|Posted on 20 August, 2017 at 11:25|
Suitable for CEFR intermediate (B2+)
Job interviews can be nerve-wracking for anyone, but how should you prepare for an interview if English is not your first language?
Prepare for your English language job interview just as you would for any other interview. This should include researching the organisation's history, values, and mission statement.
You should also take care to determine your travel time, organise any materials or documents you will need, and choose an appropriate outfit.
Be aware that some companies may require that you take an English skills test during your interview, or ask you to provide certification of your English level (such as an IELTS certificate).
Anticipate potential questions
Most interviewers have a standard list of questions they use to determine whether you would be a good match for the position and the organisation. Questions might include:
• How would you describe yourself?
• What are your strengths?
• What are your weaknesses?
• Why do you want to work here?
Make a list of potential questions and take some time to think about how you would answer these in English using real-life examples that reference your job history.
Make sure to read the job description carefully, as it will often highlight the essential and desirable criteria that the interviewer will be looking for. It’s a good idea to have at least one real-life example you can use to explain how you match each criterion, and persuade the interviewer that you are the right person for the job.
If you find yourself struggling to answer a question, do not be afraid to ask the interviewer to repeat or reword their question. This is completely normal, and happens in many interviews between fluent English speakers. It’s better to avoid memorising your answers in order to sound as natural as possible during the interview.
One way to practise your language skills is to role-play the interview. Find an English-speaking friend who can act as the interviewer and give feedback on your answers. Alternatively, record yourself (on your mobile phone, computer or other recording device) asking and answering the questions in English. Play back the recording to see how you can improve your responses, or send it to a friend for suggestions.
During your role play, pay attention to the speed and clarity of your speech to ensure that your answers are easily comprehensible and convincing. Individuals tend to speak faster when nervous, so by practising speaking slowly and clearly during the role play, you will feel more relaxed and confident during the actual interview.
Consider the importance of body language
Research shows that most communication is non-verbal. Posture, eye-contact, facial expression, and gestures can all influence how you are perceived during an interview.
Also, pay attention to your tone. It’s unlikely that your interviewer will penalise you for pronouncing a word incorrectly, but if you smile and speak with confidence during the interview, you can be sure to make a positive impression.
Be proud of your language skills
In the global market, the ability to speak multiple languages is a major asset. In fact, many recruiters actively seek individuals who understand more than one language, so you can rest assured that your language skills will be valued.
Learning a new language also takes patience and dedication, two important attributes that can help set you apart from other job applicants. If you don’t have a lot of experience in the job you’re applying for, you might even consider sharing examples from your language-learning story to demonstrate some of the skills and personal qualities you could bring to the organisation.
But above all, when preparing for interview success, remember this...
Proper preparation prevents poor performance
Pick up more tips and learn how to improve your English skills for job applications, interviews and office life with Cara’s English at Work Online Course. Want to practise with the help of a qualified English teacher? Contact us