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Some advice on behavioral job interviews


I found some notes from an event at the Career center at ETH several months ago. The advice may be useful for non technical interviews.

Most of the advice below is redundant if we try to show as much respect as possible to the interviewer and to our conversation. Because respect is a notion that depends subjectively, here is the list:

  • First impression is important,
  • Tell a story when you describe yourself. Tell when you learnt the relevant skills for the job. Focus on:
    • analytical skills
    • independent work
    • communication skills
  • Don’t spend too much time when you introduce yourself. (no lengthy monologues)
  • Don’t interrupt the interviewer.
  • Check the requirements written on the job ad.
  • Be prepared on questions about success and failure. What you learnt from your failures?
  • Start positively. (tell successes before failures)
  • Why are you here? (never talk in a negative way for the previous employer)
  • Why should we hire you? (Do you know your strengths related to the position?) Don’t say I am the best. The interviewer does not ask about missing skills.
  • Control your body language. Have your hands on the table.
  • You don’t have to explain all of your weaknesses. Take one and explain that.
  • Don’t cross your hands.
  • Targets in life.
  • Ask for next steps.
  • They may try to provoke you (how you react under pressure).
  • When you follow-up, write: “Based on the conversation…”
  • Show enthusiasm
  • Try to smile.
  • Self-reflection.
  • Always talk about yearly salaries.
  • Ask yourself about how the interview was.
  • Look at both interviewers.



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