Prepare for a job interview

The job interview (colloquio di lavoro) is a meeting that takes place between the job seeker and the employer to get to know each other and understand if the person is the right one for the position offered. In Italy, interviews are usually conducted for all jobs, even for a job as a babysitter or warehouse worker.
Making a good impression and being prepared is important because it increases the chance of getting the job.

The interview is an opportunity to get to know one another and it is important to remember that it is a professional environment. For this reason, the communication and the language must also be formal, therefore it is best to refer to the other person with the form “Lei”. For example, “Salve, Lei come sta?” On the contrary, when we are with friends and acquaintances we talk informally and we use the “you” version or “tu”. For example: “Ciao, come stai?”

Sometimes, it could happen that it is the interviewer using the “you” form, in this case it is okay to do the same. However, try not to overdo it using sentences such as “Friend, I would love to work here.”

Here are some practical tips that can help you prepare for the interview:

Before going to the interview, search for information about the company on the internet. Demonstrating knowledge of the company’s activities will make a good impression on the recruiter. You will show that you are really interested and motivated to work for that position and it will help you to answer questions better.
On Google, write the name of the company. Usually the official website includes the full name of the company for example www.companyname.com
On the site you can find lots of information on the type of business the company does. For example, by clicking on the “About us” (Chi siamo) section, you can find out about the history of the company, or by clicking on “Our team” (Il nostro team)  you can see who works in that company. You can also find the person who has contacted you and read more about their role in the company.

Prepare some questions to ask, at least one. This will show that you are interested in the position offered. Try to make the questions about the practical aspect of the job, for example:

  • What exactly would my role be? (you can ask this question if the job post is not very clear)
  • How could a typical working day be described for someone working in this position?
  • What are the main challenges related to this position?
  • How many people will work directly with me and with what responsibilities?
  • You can also ask when the work should start and when they will decide who will be selected.

The questions help you better understand what role you will have and will demonstrate your interest in that position. You can also ask questions about the salary or the type of contract, but it is better to wait for the recruiter to address the topic.

Hygiene and appearance are an important part of an interview. During the interview you will be in close contact with the person in charge of recruiting. Therefore, he/she will notice clearly how you present yourself. For this reason, you should try to be as clean and tidy and as possible.
Wear a shirt and long pants. If you can, avoid jeans, pants, or dresses that are too short. Your hair must also be sorted. In Italy, it is best not to keep your hat on during an interview.
Too many accessories are generally not recommended, especially if they are bulky or flashy. It is also better to avoid perfumes, colognes and aftershaves that are too strong or in too high quantities.

  • Arriving on time is essential, it is even better if you show up 10 minutes early. Turn off your phone before starting a job interview.
  • In Italy, shaking hands is very common, especially during a formal meeting such as a job interview. Try to shake hands not too strongly and not too weakly. If you cannot shake hands for personal reasons, like for religious reasons for example, you can put your hand on your chest and say: – ”It is a real pleasure to meet you. Thank you for giving me the time today”. Some people may be surprised by this gesture, this is normal in many cultures. You can simply explain that it is your religion and that you do not want to be disrespectful.
  • Wait for the interviewer to sit down before you do it.
  • Remain calm. A person who smiles conveys tranquility and confidence. If you do not understand a question, ask the interviewer to repeat it or to speak more slowly, but try to answer in a clear and calm manner. It is normal for anyone to be agitated and to make mistakes during an interview. The recruiter knows this, so if this happens, take some time to relax and start over.
  • In Italy, it is important to make eye contact when speaking. This is a way to show respect and interest. It might be different in other cultures. The interviewer may not be aware of this custom, so if you avoid looking at her/him in the eye he may think that you are not very interested or attentive.
  • Pay attention to the tone of your voice. Talking with a high voice may seem arrogant, conversely the low voice may seem to be very shy or insecure. It is best to find a middle tone. Maybe you could practice before the interview with a friend.
  • When you arrive at the interview, you can be greeted by several people. Try to be polite and respectful to everyone.
  • Once the interview is over, don’t forget to thank the recruiter for the time she/he has given you. You can politely ask for a business card or email. This way you will have the direct contact to get in touch in the future.

