Insider tips: A word from a recruiter

In her role as an HR Partner for Linde in Munich, Jeannine Kraemer has seen more than her fair share of candidates apply to the company. In this interview, we ask her how candidates can give themselves the best chance of being offered a job at Linde. Discover her experiences, advice and more!

So Jeannine, let’s start by learning more about your CV! What did you do before Linde?

I studied International Business Administration in Germany and France. After that I worked for Korn Ferry – an international executive search company before moving to Ferrero – the chocolate producer where I was HR manager. In 2010, I joined Linde.

It is really important that a CV gives us a clear, at-a-glance understanding of the candidate’s career history and development.

So, the CV is the first time you see a candidate’s profile. What are you trying to assess at this point?

We’re trying to assess whether the candidate’s profile fits the role in question. Good CVs really help us during this pre-selection phase by showing the relevant experience and helping us determine whether this fits to the role/vacant position. It is really important that a CV gives us a clear, at-a-glance understanding of the candidate’s career history and development.


They often say that when it comes to CVs “some are great, some are bad and most are ok”. What, from your experience, makes a CV stand out from the crowd? 

A good CV tells you a story about a person. A bad one means you really have to search for the information because it isn’t focused. In my opinion, structure is really important. Use headlines, bold titles, and have it well-spaced. Also, think about customizing your CV to certain roles by emphasizing relevant information.
Portrait of Jeannine Kraemer, Linde HR partner smiling with candidate
All information should somehow give us an indication of potential strengths, motivation or outlook.

What is the optimum length for a CV?

I would say that there is no ‘limit’ as such but it should correlate with the career stage. For example, if someone has just graduated from university, their CV shouldn’t be five pages long!

Portrait of Jeannine Kraemer, Linde HR partner smiling with candidate

When does information become irrelevant? Should candidates mention that they are captain of a sports team for example?

Put it this way: all information should somehow give us an indication of potential strengths, motivation or outlook. Extra-curricular information should be kept very short and to the point – and make sure it’s true! I’ve interviewed many people who claim to be “interested in travelling and culture” who really don’t seem in the least bit interested when asked about it!


Let’s move on to motivation or cover letters that accompany the CV. What, in your view, makes a good one?

For me, a good one should first and foremost add value by providing additional information. It should not summarize the career history again! I’d like to see things like your motivation for change, more information on competencies that aren’t seen on CVs –  like your working style – and finally, practical information like notice periods and salary expectations. Whatever you do, don’t just list the job spec again and then say “oh by the way, I fit all of these!”

And now to the interview – a source of great anxiety for many candidates! What are Linde trying to get out of the candidate at this stage?

Well firstly, nobody should be afraid of having an interview at Linde. We try to make it an open, honest, two-way conversation, but of course we understand that people are often nervous or excited, or both. The purpose is really to assess the candidate’s suitability for the role, as well as what they want out of it and whether we can fulfil that. It also gives us the chance to explore any gaps between the role and the candidate’s experience, and of course assess the cultural fit: does the candidate have values that will fit to Linde in general, but also the team they’ll be working with.


What do you mean by a two-way conversation?

We often ask the candidate at the end of the interview if they have any questions for us and more often than not, they say “no”! I always find this really surprising. Think of the amount of time you spend at work: it’s a good portion of your life! You should be trying to find out as much as possible about the role, responsibilities, the projects, the interfaces, the team, the manager, etc. Bottom line: use the opportunity to ask questions!


Well firstly, nobody should be afraid of having an interview at Linde.
They should read the job description, think of questions they might be asked, understand what Linde does and finally show interest!

From your experience, what would you say is the golden rule for a job interview?

It is so important that people come prepared. They should read the job description, think of questions they might be asked, understand what Linde does and finally show interest! Sometimes I’m facing a candidate thinking “why is this person here?” because they just seem so unenthusiastic about the role!


And any absolute no-gos?

I’ve often heard candidates talk in a negative way about their current employer – that’s generally a no-go. Also, there’s honest and there’s too honest! I once asked a candidate “do you have any questions for us about the role?” and he said “oh, I didn’t have time to read the job ad again so I’m not really sure!”. Don’t ever say that!

What about phone interviews. Any specific tips here?

First and foremost, even though phone interviews are slightly less personal, try to make a connection with the interviewer at the beginning, through some general conversation for example. Practically speaking, make sure you have a quiet setting where you won’t be disturbed and of course, prepare yourself as you would for a face-to-face interview.

Linde is a fascinating company. We are proud of what we do and have a lot to offer

Finally, do you remember your own interview experience at Linde?

I remember it well! I remember coming away from it with the impression that I really had an honest picture of life at Linde. I felt confident making a decision based on that.


Have you got any last words of inspiration for anyone out there planning to apply at Linde?

Linde is a fascinating company. We are proud of what we do and have a lot to offer - so don’t be shy in approaching us! Be authentic and show us who you really are.
Portrait of Jeannine Kraemer, Linde HR partner smiling with candidate