both active involvement and serious intentions toward the job. If you haven't received any feedback from the hiring company, contact them via email and explain clearly the purpose of your correspondence. Ask for feedback and present a few follow-up questions while finding out what the next steps are.

Replying to An Interview Invitation

When replying to an interview invitation, ask the following questions:

  1. Ask what the type and setting of the next interview will be - will it be a whiteboard session or perhaps pair programming? 
  2. Will you need to bring your own laptop?
  3. Ask who is going to interview you.
  4. Ask what you should prepare for the interview. 
  5. Ask what the company’s expectations are.
  6. Do they want to test your technical abilities, or is it more about the cultural fit?
  7. Do they want you to solve a problem or simply to see how your problem-solving works? Or, do they want to see how you work in a team?  

Reply promptly but calmly, taking your time to devise a professional response that shows that you’re interested in the position, and are looking forward to the next step. Here’s an example of a good standard reply to an interview invitation:

Good Day [Contact Person's Name],

Thank you for inviting me to progress to the next round. I am available and eager. 

Would it be possible for you to provide me some information concerning the upcoming interview? I'm intrigued by what type of interview it will be, who I'll be speaking with, and whether I should bring my laptop. Any assistance you can provide will help my preparation immensely.

Once again, thank you!

Kind regards,

[Your Name]

How to Reply to Rejection Letters from Interviews

If you've unfortunately received a rejection, don't ignore the mail out of frustration and create a poor impression. You're losing an opportunity to learn & grow, while burning a bridge at the same time. Reply to the rejection message, keeping your feedback in context with the reason why you didn't get the offer. The most common rejection reasons are technical ability, communication, and team fit. Ask how you could improve, and whether you lack either knowledge or communication skills essential to the job.

How to Get A Developer Job in Berlin: Appendix

Part 1: Job Preparation - What to do before applying

Part 2: How to Effectively Work With Recruiters

Part 3: CV Writing Tips for Developers

Part 4:Interview Tips: Everything You Need To Know

Part 5: Analyse a Job Offer: Accept or Reject?

Part 6Handing In Your Resignation

Look for a New Developer or Engineering Role in Berlin?

  • Our Jobs Page features positions available now and is updated every single week.
  • Alternatively, you can get in touch via our Contact Page to tell us what you're looking for. 
Part 4 Of Caissa's How To Get A Job Guide - The Ultimate Interview Guide For Developers & Software Engineers
Interview Tips For English Second Language Job Applicants