Telephone Interview Tips For A German Company From German People


For the first time, I had an internship interview this week for a German Engineering company. I talked to various German people on Xing Social Network and here are their original answers. It might be useful to you if you are going to apply for an opportunity in Germany and afraid of the German ecosystem that how things works there. For original copy of this discussion online please visit

My question originally was “I have an internship interview with a German company for the first time, any tips 🙂 ?

Below are the answers:

  1.  “Hello 🙂 I had a telephone interview last year. I would say that it is very important that you ensure that you are in a quite place during the interview. Make sure to speak clearly. In any case, stay natural and try to have a nice chat 😉 Don’t forget to ask some questions from your side as well. All the best!”- Sophie

  2. “Dear Anvar, first of all I would recommend you to suit up for the interview, even though it is by phone. When you suit up you get a business feeling and may you are able to transfer this professional feeling. Another advice I would like to give you is to imagine the following: the other side speaking is a human as well. Which means that he/she should also be treated as a human. There is no super computer on the other side, so I would recommend to speak as natural as you would speak to a person standing next to you. Furthermore, they already contacted you once which indicates that they are interested. This means that the first step is already done, may you already win a recognition between 100 others which is good. So build on this success. Check your CV, are there any gaps/additional works beside your regular studies/things which makes you the right candidate? Cross-check your CV with the requirements of the internship. Which positions are covered, which not? Why not? How can you overcome these gaps? Finally, the standard recommendation… stay as natural as you are, don’t adjust yourself. Good luck and let us know how it worked.Good Luck!

  3. Hey Anvar, me again… First of all, what I do not get is the following sentence: “Is it okay to tell them everything you have in mind?” Going on and knowing more about the case, the questions I would post as recruiter would be if you will be able to learn the German language basics until the starting date. Furthermore, I would also ask how good your German skills currently are (just to estimate how realistic your plans are). When you would tell me that you already have basic knowledge I would directly ask you to speak these basic words you know (so may you have some German notes around you – just in case). From my humble opinion I would rate the fact that you just learn German for this position as highly motivated which is excellent. Regarding the gaps: if the recruiter is good he/she may see the gaps. So be sure that the two gaps will be discussed. That you did something (intern) within this time is also a very positive aspect. A lot of people do not complete their studies in regular time, from my point of view it is important to use that time to gain further knowledge by i.e. doing internships. Regarding the other gap, I would say that you should say it if they ask (which is likely to happen) and if not… make it depend on how the interviews runs.And regarding payback, if you are in Germany your are welcome to invite me for a Beer in the Pub 😉 Good luck again!

  4. Honestly I would not talk about my failures. I would only mentioned that you also applied on other vacancies but won’t tell them where and that I failed. Within the phone interview you must sell yourself!Regarding the other comments (especially the IT “types”), I do not know how the IT Business works within the recruitment, but I would bet that the first phone interview will be held with a Recruiter or with a Person from the HR department which definetly will use this pyschological “Bla Bla”.Concerning the sense of these psychological questions: there is a reason why you can study it and that companies spent a lot for assesments Centers and so on; so generally I would say that there is an added value behind it and that I would prepare for “Blabla” questions ;)And by the way, I would also not tell too much here about personal failures, cause some HR Managers search online as well to get further Information of the candidate.” -Christian

  5. “Hi Anvar:) I was working as an intern within the recruiting department, therefore I know the typical guidelines for such an interview. I would make sure to be able to explain your CV fluently with all the relevant stations, as this questions is often times asked in the beginning. Other typical questions could be on your skills& weaknesses, why you are interested in the job, what seperates you from other applicants, what your future professional goals are, and why you want to work there. Also, you should make sure to be informed on the business of the company (which shows your interest). Genrally, I think it is important to come across as interested and willing to learn and to communicate your enthusiasm about this particular internship to the interviewer. I might have missed something, but if you keep all of this in mind you should be good to go ;)” – Melina

  6. “Hi, I will advice you do your research about the company and understand why you were selected at the first place. Like the others colleague said your have to dress corporate and don’t out smart your confident with unusual jokes, stay up right and remember to ask your career benefit.”- Anthony

