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5 Job interview mistakes you might not have heard of

In this article, I will share a bit of my experience with interview partners from exotic countries outside Europe.

First, congrats that you made it to here. You are welcome. The cultural differences between Germany and countries outside of Europe can be quite huge and lead to misunderstandings in the team. What I say here should be taken as constructive critics and is by far not meant to blame foreigners or being racists.

Don’t worry Sir

I often ask detailed questions about some technical things to know where I have to “pick up” the developer or to be able to choose the right man for the right job. And yes, sometimes I get back some “Don’t worry, Sir’s”. Honestly, don’t do that when you pitch for a contract of any type. Because this tells me a couple of things about you, namely:

  • You are not able to answer the question, either you have to hide something or you really don’t know the answer. When you have to hide something, that’s of course a thing, and you should consider going into introspective and ask yourself the question of why you need to hide it and if you can fix it for the next interview. When you don’t know something, it’s way better so simply say I don’t know. What happens then is that the interviewer knows that he needs to give you more input, and also knows which input to give. Have you thought about that?
  • IT tells me that you don’t trust me to understand the system you are supposed to build. This is especially unwise when you get interviewed by a tech guy.

There is always a why, why someone asks about something, obviously you didn’t understand this why yet. As a personal note: When I hear don’t worry sir, the red flags are risen high in my mind.

I don’t know

Please say it! Honestly, train it to say I don’t know. The world is big, and the reality is that the very most parts of the world aka creation is unknown to the individual. So to don’t know something is more likely than to know something. And yes, of course you are supposed to know about your subject, but you can’t know everything as IT-Systems become more and more complex and complicated.

Our job is a continuous study, and a good leader knows that. So when you just don’t know a subject, that’s totally fine, as long as you have at least a bit of intrinsic will to study new technologies.

Only a few things are worse than to pretend to know something, you actually know that you don’t know. So please say it when you lack knowledge, therefore we have colleagues who know same situations and are willing to reach you a “helping hand” when it comes to studies.

Flag Raising

This advice is not only for the job interview but more for the ongoing project. Raise flags, look for solutions when something goes wrong. And this on time. Things go wrong all the time, and we are not here to find a culprit to judge him. We are here to find solutions to the problems, detached from personal opinions about someone. So when you see that a deadline is about to not being matched, or you can see any problem coming around the next corner, rise the red flag in your team or with the client so that there it is known, that we need to focus on looking for solutions. Never forget, it’s not about you, it’s about the company and it’s health.

Team Spirit

Especially Germans are team player in general, they are less competitive and way more cooperative. Because we understand that 1 plus 1 can be 3 we tend to rely on others to keep their promises and expect the corresponding results from the others. In more competitive minded regions, that team spirit is lacking and that is one of the reasons why economic evolution is not working as desired.

Germans are more supportive and you should be too.

On time

This is a standard advice: Please be extremely punctual. Especially when you work with northern Europeans like Germans. To be late or too early is disrespectful toward others time. Time is precious. And your time should too. So to don’t be punctual shows, that you don’t respect your own time too and that decreases your value.


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