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Tips & Tricks

Tips & Tricks

The search for a dream job is usually very demanding and involves a complex application procedure.

The first hurdle here is the written application. It is the first important element to prevail over competitors and should leave a lasting impression.

But how do I write a perfect application that stays in the memory and how to convince in the interview afterwards? Our application tips & tricks answer exactly these questions.

With it, you are guaranteed to increase your chances and possibilities on the way to the next career step!

The professional application from A to Z

The selection process of the professionals

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A company usually receives hundreds of applications for a tender. The first step in the process is therefore a mass process organized rationally. With as little effort as possible, 80% to over 90% of the applications should be sorted out first, in order to retain a manageable concentrate of likely suitable candidates. In this so-called "screening" the documents are not thoroughly read, but only according to very specific criteria, punctual, x-rayed. Anyone who fails here, despite having otherwise good application documents no more chances.
Hard Facts: Factors such as age, required qualifications, grades, length of study, duration of any unemployment, etc. These factors are fixed and can no longer be improved at the time of application.
Hidden signals: Insider-recognizable warning and alarm signals in your application documents. There is a lot of room for improvement, which you can exploit. On the pages "Application" and "Curriculum Vitae" you will find useful tips.

Regardless of a possible A / B / C categorization, most of the remaining applicants can expect to be invited to a job interview or less often to an assessment center. Both methods serve exclusively to get to know the personality, as well as hardly measurable characteristics of the applicants. These include teamwork, social intelligence, eloquence, communication skills, personal charisma, leadership skills, organizational talent, salesmanship, appropriate "chemistry" and the like. Despite all efforts to objectify such reviews, in practice often judged from the gut, so that the hit rate in interviews with up to 50% and assessment centers with up to 70% is usually not exceeded, but often even significantly less fails. Here are great potential for you to influence the abdominal factor of your assessors in your favor.

Since you can be addressed in a job interview on hidden vulnerabilities in your work certificates, you should prepare for specific answers.

On test procedures such as intelligence tests or graphological, even astrological reports, we deliberately do not enter here. Apart from a thorough content-related preparation for test procedures based on numerous relevant books on this topic, there is hardly any further influence.

The application documents

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The presentation of your application documents is always the first and hopefully, best impression! This lasting impression is at the same time - consciously or unconsciously - the first evaluation that is made about you. If you score poor or average here, your starting position is already weakened and you should consciously prevent this.
People tend to look for confirmations for your first impression. This also applies to human resources and personnel consultants. Everything that is still to be learned about you is automatically measured by the already existing first impression. In doing so, unconsciously, those facts are perceived that reinforce the first impression.

So make sure that the first impression of your application documents suggests a particularly interesting candidate. Your application will then be recorded more carefully and with a positive attitude.

Negative signals
Several mistakes in the text
Handwritten texts (unless explicitly required)
Missing photo, unfavorable photo, oversized photo
Photo from privacy (on the sofa, with the dog, ...)
Incomplete documents
Inappropriately colorful or "decorated" presentation of documentation
no frequent changes of formatting (bold, italics, underlines, font sizes, ...)

It is important to have a high-quality impression both in detail and in the overall picture. "Clothes make people" applies also to your application. What visually stands out positively seduces subconsciously to infer a correspondingly positive contrasting content. But "taking off" alone is far from being "positive". But the overall picture can easily slip off in the opposite direction / rating if too much of the good is used. Here is a sure instinct needed. We advise you!

Curriculum Vitae - The Curriculum Vitae

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The CV is, in addition to the cover letter, one of the essential application documents. It serves your potential new employer to assess your skills. Often, this document is the first assessment criterion, since the viewer can judge the respective length of stay in the individual positions. The curriculum vitae will be checked by the HR Administrator for complete and straightforwardness.

Gaps in the CV do not bode well and are interpreted negatively. Many (different) jobs within a short time suggest low stamina or difficulty.
A non-linear CV also does not bode well. Here is checked whether your professional life is planned consistently.
The CV is the decisive factor for an invitation to a job interview. If he really should convince, you should tailor this as individual and current as possible to the targeted job.

