By Barbara Schöfl, Head of HR at Runtastic
We really appreciate our candidates preparing themselves before applying. However, lots of application training courses and blog posts like “5 Ways to Make Your Job Application Stand Out” or “Interview Tips That Will Get You the Job” make Runtastic’s applicants’ and Talent Scouts’ lives more difficult rather than easier. Merely reading and hearing certain phrases makes our Talent Scouts cringe. Here are our worst 7 and why you shouldn’t stick to them if you want to join our fun and amazing team.
#1 Strengths and Weaknesses
No professional interviewer would ask you to list your strengths and weaknesses. Why? Because “I’m just way too impatient,” “My perfectionism makes me work overtime” or (even worse) “I’m so addicted to chocolate” is not useful information (apart from the fact that we’d tell the chocolate lovers about our Chocolate Thursdays). Interviews are a way to find out about your soft and hard skills – but directly asking for them usually doesn’t make sense because all you get is scripted answers. So instead of listing strengths and weaknesses in your application documents (or during interviews without even being asked about them), why not spend that time in a more meaningful way, e.g. thinking about why you are interested in the position and the company? This will help you find out what you are really looking for in your professional future.
#2 Rockstars, Superheroes and Ninjas
Not listing weaknesses does not mean we want you to focus on trying to write/say whatever you think your opposite would like to read/hear. To be honest, people who call themselves Software Engineering Rockstar or Marketing Ninja usually turn out to be the opposite. While we totally get that you want to flaunt what you’ve got to offer, being overly self-confident without reflecting on your skills, passions and expectations won’t get you a job at Runtastic. Trust us, there is (almost) nothing worse than reading the same generic phrase in cover letters over and over again.
#3 Body language
Speaking of authenticity – please just forget all the advice on gestures and facial expressions during an interview. Focusing on superficial details like these usually only makes you look tense and is a waste of energy in an already exciting interview situation. You’re better off investing your energy in paying attention to what the interviewers are asking. Stay true to yourself – we’re curious to get to know you.
#4 Copycat questions
You will also get the chance to ask questions during a job interview – seize it! Don’t waste that opportunity to get to know your potential employer by asking questions you found somewhere on the internet because you think they’ll thrill your interviewers. What will actually make a good impression is informing yourself upfront about the company and asking what you are genuinely interested in.
#5 Dress code
There is tons of advice on how to dress for job interviews – forget about all that when you are invited for an interview at Runtastic. We are interested in you as a person, in your skills and traits – not in your fashion style. Wear whatever you feel most comfortable in (well, as long as you don’t wear adidas’ competitor brands in the office).
Lots of applicants call potential employers before applying to get a foot in the door. At least at Runtastic, you won’t have ANY advantage over other applicants if you call and ask, for example, whether that position is still available (rule of thumb: if it’s on our career page, it’s open). However, if you happen to know someone who works at the company, make use of that: ask that person about whatever you are interested in, and it will make it easier for you to prepare your application documents (and interviews).
#7 Sell yourself
There is absolutely no benefit in fooling your potential employer – even if you manage to convince them by deviating from the truth (okay, let’s stay blunt: with lying), the truth will come out at the latest when you start working there. And having to look for a new job after just a short time isn’t your goal, right?
Looking for a new job is somehow like dating – you try to find the perfect match. And if there is no match and you desperately try to make the relationship work, nobody will benefit from it. Long story short: be authentic, be yourself and try to find out whether the company’s culture and the position fit your expectations. (And here’s more advice on what to pay attention to when applying at Runtastic.)