Talking to companies
For the application process:
- When is the right time?
- Should I apply now, even if I don’t know my grades?
- What should the application look like with regard to form and content?
- How much do my final grades count?
- How specific do I need to be regarding the areas I want to work in?
- What are companies looking for in an application?
- How long does it take to get a response?
- Where do I apply, and to whom?
- What makes an application stand out?
For the position:
- What is a typical working day for this position?
- What is the typical development in the first 3–5 years? Mid-term outcomes?
- What should I be able to do especially well for this position?
- What knowledge and personal skills are indispensable?
- Specialist or management function in 5 years?
- What weaknesses are absolutely not acceptable in this job?
- Headquarters or branch location?
- Medium-sized or very large company? Both have advantages: ask questions.
- Salary / salary growth? (this should not be top priority!)
- Technical and interdisciplinary training / further education?
For internships or final theses:
- How far in advance do I need to apply?
- How clear does an applicant’s view of the job have to be?
- Supervision: how and by whom?
- International internships available? (only 5% of companies offer this)
- Remuneration during internship / final thesis?
- How long, ideally, should an internship last?
For your own expectations:
- What is my goal for the next 5 years? How can I best reach this goal?
- What are my areas of interest?
- How do I seem to others? What kind of people do I deal with best, and which type not?
- What do I require from my employer and the company?
- What are my strengths? What do I definitely not want to do?
- How do I want to appear in the interview?
- Checklist of all important questions
How to ask questions:
- Ask open questions rather than questions answered with just yes or no (e.g., using question words like which, why, how, what; rather than: are you ...; do you have ...)
- Maintain eye contact. Let your conversation partner speak, but be persistent if your questions are not being answered.
- Ask a company representative why he or she is working for that company, or why you should apply to that company and what advantages that may bring you.
Source: Verein für Hochschulkontakte e.V. (university contact association)