During a recent housecleaning, I came upon a book called Job Interviews for Dummies. I must have bought it right after my studies, unaware of my future role as a Recruiter. The book got me thinking: If a job seeker studied this book from beginning to end – leaving out the required skillset for the job – would he or she have a better chance of being hired at Booking.com? Do these tips and tricks work on me and the other interviewing teams here?

Turns out, many tips in Job Interviews for Dummies make sense: Be prepared for your interview, arrive promptly and make a good first impression. These basics are certainly true. As a Recruiter, I’d add a few key items that will help you prepare for an interview at Booking.com:

1. “I don’t know”
At Booking.com, we very much appreciate a plain “I don’t know” response to a question over a complicated blur of words. Understanding that you simply don’t know is much more beneficial for the hiring team. Being humble is a key value of Booking.com. If you are honest and humble enough to admit when you don’t know, you might be a good fit for the Booking.com culture.

We don’t expect you to have an answer to every question. Give yourself permission to not know it all. Acknowledging this fact can feel quite liberating and will give you confidence during the interview.


2. Ask questions.
Job Interviews for Dummies includes a tidbit that reads something like: “Prepare at least two questions that demonstrate your interest in the position.” And, it’s true! If a candidate doesn’t ask any questions during the interview, I’m slightly disappointed.

Note: Don’t ask questions for the sake of asking questions. Instead, be interested in the job. I’ve seen candidates get so excited about the role that they forget to ask the critical questions that will help them understand if they’ll enjoy it. We are interviewing you, but at the same time, you should be interviewing us. You’re the only one who knows what you’re looking for in a company, what’s important to you in a job and what you expect from your future employer. Get clarity on these crucial elements before you accept an offer!

3. The best and the worst interviews are short.
If a candidate is obviously not qualified for a job, we don’t need long find out. Usually, it’s more complex. In the same interview there can be good answers, answers that don’t tell us anything and weaker answers. It takes time for us to arrive at a conclusion.

However, if you’re highly qualified and a great fit for a role, the interview doesn’t need to be that long. We love short, straightforward answers. Once you’ve answered the question, stop talking. The information you give beyond that might be interesting, but you haven’t heard our next question yet. Remember you can always shine by giving a good, brief answer.