Don't let your English disappoint at interview.
I will share ways you can practice and improve your English specifically for your English job interview. If English is not your native language, then the prospect of an interview in English for a job will make you even more nervous. However, there are steps you can take to prepare and practice your English for a job interview so you can be confident of success.
Research your job interview questions on the internet
Did you know there are many job interview sites in English on the internet with typical interview questions and answers for the job you are seeking? Past interviewees even share the questions they were asked in English sometimes. So, type these phrases into a search engine and you will get some useful results:
Typical job interview questions:
• for Nursing
• for Financial Analyst
• in English
Now view the questions in each category.
Make notes only under the most important questions and practice your replies by saying your answers in English, using your notes as prompts. Your answers should be 1-3 sentences long usually and clear and concise. Note where you are having difficulty explaining yourself and practice until you feel comfortable.
Be ready to talk about your past, present and future in English
Interviewers want to know about you. So to prepare for this part of the interview, make 3 columns on a piece of paper:
- My history
- My CV, background, education / work history. My personality – Strengths / weaknesses
- Future: why I want this job – future prospects
Make general bullet points under each – only points – do not write an essay on each. Now practice your English by speaking aloud, focussing on each of the points you have made.
Be ready for the killer question 'tell me about yourself'. The answer should be a 2-4 sentence summary and not a monologue starting from your birth. The interviewer just wants an overview so this is a good possible reply:
'I'm a 35 year old Financial Analyst, married with 2 young children. I love my job but am looking for a more senior position with a bigger company where I can grow. '
Refine your responses
Practice responding with a headline and then give more detail and a real example where possible afterwards.
This clearly tells your interviewer what you are going to talk about – and shows them that you can evidence your response. So, one answer to: 'why do you think you would be good at the job?' could be:
'This job suits someone who is good with people and I think this is true of me. In my past employment my manager said this was one of my key strengths. '
If English is not your first language, you may get 'lost' in longer more complicated answers. Structure your responses and use useful phrases in English. For example, in response to the question –
'What are your strengths and weaknesses? You could reply with
'I believe I have 3 really key strengths. Firstly, I am good at …. secondly, I have the ability to ….. thirdly …. 'etc.
When you are nervous you tend to speak faster. It would be a great shame if you have prepared well – but then the interviewer cannot understand you because your pace is too fast.
Practice, practice, practice your English
Your job interview could be your passport to better life prospects. Ask yourself how important this job is to your life? Is it worth spending a little time and money on English lessons with a qualified teacher to get ahead? Choose an English teacher who has helped others with interview practice before. Ensure English lessons are 1-1 and entirely focused on your particular job interview. You may need only 5 lessons to ensure your English is perfect for the interview. Think; are the other candidates taking English training? To give yourself the best chance at interview, perhaps you need to do the same.