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Be Clear, Honest, and Constructive – Providing Tips for Successful Job Interviews

We all want to put our best foot forward when being interviewed for a job. Nerves and a lack of preparation can often get the best of us, however. To overcome these issues, it’s important to pay attention to the tips and tricks offered by the experts – those who are often seated on the other side of the table during interviews – in order to give ourselves the best opportunity to land the job.

Wolters Kluwer’s Judith Janssens, HR Director Global Platform Organization (GPO), was recently the subject of several articles in businessinsider.nl, one of them also published in the U.K. edition of Business Insider, a leading news and business website. She provided her views on several key topics that are critical for job seekers – including tips from her extensive background that no doubt help Wolters Kluwer recruit some of the most talented people around the world.

She certainly speaks from experience. Janssens states that “we have 450 staff working at GPO in 19 offices across the world,” as she works with managers on topics such as strategic workforce planning, remuneration matters, talent management, and more.

Regarding the interview process in general, Janssens says: “What comes first for us is that the process is a good experience for the candidate. In other words, whether or not the person gets or accepts the job, we want the candidate to gain a good impression of what Wolters Kluwer does and what role technology plays in our business, and we want to give a good taste of our company culture.”

With all the experience of interviewing candidates, Judith has some tips for successful job interviews she shared with Business Insider.

Don’t Dive into Detail

Why do top candidates regularly lose their chance at winning the job in the final interview round? “What I often see is that even top candidates get lost in the details and don’t notice that they’ve lost their audience,” says Janssens. She advises that applicants stick only to the question being asked rather than going too deep on a particular topic.

The candidate might be going into this depth of detail in order to bring attention to a specific strong point in their resumé. But a better approach is to address this towards the end of the interview - if it has been overlooked by the interviewer - by saying politely “What I would really like to share with you is…”. This helps maintain the hiring manager’s focus throughout the discussion, while still allowing the potential employee a moment to highlight their strengths.

Prepare for Success

Stay on the lookout for certain questions and know how to answer them. The Dutch book 199 vragen voor een succesvol selectiegesprek (199 Questions for a Successful Selection Interview) by Gusta Timmermans offers a number of common questions, including:

  • What do you like least about your current job?
  • If I were to call your last manager, what would he say about you?
  • What made you decide to become a (profession)?

“Ensure that you are prepared to answer these questions,” emphasizes Janssens. “Be clear, honest, and constructive.”

The Right Reason for Leaving?

Perhaps the most common question for the candidate is simply: Why do you want to leave your current job?

The potential answers to this question vary widely, with a number of “wrong” responses possible – replies that could potentially damage the job-seeker’s chances. Speaking badly about your current employer, openly saying that you are looking for more money, and simply saying that you’ll take anything that’s offered are all poor response choices.

On the positive side, global job search engine Simply Hired found that almost 80% of interviewers want to hear that you want to take on more responsibility and grow in your career.

Janssens adds to that: “Include in your answer that you are there because the company provides a certain product, or suggest that a part of the job vacancy really appeals to you.”

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