You could be asked to do a telephone or video interview. Do not underestimate its importance. Respond calmly and with concentration. Choose or move to a quiet place where you can be focused, away from children or noisy places, like a coffee shop or a bar.

An email to thank is sent to the person who interviewed you, within 1 or 2 days after the interview. It is sent to thank the recruiter for the time they have dedicated to you.

Sending the email depends on where you were interviewed and if you have an email to write to directly.

Why it is advisable?

  • This is the last chance to make a good impression.
    Since you will not be the only candidate to do the interview, the email will remind the person who interviewed you of your application. You will show that you are really interested in the job offer.
  • If, because of the emotion, you forget to say some important detail about your training or work experience, you can always add it in this email.

An example of an email to say thanks could be:

Dear Mr / Mrs (name of interviewer)

Thank you for taking the time to interview me today. It was really a pleasure to have new information about the position and the team. I am very enthusiastic about the opportunity to join your company, and to be able to be useful, thanks to my experience and skills, (write the job you would like to do) in achieving the team and corporate goals.

For more information, please feel free to contact me at this email address or on the number xxxx, and I will be more than happy to answer.
I look forward to hearing from you and, I sincerely hope, in a future meeting.

Thanks for your attention,

Best regards
(name surname)
——–
Gentile Sig./ra (nome del intervistatore)

La ringrazio per avermi dedicato il suo tempo oggi intervistandomi. È stato veramente un piacere avere nuove informazioni sulla posizione e la squadra. Sono molto entusiasto riguardo l’opportunità di inserimento nella vostra azienda, e di poter essere utile, grazie alle mie esperienze e competenze, (scrivi la mansione che andresti a fare) raggiungendo gli obiettivi del team e quelli aziendali.

Per ulteriori informazioni, non esitate a contattarmi a questo indirizzo email o al numero xxxx e sarò più che contento a rispondere.
Resto in attesa di vostre notizie e, spero vivamente, in un futuro incontro.

Grazie dell’attenzione,

Cordiali saluti
(nome cognome)

 

After setting up a job interview, sometimes it can happen that for personal reasons you need to move or cancel the appointment.

Move a job interview

Only move your job interview if you don’t have other alternatives.
If possible, try your best to move your other appointments first. The job interview is critical to make a good impression on a future employer.

Notify as soon as possible. It is always better to speak directly with the interviewer. You should send an email only if you absolutely can’t call, or they are unreachable. The important thing is to suggest other dates to do the job interview as soon as possible. Here is an example of an email you can send:

“I am very sorry, unfortunately I will not be able to attend the job interview tomorrow (or on the fixed day) because of an unforeseen event that I cannot postpone. I am still interested in the job and would be hugely grateful if we could schedule the interview for another day”.
——–
Sono molto dispiaciuto, purtroppo per un imprevisto che non posso rimandare non potrò presentarmi al colloquio di domani (o il giorno fissato). Sono ancora interessato al lavoro e sarei enormemente grato se potessimo fissare per un altro giorno”.

If you can call, apologize for the inconvenience you have created by canceling the appointment. Try to be flexible with the days you propose the interview to be postponed. It will show that you remain available to the interview, and it will be appreciated by the interviewer.

Cancel an interview

If you have accepted another job, inform the interviewer as soon as you can that you want to cancel your appointment. Always try to be kind. You could say, for example:

Thank you for giving me the opportunity for an interview, but I have accepted another job offer these past days. I thank you very much for your time
——–
La ringrazio per avermi dato l’opportunità di un colloquio, ma in questi giorni ho accettato un’altra offerta di lavoro. La ringrazio molto per il suo tempo”.

If you are thinking of canceling the interview because you have learned unpleasant things about the company, then you could say:

Thank you very much for giving me the opportunity for an interview, unfortunately I will have to cancel it. I decided to focus on other possibilities right now. Thank you for your time with me
——–
La ringrazio molto che lei mi abbia dato l’opportunità di un colloquio, purtroppo dovrò annullarlo. Ho deciso di concentrarmi su altre possibilità in questo momento. La ringrazio per il suo tempo che mi ha dedicato”.

In general, it is important to always be available and cordial towards the company and the people who will contact you. It may happen that you will need to hear from them again in the future and maybe these different companies where you will be interviewing know each other. Making a good impression is always very helpful.

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