The structure should be a concise, factual text that answers all sorts of questions about your career clearly. It should not be longer than 2 DIN A4 pages. A resume designed in tabular form is now preferred as standard. As a CV structure, the following classification for professional, personal and training has proven itself:
Career starter: Education 80%, Personal 20%
No Beginner: Occupation 60%, Education 30%, Personal 10%
TIP: As a new resume extension, you can attach a third sheet to the resume. The content refers to the questions why you are interested in this position, what makes you especially qualified, etc.
When creating the CV you should note the following:
Personal
Include name, date and place of birth and marital status (optional) first.
If you have children, indicate these with gender and age. For example: "Two daughters (3 and 7 years), one son (5)".
No birth names, wedding dates, children's names, etc.
The name and profession of your parents have no place in the CV.
Place your person in the foreground, but not in the center.
Avoid the listing of everyday hobbies. Information on recreational behavior make you suspicious as a leisure oriented. Here: Hobbies are useful if skills are taught that meet the requirements of the job offer. Example: team sport = team ability

For training
With more than ten years of professional experience, you should only mention the last completed training step. Otherwise all steps including elementary school.
Indicate the type of school or institute, the degree and the final grade at the time of the final degree. State the Armed Forces or Civil Service with date, place, task and grade and last grade.
No qualifications and certificates of skills not mentioned in the job advertisement.
Do not exaggerate training. The following applies: Optimal are additional qualifications that are related to the advertised position.
Attach certificate copies for all listed training courses.

To the job
Clearly represent occupational steps: company, location, task, responsibility, possibly also turnover responsibility, budget, employees and results.
Do not time out changes in position within the same company in the left column.
From the company justified steps (bankruptcy, moving to another city, etc.) specify in the curriculum vitae.

General
All times in the curriculum vitae should be as accurate as possible, adding the year (2006) and also the month (3 / 06).
Make sure that the CV is complete. Single months without employment should be clear, for example: "Nov 2006 stay in USA" or "June 2006 unemployed".
If the length of stay in the individual positions is less than 2 years, or if you have more than 8 employers overall, there is a risk that you will be sorted out very early in the selection process. Avoid this and explain the specific reasons for termination of employment.
Personal reasons for a corporate change, such as marriage, divorce or death in the family you better mention in cover letter.
If an international panel evaluates your application, call to ask if an English CV is helpful.
The CV should be written in the same language as the job advertisement. In a German application, for example, an English-language "cv" or "curriculum vitae" has no business.

The photo

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The first glance of the personnel manager, after the overall impression of your application folder, falls on your photo!

Take special care in the creation and selection of the photograph. You decide whether to express restraint or openness. Have a picture taken with which you can identify yourself. For quality reasons, do not use vending machine photos! Investing in a professional photographer is recommended.
The application photo should be no more than 1 year old. There should be no big visual difference between your current look and that in your photo. Smile relaxed, that signals openness and friendliness. The photo should be slightly larger than a passport photo (about 4,5 x 6,3 cm). As a rule, a colored photo is preferable to a black and white photo.

appearance
Pay attention to a well-groomed overall appearance. The clothes should be chosen according to the image of the workplace. Pay attention also to the targeted job position. Male executives are more likely to guess suit and tie, ladies to a costume. Ladies should rather resort to monochrome clothing than too colorful patterned parts and make-up should definitely be used, but subtle and natural. Take a rest to the photographer and take your time.

Position in the application documents
The photo should be either on the top right of the CV or on the top right of the cover letter.

The motivation letter

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Many candidates in the preselection already shoot out with a loveless cover letter. The secret of a convincing application letter is quite simple: Write only what interests the decision makers.
Even the best cover letter loses its shine if the formal requirements are not correct. This should be a maximum of one DIN A4 page long.

Tight sentences
Begin the text with a polite and best addressed directly to the contact person "Dear". Then write a first sentence that is exciting and interesting enough to animate to read on. It's entirely up to you to decide what to say: a phrase about why you are intrigued by the company can be just as interesting as a statement about yourself. Remember, "in a nutshell lies the spice". Short first sentences work better than tapeworm constructions.

Cut to the spot
In the course of the letter you will highlight those points that relate to the desired activity and requirements. If you write interesting and surprising, you immediately come to substantive issues to speak and refrain from superfluous ballast and entry-level phrases such as "I hereby apply" or "I'll send my attachments attached". Attention: do not just repeat the CV!

