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Annette Rebentisch is recruiter at NORMA Group headquarters in Maintal. In this brief interview, she gives tips on the perfect job application and explains the classic recruitment process at NORMA Group.
Annette, please briefly describe your work.
I am responsible for recruitment at the German locations of NORMA Group in Maintal, Gerbershausen and Marsberg. My focus is mainly on vacancies in the commercial sector. As the worldwide contact for recruiting issues, I also manage and coordinate the global recruiting processes. Among my other tasks, I supported the introduction of our global recruiting system and set up global interview training for hiring managers.
Receiving both good and bad applications is part of your everyday work. Can you give a few tips on successfully applying for a job?
First and foremost, I would like to emphasize that I can only speak for the German job market, but some of what I have to say is certainly applicable internationally. In Germany, a classic application includes a cover letter, a CV (curriculum vitae) and of course references. Personally, I'm not a big fan of the classic cover letter, but attach more importance to an individual letter of motivation. In this letter, the applicant should justify his or her interest in the job. The letter of motivation should not be longer than one page.
A CV is of course always part of an application. Even for applicants who have obtained a lot of work experience, this should be no more than three pages long. I think one page is appropriate for career beginners. The CV should be compact and clearly structured because it is the applicant’s business card. There is not one right way of doing this. But what should not be missing under any circumstances are personal details such as the person’s name, address and phone number. Apart from that, the applicant should be able to find himself/herself in his/her CV and design it individually. There are many helpful tips on how to design the CV graphically on the Internet. Applicants should note that everything listed in the CV must also be proven, by presenting the appropriate certificates and references, for example.
And what about any gaps in the CV?
I always say people should not worry about leaving a gap. Whether it's a trip around the world, a sabbatical, the transitional phase between studies and working life or a time-out to care for relatives, a gap in your CV doesn't deter me. It is only important to me that it is not concealed and can be explained by the applicant.
How does a classic application procedure take place at NORMA Group?
The application procedure varies according to the region. Generally speaking, an application to NORMA Group is always only possible via our job portal. After reviewing the application documents, I arrange a brief telephone interview with the applicant to discuss any outstanding issues. If I have the feeling that it fits, I discuss this with the manager. Then I invite the applicant to an initial personal interview. From time to time, we also conduct this interview as a video interview, if the applicant lives abroad, for example. Most of the time, a second interview is held, in which we test the applicant's skills by means of a work sample, depending on the job requirements. This could be a presentation that the applicant has to prepare or a role play. In an interview for a position in the area of sales, for example, we stage a situation in which a customer calls us and complains.
That sounds exciting. Could you also give a few tips on how to prepare for the interview?
To prepare for a job interview, I always recommend going through the job description point by point and making a note of how you have already completed the activities described in the job profile. If you have not yet come into contact with a task in your previous working life, I advise you to consider how you would approach this task. The applicant should also consider the required soft skills in advance. If, for example, “determination” is required for the position, one should consider in which situation one has already demonstrated determination.
It is also an advantage to have a look at the NORMA Group homepage and the latest press releases in advance. This gives you a good overview of what is currently happening inside the company. I also think it's good if the applicant makes notes of a few questions about the job, the company or the department before the interview. The most important thing in any job interview is, of course, to listen attentively, not to interrupt and to answer questions as specifically as possible. And, last but not least, it is very important that the applicant does not misrepresent himself or herself and remains authentic.