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How To Answer “What’s Your Greatest Weakness?”

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The one question I am always asked when preparing a candidate for an interview is “how do I answer the weakness question?”

 

The worst reaction you can have to this question is to say I don’t have a weakness. Everyone has a weakness and the reason the interviewer is asking this question is to see how you act outside your comfort zone.

 

People often make the common mistake of trying to turn a negative into a positive. An example of this would be I’m a perfectionist or I work too hard. These answers are boring and show the interviewer you have put very little thought into his/her question. Also you are not actually answering the question you’re just trying to put a clever spin on it.Another mistake candidates make is being too honest. Never mention a weakness that you have if it is going to stop you from getting the job. So don’t answer “I’m lazy” or that “I’m always late” as this is not what your potential new employer wants to hear.

 

The trick to answering this is in the same way you would answer any interview question and that’s by preparing your answer in advance. It can be very difficult to talk about your flaws in a stressful situation like an interview so make sure you spend time preparing your answer.

 

These are a few ways to best answer the weakness question:

 

1. Pick a weakness that is acceptable for the job

Don’t pick a skill or requirement that is on the job spec that you don’t have and say it is your main weakness. This will only put doubt into the interviewers head.

 

2. Pick a weakness that you can develop

For this type of answer you might think of an example where you had a weakness but developed it over the course of your time in prior employment.

 

3. Describe your weakness in a concise way

Don’t go into loads of detail on this question. They are asking you your weakness so be brief and don’t come across as negative. A common answer that candidates often use when asked the weakness question is on their delegation skills.

 

Here you can mention a time when you used to have the mentality that only you could do the job but over time you realised that it was actually slowing the work down and by delegating to other staff members the job was done quicker. This answer is perfect to give but it depends on what job you are going for. If you are going for a managerial role where managing and delegating work will be part of your job description then don’t use delegating as your weakness.

 

Every question in an interview is an opportunity for you to sell yourself, so it is important you never miss a genuine opportunity and the weakness question is no different. Treat it like you would any interview questions that you find hard and prepare your answer.

Posted by Clare Reynolds on 20 February 2019

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Tax System in Germany

Tax System in Germany

Tax System in Germany Understanding the tax system is vital when moving to a new country. Below is an account of Germany’s income tax system accurate as of 2019. This account was taken straight from our “Berlin Relocation Guide” which can be downloaded here: https://www.sigmarrecruitment.eu/relocating-to-germany/berlin If you are a resident of Germany, you have full income tax liability. All income earned in Germany and abroad is subject to German income tax and a solidarity surcharge. Germany’s income tax system is progressive, meaning that the rate of tax increases as income increases ranging from 0–45%. For married couples, rates are more favorable when tax is filed jointly. The tax year runs from January 1st to December 31st. If you do have to file your own taxes, the cutoff date is May 31st for the preceding year. The rates for 2019 are; 0 – 9,169 0% 9,169 - 14,255 14-24% 14-256 - 55,960 24-42% 55,691 – 265,236 42% 265,327+ 45% Solidarity Surcharge The solidarity surcharge (Solidaritaetszuschlag) is an additional fee on income tax, capital gains tax and corporate tax in Germany. This means that the solidarity surcharge is to be paid by every natural and legal person that owes one of the above-mentioned taxes in Germany. This surcharge is levied at 5.5% of the income tax for higher incomes. Withholding/Pay as you Earn Tax Income from employed work and capital income are taxed at the source, meaning you as a tax payer will not need to file your own taxes come year end. The tax owed will be deducted and retained at the source by the employer or by the bank before the earnings are payed out. If the employer is a German company or a foreign enterprise with a permanent establishment or a representative in Germany, the employer is legally obliged to withhold taxes from an employee’s salary and to remit the taxes to the tax office monthly. Paying Income Tax When you are taxed at the source, your tax will be based on your personal status. You will fall into a certain class that will directly affect how much tax you pay. Below are the six types of tax classes: Class 1: Single Class 2: Single parent (living alone with the child/children) Class 3: Married and spouse (when spouse does not have an income) Class 4: Married and similar income to spouse Class 5: Opposite of class 3, i.e this is the class the second earner chooses if the spouse opts for class 3 Class 6: For a second job or for deduction without proper employee information The taxation at source for capital income will be done with a flat tax rate of 25% (add solidarity surcharge of 5.5% of the amount of tax).