Deliver the right information
The cover letter should be formulated in a free and own dramaturgy and answer the following questions, in the following order:
Why are you applying to this company?
Why are you applying for this job? .
What qualifies you for this position?
What does the company have to do with hiring you?
What is further information that is important for the company (possibly salary, end of studies, earliest start date)?

Answer these questions by empathizing with the recipient of the letter. What interests the HR manager? What is relevant information from his perspective? For example, he does not want to know that you care about two training per year and more than 30 holidays.
What interests him more is what you can offer in terms of qualifications and why he should definitely get to know someone like you in a job interview.
Consider the cover letter as a sales letter in your own case. Important things you can highlight, bold or underline; possibly bullets will help to quickly capture content. Always remember: the company needs to know you.

The test procedure

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"Stay calm"
Selection tests are common for many (and certainly all major) companies and authorities. Regardless of school leaving certificate and grades, the tests should help to find out which applicant best suits the expectations of the company.
How these expectations and thus how the tests look is very different from company to company but also from job to job.

However, together all companies want to know if ...
You are likely to meet the training requirements (ie your skills and knowledge and willingness to perform will probably be sufficient),
Their professional interests and goals coincide with the contents of the desired training and the possibilities of the later occupation and
Your personality and attitudes match expectations.

Participation in a so-called test procedure is usually "exciting" and exhausting. However, preparing in good time helps to reduce "stress".

test preparation
"Passing is not a matter of luck"
Passing a test is not a matter of luck. Good preparation contributes to success.
Familiarize yourself with different types of tests and tasks.

Practice a test situation. Play a recruitment test under "real conditions" - that means a strict time limit, not aids.
Faint test anxiety is completely normal and a little bit of adrenaline can boost concentration. But do not take sedatives or stimulants.
Before the test day you should inform yourself about the way to the company and consider also the time, which you need for it.
Attitude tests are usually exhausting, so you should be as "fit" and rested for this appointment.
Just wanting to learn everything before the test makes her only insecure. Prefer the evening before the appointment to relax.
In the morning of the day they should have breakfast in peace,
allow enough time for the way,
and take your writing utensils with you
Choose your clothes the way you would for a job interview. However, it may be a bit more comfortable.
Do not do anything important for the test day. An additional appointment makes you nervous about delays.
You will not be the only participant in the selection process, but do not put yourself under pressure. You can only do your best, more is not possible.

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"The time is never enough!"
Attitude tests usually mean stress: many test tasks will be new to you and the time you will usually find too short. Nevertheless, you can do a lot to master the test situation well:
Listen carefully when the tasks are explained and ask immediately if you have not understood something.
Work as fast as possible, but still carefully.
If you can not read a task, just post it and continue to work on the rest of the tasks in sequence.
For most tests, tasks become more difficult. The difficulty level of the last task in a series of tasks is often so high that it can not be solved in the short time.
Some tasks offer different solutions. If you do not know the right answers right now, think about which alternatives are out of the question, and so circle the right solution.
No test is the same. If you are unlucky, you will not be in the employment test at all. Do not be discouraged and work on the tasks as best you can.
Try to relax during the breaks and avoid thinking about the test as much as possible.
If you are ill or do not feel well, try to make a new appointment for the selection process. Call in time and explain your situation.

The reference

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A reference is the information about a candidate given by a trusted person (reference provider) to the reference recipient. The reference still has its place in the recruitment process.

Among HR consultants, it is considered more productive than the submitted application documents. However, obtaining a reference under the case-law is subject to certain rules.

If you apply to another company, you are not allowed to obtain information about you from your old company without your explicit consent. This always applies, that is during the current application process and also after your employment with the new employer. Also, the works council in the new company is bound by this rule, because this would otherwise investigate instead of company management and thus undermine the ban. In addition, the advertised company may not inform other outsiders of your application.

However, your former employer may, without your permission and even against your wish, pass on information to your new employer if he / she has a legitimate interest in it. However, the information willingness of your former boss is limited: If your employment has already been back for a long time, he is no longer entitled to provide information to your future or present company. In addition, his information may practically only move within the framework of what also applies to a qualified employment certificate. In other words: what is or should be given to information in your certificate of employment may be passed on, no more and no less.
As a result, virtually all the questions in the context of reference retrieval are excluded, which according to the case law in the interview are considered inadmissible.

These relatively strict rules are clearly aimed at protecting you as an applicant: If personal information about you is exchanged between your old and the new company during your absence, you must ensure that it is true. Because the consequences of a misinformation carry you in any case.

