Top 4 tips to handle job interviews in English

One of the most daunting experiences for any speaker of English as a foreign language is the job interview. In this week’s post, our Managing Director Hauke Tallon shares his thoughts on this most dreaded of tasks, and offers four simple tips to help you perform better.


OK, the worst is over and businesses are starting to employ people again, so there is some cause for optimism.  Very few people are naïve enough to think that now the worst is over getting a job will be easy – the reality is still a very tough market that can pick and choose from a big talent pool.  This is especially true for those early in their careers with less experience to offer.  So how do you gain a competitive advantage over other candidates competing for the same job? 

One way is to demonstrate that you are adaptable enough to work in an international environment in English. Having good English language qualifications is important – or often essential - to get yourself onto the interview shortlist, but being able to evidence your abilities in an interview could well be a deciding factor. 

As with any interview, being prepared is critically important – even more so when your entire career path is at stake.  So let’s think about some key points that you might want to consider when preparing for that job interview in English.

1.  Practice makes perfect
Sit with someone who has good English language skills and talk through your work history in the same way you would in an interview in your own language.  Do you have all the expressions and key vocabulary you will need to do this with confidence?  It’s only by actually doing this that you will be alerted to potential gaps that you may not be aware of.

2.  Know your facts
As with any interview preparation, put yourself in the position of the interviewer.  What would you ask someone if you were interviewing for the job?  Do you know everything you should know about the company?  Try and drop in a few key facts that demonstrate that you have done your homework.  Sometimes dates and numbers – especially very large numbers – can be tricky to say in English, so don’t slip up on the basics!

3.  Remember to listen
It sounds obvious, but making notes will help you to structure your responses.  You can also jot down key words and phrases the interviewer uses and pick up on them later. 

4.  Have a few key opening phrases ready
Think about how you will begin some of your answers and questions.  Having a few useful phrases ready will give you time to consider the actual point of the discussion, rather than worrying about how to phrase it. 

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