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The Power of Networking - 5 Benefits Networking Can Have on Your Career

The Power of Networking - 5 Benefits Networking Can Have on Your Career

1. Get Help and Be Helped One of the most significant parts of building a professional network is the opportunity it presents you to ask others for help when you need it and to help other people in your network. It happens to all of us at some point when we need an extra pair of hands to help us solve a problem. All jobs present bumps in the road and it’s great to have a professional network you can lean on in times of struggle and vice versa you can lend a helping hand when your network need help. 2. Be Inspired by Ideas Networking can be so beneficial to our creativity and inspire us to do more in our work. If you’re feeling a little lost or not as pumped about your job as you once were, go to a work event or conference and start talking to people! These people can have a similar role as you or a completely different role, or just work in the same industry. Don’t focus on what level they are either. Different levels of experience will bring you all kinds of different insights. It doesn’t matter what role they are in or what level they are, they will always share something new with you. It’s a great way to come back to the office with new and exciting ideas. 3. Build a Good Reputation Building your network will get you known among those in your industry. More visibility is a great way to build your reputation. Getting yourself out there and being noticed by your peers will help you make a name for yourself. Word of mouth can go very far and if you make enough good impressions a level of trust for you and what you do will follow. This will stand to you if you decide to apply for a new role. You may not know your interviewer directly, but they may have a connection to you through a mutual contact, who has nothing but positive things to say about you. 4. Grow your Confidence Career advancement isn’t the only benefit to networking. It can help with your personal growth as well. By continually putting yourself out there and meeting new people and stepping out of your comfort zone on a regular basis, will help you to build invaluable social skills and self-confidence that you can take with you anywhere. The more you network, the more you’ll grow and learn. 5. Gain New Friendships The last benefit doesn’t impact your professional career, but it doesn’t make it any less significant. Spending time socialising and building your network will naturally lead you to making friends. Some of the strongest and long-standing friendships have started as work connections. The people you network with will be like-minded with similar aspirations and struggles as you so it’s not unlikely that a work relationship could develop into a friendship. We have heard it time and time again, advancing in your career is just as much about who you know as what you know. That’s why networking is so important to your career, but networking can benefit you personally just as much as it can professionally. Spending time networking will be very worthwhile and the best part is that it’s never too late to start investing in your network.

