Job Interview pitfall: Accept coffee or not?

The job interview: This is what the participants of a workshop I hosted last week wanted to talk about. Questions they had: “How is the interview structured?“, “How do I bring my motivation across the table?” After we practiced with the first impression, we reached the subject: Coffee. Now, this sounds like an easy and subject that does not need a lot of discussion and this was the subject that struck me really hard. Let me tell you why.

It happens just at the beginning of the interview, just after you arrived in the room or place the interview is held. Nine out of ten times you get the question: “Can I offer you something to drink? A coffee, tea?”  I asked the group: “What is your answer to this question?” This is where the participants stated as a group: “No, thank you, I am fine”. And this answer really blew me of my feet. I was going like: “No? Are you sure?” We stopped practicing right then, right there. We had something to talk about. I needed a minute to get back on my feet again and see how we could deal with this unanimously “NO”.

At your job interview: Coffee Connects

Refusing the drink that is offered to you at the beginning of the interview is bit impolite to do in NL. You always accept. Even If you don’t drink coffee (like I do), ask for tea or a glass of water. Even if you are not in for a drink, accept the offer. Just don’t say “NO”. As one of the organizers told me after this workshop: “The coffee is like the ointment to us. We need it to get the conversation going, to smooth it. It gets the tension off – on both sides.” She was almost saying: “no coffee, no talk, no glory.” The Coffee connects.

One of the unwritten rules of a job interview – in the Netherlands – is: Never say “NO” to the drink they offer you. This is one of the examples where cultural differences became visible in this workshop.  Where we could have an open talk about the “WHY” and it made unwritten rules visible – to everyone. And this is one of the things you really want to know before going to an interview. You can avoid these cultural differences by being informed about it. If you wonder how to get informed about this and other cultural differences that come across the table: I will address them in my next workshop Improve your Interview skills on May 15th – 19:00 hrs. You can register for the workshop on the special Eventbrite page.

You can practice your interview skills

Of course, the workshop contained lots more than the answer to the Coffee-question. We will practice with the most common interview questions, with the questions you find the hardest to answer. You will receive feedback on your presentation, your first impression and your answers. After the workshop you will be fully prepped for your next interview and know how to prepare and handle your next job interview. Join in, Get Ready, improve your interview skills and ace that job!

Wondering what kind of workshop I hosted last week? It was a workshop “How to apply & Present yourself in NL” for a group of young internationals. Similar to the Career Connection Kick Starter Boot Camp.

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