References can be obtained either in writing or verbally / by telephone with transcript. Recruitment consultants work mainly with the following questionnaire (this is not exhaustive). The reference owner is the company owner or the HR manager of the former company. Already for liability reasons, an employee will not let this task be done.

- How long has the reference owner personally known the applicant?
- How does the Referee assess the applicant's expertise?
- How does the Referee assess the candidate's social skills?
- How does the Referee assess the candidate's abilities?
- Would the Referee be willing to hire the applicant again?
- Does the reference sender consider the applicant suitable for the desired position?

The telephone contact

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Every telephone contact with a company should be handled with particular care. Whether you call on your own initiative or a recruitment consultant has told you that you would have a better chance if you called the client directly, or friendly in a job advertisement for telephone contact is stimulated - you are always evaluated on the phone due to a fleeting superficial impression and in the drawers "black"(Cancellation) or"White"(invite) sorted.

And that applies to both very formalistic Q & A talksMost of them are run today by independent call centers outside of the actual company, as well as for casual conversation with a personnel decision maker of the company. And this is exactly where you have a problem.
In a real job interview, you can work with your entire personality. The chances that your strengths in the field of "Soft factors"(Soft skills) are relatively good. But on the phone you can only work with your voice and your language, ie convince or lose.

Nevertheless, many companies prefer to see the quick benefit of a phone interview through the slightly-saved money, because it is expensive to invite interview candidates or the Assessment Center because of phone interview decisions, rather than the naturally unnoticed loss of potential well-suited candidates due to the particular high error rate of this method.
Why is this inadequacy not noticed and eliminated so often?
Quite simply because people who have judged other people are usually staunchly convinced that their own perception and judgment is absolutely correct. It is in the nature of man that every limited view always leads to an absolute judgment. The assessor does not question his judgment out of self-protection, because otherwise he believes that his judgment is at all questionable. And what do you think, how many "decision makers" like to do that ?!

The fact remains that companies are increasingly relying on preselection through inadequate telephone interviews. How should you handle it?

1.) Think carefully about whether a self-initiated call will really benefit you during the ongoing mass screening process. Such calls make you act more as a troublemaker and usually bring no benefits, even if you application advice or official recruitment agencies as persistent as good-natured and ignorant to the contrary advise.

2.) However, if your call is requested or requested, it will be considered as an interview. You should be at least as well prepared for a job interview. However, our interview tips are of little use, as you have few channels to send positive signals to.
So what do you have available on the phone?
Your data and facts, your language and your voice
And in exactly the reverse order, you influence your conversation partner!

The top rule on the phone is therefore:
Create a sympathetic voice, ie smile with your voice!

But how is that supposed to go, just smile with your voice ?? Quite simply: by actually smiling at the phone conversation!
Professionals in telephone sales practice this in real phone calls in front of a mirror, in which they observe and control themselves during the telephone conversation. However, you will only be sure of this technique if you have successfully practiced it several times before the emergency. If that seems too much work for you, you should at least get as positive a voice as possible in the conversation. If you know the first name of the interlocutor, eg from the job advertisement, then you tune in as if you are calling a good friend (in spirit: now I call Jürgen / Martina, I'm really looking forward to it!). The positive programming of your subconscious mind can help you create a credible sympathetic, motivated voice.

In addition to the sympathetic and motivated voice, your language also plays a decisive role. Speak on the phone firmly, but not loudly, rather slower, with a slightly lowered tone of voice, but with lively emphasis and expression. Do not speak directly into the phone, but hold the mouthpiece, the microphone input, slightly belowYour chin - Your language is thus much more pleasant sounding at the interlocutor. If you have a wireless phone, you can get on the phone and walk up and down during the call. Your thinking will be activated and your language noticeably more lively and varied. Record phone calls played on a tape and listen for yourself. You'll be surprised at first how little good you sound - betting that !? With a little practice and tape control you will also experience very significant improvements.

The third point is the content.
Immediately after submitting your application, prepare for a job interview as if it were already tomorrow. Play typical questions and your personal answers in role-playing games with your partner or with good acquaintances. It is important that you have already expressed your answers as often as possible really freely and freely, so that you later in the surprise situation on the phone do not wrestle for words and sound convincing. Again, tape recordings are very helpful. Let yourself be criticized by your game partners and accept the suggestions for improvement. It can only be beneficial for you.