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Visas in Germany

Visas in Germany

There are several different types of visas in Germany, below is a list of the most applicable. Tourist & Visitor visa Family Reunion visa to join a relative or a partner Job Seeker visa Working visa Business visa Training/Internship visa A full list of German visas can be found at https://www.germany-visa.org/ Who Needs A Visa German law requires anyone who wishes to take up employment or pursue self-employment in Germany, to obtain a national visa if you are not from an EU member state. Exceptions to this: Nationals of Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea (South Korea) or the United States of America. Holders of an EU Blue Card which was issued by another EU member state, that has been valid for at least 18 months. Holders of the unlimited residence title EU Permanent Residence issued by an EU member state (except Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Great Britain, Ireland or Romania). Working Visa This is most likely the visa that you will need. A working visa or German employment visa is an opportunity for qualified foreigners to settle in Germany and work in their field. It gives its holder the chance to enter and work in Germany for up to two years, with the possibility of extending the visa, and later applying for an EU Blue Card, or other types of residence permits. Criteria for Obtaining a Visa According to the “Act on Residence”, the act that regulates the residence issue for foreigners in Germany, the following categories are eligible: Highly qualified foreigners, in particular: People with special technical knowledge. Teaching personnel in prominent positions or scientific personnel in prominent positions. Intra-corporate transferees, in particular: Managers. Specialists. Furthermore, third-world country nationals with a university degree or a non-academic vocational qualification that fulfil the conditions listed below: There is a shortage of skilled workers in the profession you want to practice in Germany. You have a concrete job offer. Your education must be recognized as equivalent with a German degree. How to Apply for a Germany Work Visa? Get a job offer in Germany. Check if you need a visa to Germany for long-stays. Find out where you need to submit your visa application. Collect all of the required documents according to the instructions. Make an appointment for a visa interview. Pay the German Employment Work visa fee. Attend the interview. Wait for a response on your visa application. What Documents Will You Need? Two fully completed application forms printed and signed. Two passport photos. National passport. Proof of residence (from the area of the consulate where you want to apply). Health insurance (This certificate is compulsory in Germany and will be given to you by your employer). An employment contract/binding job offer. CV. Proof of qualification (Diplomas/certificates). Personal covering letter (explaining the purpose and duration of your stay). Proof of clean criminal record. Proof of paid visa fee (€75). Declaration of accuracy of information (https://www.germany-visa.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Declaration-of-Accuracy%EF%BB%BF_Information.pdf) Where To Apply You should apply for your visa at the representative body of Germany in your country that is responsible for visa admission: German Embassy. A German Consulate. A Visa Application Centre. How Long Will It Take? The processing time for a ling-stay visa is between one and three months depending on how many visa applications have been received and your personal situation.

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Interview Nerves… Go Away!!!

Interview Nerves… Go Away!!!

“His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy. He’s nervous, but on the surface he looks calm and ready…” Could a song sum up interview nerves and interviews in general any better than Eminem’s Lose Yourself? I think not! The intro says it all, you only have one chance to impress and secure yourself that opportunity so it’s no wonder that we all experience nerves when going to a job interview. The problem is these nerves can often be a hindrance to us. You’re trying to portray yourself as the confident, capable individual you are but instead your nerves reduce you to a sweaty palmed, voice trembling, body jittering fool. So what can you do to manage your nerves? 1. Be Prepared Number 1 has to be to always do your homework. The more you know the more confident you will feel when answering an interviewer’s questions. Research the company. Know their history, products/services, competitors etc. Also don’t confine your research to just the company’s website, check out their social media pages also. A company blog is a great way of finding out what the company is currently working on and talking about. The same goes for Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Pinterest. These pages can give you excellent information that you may not have found otherwise. 2. Say it out loud Secondly, practice answers for anticipated interview questions. Not only come up with answers to these questions but get used to actually speaking them. Quite often jobseekers come up with answers to interview questions in their heads but never practice their delivery and then end up sticking “ums” “ems” and “likes” in as filler as they rack their brains trying to remember what they wrote down. By practicing your answers aloud, it will calm your nerves and you will become more comfortable with your delivery. 3. Plan Ahead I cannot emphasise this enough – DO NOT BE LATE FOR YOUR INTERVIEW!!! Not only does it look bad, but you’ll arrive to your interview in a panic. So to rule out any mishap on the morning that might cause you to be late, get everything ready the night before. Lay out what you’re wearing, making sure everything is crease and stain free. Have copies of your CV (and portfolio if required) printed and in a folder ready to go. Map out your travel route, know exactly what route/form of transport you’re taking and give yourself a half hour extra in case of traffic disruptions. So what if you arrive early, it’ll give you an opportunity to relax, look over your notes and even to grab a cup of tea if you feel like it. 4. Think Confident – Be Positive Firstly take confidence from the fact you’ve been invited to interview, you wouldn’t be here if they weren’t interested in you. Drown out any self-doubt by reminding yourself of your skills, accomplishments and why you’d be a good fit for the job. It sounds silly but by thinking positively you’ll feel more confident in yourself. This is your opportunity to shine so don’t let self-doubt hold you back. “You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow. This opportunity comes once in a lifetime, yo”