Job interviews with UK interviewers

12 posts in this topic

All,

 

Can those of you who have been interviewed by people from the UK comment on the differences, if any, with the way you were interviewed by Germans? This is a financial industry interview but any insights would be appreciated.

 

Thanks in advance...

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I've no experience of your sector, Conquistador, but have had extensive opportunities to form a memory of comparitives.

 

I'm going to assume you already have experience of being interviewed by Germans. In my case I found they rarely had powers to decide without calling you back to more interviews each time involving further management colleagues all with their own pet questions. Germans, IME, never tell you yes or no face to face, take weeks to decide and very often, by their actions or statements, contradict much of what they claimed initially to be the corporate or local dealbreaking conditions.

 

There could hardly be more difference when it comes to Brits starting from a generally more relaxed atmosphere. It's unusual, but not unknown for Brits to introduce themselves with first and last names and then address you later by your own first name. You shouldn't assume initially you have the equal right unless they say so. It may be a slip-up, a personal habit or even a form of classification test. They do tend to be more open about detailing what they are expecting of a good candidate and are much more interested in your actual experience and abilities than your formal qualifications. They will not expect photographs (unless specified) on application CVs and may even get a negative impression by their inclusion. The requirement for references is usually covered by a (last job first) dated list of the applicants previous employers with supervisors contact details and name. It is not common to list any school history once you have already had a few years work experience with the exception of higher educational or sector specialist qualifications.

 

I have usually, after making the initial approach, been requested to fill out a detailed application form and then been called to the company HQ or a London hotel for interview. On more than one occasion this turned in to a full morning or afternoon of interviews combined with tests. Finally I met with a couple of the interviewers and a senior manager who I found liked to ask a couple of their own oddball left field Qs. On then being asked if I could join the next training school course on date X and saying yes they all shook my hand and congratulated me on being hired. That speed of decision is not something that many Germans can get their heads around. Good luck.

 

HTH

 

2B

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If you say you can say speak French and need to for the job, they will want to see your certificate that you can speak French, and not actually bring someone in that can "test you out".

 

Expect the expected.

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In my experience, it's the Germans who would want the certificate, and the British who would actually test you on it.

 

That really sums up one of the big differences - the Germans will put a lot more weight into your qualifications and certificates, and the British are more likely to be concerned with what you can actually do and some proof of your experience doing it.

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The difference is that in germany is a hell hard even to get an interview.

 

I cannot compare it. :ph34r:

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I have to agree with Hutcho, I think only the Germans want certificates for everything and most Anglo-Saxons will just test you.

 

I had an interview with a panel of 3 Brits and I was told at the beginning of the interview that I would also be asked questions in German at the end by one of them. I only realised afterwards that my answers in German might have been too quick for him to understand everything I said.

 

After being in Germany for so long, I also didn't really think about it and took being addressed by my first name as permission to do the same. However, in hindsight I think 2B is right.

 

It guess it is not that surprising that I didn't get the job.

 

I hope your interview goes better. :)

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Totally agree with Hutcho. The british are not so into certificates, they cannot hurt of course but a lot of emphasis is placed on practical experience in comparison with German interviews. I was never even asked to show my degree certificate in the UK, it was taken as a given that I had what I said I had. I think they would have been suprised if I had actually had it on me.

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I've had a few interviews in the UK. Do not include any photos, your date of birth or your "family status". This goes against anti discrimination laws. However you may be required to fill out a separate equality monitoring form which should be sent separately from any other paper work. You can always select none of the above if there is something you do not wish to disclose. Like the others said, you probably won't be asked for certificates but about your experiences. Don't shake their hands too hard!

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Thanks for the comments. The interview was conducted in both English and German, very thorough and very "hands-on". My education didn't come up at all, but my work experience certainly did.

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Umm I meant the Germans would care more about certificates than actually practical stuff... Should have made it more clear.

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I did have an interview once with Germans which heavily stressed hands-on activities, but the lead interviewer had gotten at least his doctorate in the US, so that might explain it. In the US, hands-on activities at interviews are often de facto IQ tests.

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I recruited for a few roles in the UK; qualifications were a curiosity but not the be-all-and-end-all. Work experience and candidates who could give concrete answers of what they had done in certain situations (team working, dealing with setbacks, change etc) stood out more. We also did three elements of testing - two SHL tests done remotely (numerical and verbal reasoning) and a bespoke Excel-based test where candidates were given all the required information but had to incorporate that into an Excel financial model.

 

This latter part was done under controlled conditions and was not overly complicated if approached logically, but we found it really gave a good idea of who could actually do what they said they could. It also occasionally cast doubt on the validity of the SHL tests; people who had received a high mark in numerical reasoning then getting 10-15% under controlled conditions - which made me sometimes question whether the actual candidate had done the acuity tests.

 

As and when I go back to a role which requires me to staff a team, I will definitely utilise practical assessment in selection.

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