  7. “Hi Anvar, there are already a lot of tips and i won’t read all of them so I keep it short and simple. I think there are 3 key aspects in an interview:1. know yourself 2. know the company 3. enjoy the interview (You really shouldn’t forget about the last one, because people will notice you’re enthusiasm. A smile can make the difference :)PS.: There is no 2nd chance for a 1st impression! “Best of luck

  8. “Of course it is good to draw parallels to the company and it shows that you can identify with their corporate culture. Besides your passion for the technology, i also like your interest for the culture. I’ve read you are about to learn a new language and that’s awesome. Hopefully you’ll get the internship. I’m sure you would like our environment/nature in Germany. There’s a lot to explore.”- Maximilian

  9. “Hey Anvar, I read the other comments and only agree with them. I had an telephone interview a few month ago and tried to prepare for it. What I thing was an interesting advise on the Internet was, that you should stand/sit in front of an mirror, because looking at yourself improves the appearance of your voice. I personally didn’t try it but I think that it can help because I was also really nervous and did not know where to go or what to do… Other than that just try to relax the person on the other side is just human and can understand that you are nervous. When they already gave you the option that you do not have to speak perfect German, than for me they seem to be interested in you :)So good luck on the interview and learning german.”- Felicita

  10. “As I’m working in the IT for more than 10 years now, I can tell you that it’s a bit different if you apply there than if you apply for a position being e.g. a graduate in Business Management. It’s great that a lot people answer you your questions here, they just want to help. But what they write is a bit theoretical and not applicable to the IT business. Because the responsible people in the IT usually don’t care very much about sophisticated psycho-methods like “tell me about your strength and weakness” (which is silly if the guy asking a) doesn’t know the person he / she asks and b) is himself / herself not skilled at all in evaluating the answers) or assessment centers or the like. People in the IT are usually much more straight forward.Thank’s god, I can’t stand all this psycho-brabble! It’s anyway contradictory to speak naturally to someone and to apply some kind of “knowledge what to do and what to say” which is given by some “experts” to EVERYONE but not to you personally.Just talk to the guy or girl being on phone. That’s all, provided that your skills match what is expected. The other thing which is being very important in practise is team work. There are e.g. too many project managers not trusting their programmers or programmers having some kind of quarrel. But this is not something someone can find out about you when interviewing you for 15 minutes. If you have any experience in team work, tell about it. That’s really valuable.”- Bodo

  11. “Hello anvar, I just can tell you how I prepared myself for an English interview. I’ve been very nervous also and didn’t really know what to tell the lady. So I decided to talk to myself in English and repeat it lots of times till I’ve been okay with what I was suppose to say. So i ran around my place talking to myself what was very weird. But at least it was quite funny. 🙂 here’s my tip : tell yourself first of all what you’d like to say. Than make it more professional. And after that you can repeat it several times so you can keep the stuff you’d like to say. Good luck!! :)”- Ann Kathrin

  12. “My tipp would be to at least lern some fundamental words in whatever language your interview is, so you are able to paraphrase what you mean. I did this for my English interviews and it worked out for me anytime. It also was a lot of fun as it shows your commitment to the company. Thumbs up, at the end it is no big deal!”- Marcus

Summary- So, I followed their advice, had a conversation with them using a landline telephone instead of a mobile phone (advantage is improved voice quality, less delay in communication and full signals?), suited up in formals even though it was a telephone interview, placed myself in a quite place, printed up my CV, job description, few diagrams related to academics, few German sentences, questions to ask them and put them in front of me during the interview so that I can have access to them whenever I needed. Also I kept my mobile with me but on ‘silent mode’ (advantage is when the landline phone stopped working due to some communication problem after some time, which you never know might happen, so they called me on my mobile phone just after afterwards).

This resulted in a good interview. I hope you learn from this as I did. Good luck if you are applying for an opportunity. If you want to thank me, don’t thank me, thank the Germans!

I would like to thank Sophie, Christian, Melina, Anthony, Meximilian, Felicita, Bodo, Ann, Marcus for the valuable advices.

For original copy of this discussion online please visit

Thank You,

Anvar Jamal