The interview

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They did it! The preselection is successfully passed and the next round is rung.
Depending on the ability and experience of the interview person - this is what the professional interviewers call themselves - you can get to know different types of job interview.

Unstructured interview
The interview person is unprepared and asks questions as they come up. Often more is told than asked. Sometimes unpleasant silence breaks out because the interview person does not know what to ask next. This rather unprofessional form of interviewing can often be found in smaller companies, which seldom hire and in which the management personally leads the discussions.

Semi-structured interview
The interview person knows which questions she wants to clarify in the conversation in any case. These questions are prepared and incorporated into the otherwise largely unstructured conversation.

Structured interview
Nothing is left to chance here. All questions and their order are prepared and sometimes literally preformulated. Often, the interviewer uses an elaborate questionnaire ("interview guide") and enters notes in an evaluation form. Although sometimes a bit stiff, this interview technique is quite professional. The results of structured interviews allow better comparability with a high number of job interviews and different interviewers. And you can assume that when the interview guide was being drafted, you thought carefully about what's important to the job.

Multimodal interview
This technique also uses interview guides derived from job-related job profiles. However, the person interviewed has the freedom to talk about individual peculiarities and work them out before returning to the guideline as a "common thread". Often self-reflective questions are used (how did you feel?) To be able to look below the surface. This interview technique belongs to the top class - Here you are dealing with full professionals.
And then there are the notorious and dreaded ones

stress interviews
In many cases, a stress interview as such has not actually been one, but one has to deal with insecure interlocutors who wanted to hide their insecurity behind their formal power in the job interview.
The real stress interviewis usually not stressful over the entire duration of the conversation, but only in very specific, individual moments. Imagine a job interview like a game. The one side is trying to play something, to gloss over the truth and to hide negative facts. The other side tries to recognize the little deceptions and to bring the truth to light. The unexpected moment of stress serves this purpose.
If the applicant succeeds in putting the applicant in an acute stress situation by means of an unpleasant question or a specific provocation (ear noise), the physiological processes that take place for several seconds prevent the applicant from casting clear, thoughtful thoughts. Immediately following the triggered stress situation, the question is asked, on whose truthful answer the interview person actually arrives and which itself would not cause any stress. But the brain of the applicant is still flooded with stress hormones. He will hardly succeed in the next few seconds to come up with a plausible concealment of the truth and then to present it credibly.

The interview person gets the truth and has won! Or? From the description of the process you can already recognize the only correct reaction for the applicant: take your time! Bridge the seconds of the stress moment by not responding to the next question immediately. Win Time: Take your time for a few seconds before answering slowly and delicately. Ask the interlocutor for the repetition of his last question (!) Or summarize the last question slowly and in a reconsidering way: "... I understood you correctly, that you would like to know about me ...". So you can get out of the dangerous stress seconds safely, regain your clear mind and can think carefully and perhaps even superior answer. The stress trick quickly loses its effect and the interview person will probably renounce the further conversation on their now useless become technology.

Despite the diversity of the interview styles, the focus of the discussions is on getting to know you as a person. All the facts from the written application are accepted and bought - otherwise you would not have been invited. In these points, you no longer need to do any persuasive work. However, you will be drawn to the facts already known, typically at the beginning of the interview, to have your CV told because you want to let them talk to you to hear and see what kind of person you are, how you behave, how you do sell and respond to difficult questions. There are many of the elusive "soft factors" (resilience, motivation, adaptability, initiative, teamwork, emotional intelligence, leadership, communication skills, eloquence ...) - the so-called "soft skills" - as well as the appropriate "chemistry" that one would like to clarify in personal contact.

Surely you already suspect - because the soft factors are so difficult to grasp, the "abdominal factor" plays a big role and there are therefore ways to set subliminal, positive signals - but you can also do much wrong due to ignorance.


Our tips & tricks are not enough for you?

Do you have any questions or would you like to prepare even better for the application process? Then sign up for the groupFORCE Application and Career Check

Through individual coaching tailored to your personal requirements, we offer you the ideal basis for successful interviews and unique application documents. Together we work out a way to reach your professional goals and refine the entire application strategy. This coaching is definitely the right investment in your future career and is tax deductible as part of your annual compensation!

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