As an HR manager, I can tell you that I receive dozens of resume every day, and looking at all of them tends to be a huge waste of time. To be honest, I take only a 30-second glance at each one to get a first impression. I have to say that during job interviews, it works like this as well and the first impression you give a recruiter is often crucial. If I had to give one piece of advice, it’s to be yourself, show interest and show how you can help your employer by demonstrating your competitive advantage.
What are the types of interviews you can get in Brazil?
As I said, every day, HR recruiters receive tons of application forms. In Brazil, in order to filter candidates (especially concerning young applicants), recruiters use what they call “Dinâmica” interviews. These are group interviews which allow recruiters to make a first quick selection.
The cafezinho (small coffee) is the most common informal interview you can get in Brazil. Once you have met someone (maybe at one of our networking events) it is likely this person will invite you to have a drink or lunch in order to find out more about you. Indeed, in Brazil, the relationship established between the employer and employee is an important one, and you will never find a job without developing your connections. And be careful! Sometimes cafezinhos can suddenly turn into formal job interviews without you noticing, especially if the coffee is close to the recruiter’s office! Do not neglect cafezinhos!
Last, but not least, we have the formal interview: the one most of you know and are already used to. To succeed in this final interview, there are do’s and don’ts, as well as certain mistakes to avoid. Again, do not pretend you are someone you are not! Relax and demonstrate why you would be the perfect candidate.
Mistakes you should avoid at all costs
Talking too much
Interviews are conversations. They are an exchange between two or more people, so avoid taking over the conversation! Ask questions and show interest, both about the other person and about the firm that might hire you. Be sure to know the most important information about the company. This will demonstrate your interest and will help you to know what to ask at the right moment without looking uninformed.
Arrival and behavior
Make sure you arrive on time during your job interview (I should not even have to say this!). Someone who shows up late for a job interview is never recruited. Furthermore, be friendly and make sure you smile. I always ask my colleagues how the candidate behaved with them, and if they reveal that someone wasn’t nice, I would never recruit the person even if he or she had been perfect on paper. If someone offers you a drink or a coffee upon your arrival, never refuse (or accept at least a cup of water). You are in Brazil, and a refusal would be rude.
Be too relaxed
You are a job seeker, and so make sure you behave like such. Have good posture, be nice, turn off your phone before arriving, and do not appear arrogant. This includes avoiding criticizing Brazil and the way of working in Brazil. This might be natural for you to do, but in a country where it is not very common to criticize this will end up making you seem arrogant. Definitely not good during an interview.
Not asking questions
Once more, and this point is very important, asking questions shows your interest and preparation for the interview. Furthermore, you will seem like someone keen to learn and to understand how things work. This is a huge way to stand out during job interviews with other applicants.
Here are some questions frequently asked during interviews. You should be prepared to answer them well:
Do you like Brazil?
What do you think of Brazilian productivity?
Do you think you are ready to manage incompetent people?
How long do you plan to stay in Brazil?
Why do you want to work with us?
Why you and not another candidate?
How do you see yourself entering and integrate within a Brazilian team?
How many elevators does São Paulo have? (this is a tricky question used most of the time in the finance sector, and the answer is obviously not important – but your thought process to answer is)
To conclude, here are some figures to back up my points: 7% of the impact for a potential hire is made with the first few words the candidate says; 38% of recruiters focus on grammar; 55% on the way the candidate is dressed and behaves; 65% of recruiters say that the way people dress for an interview makes the difference between two similar candidates. Good luck in your job search!