4 Surprising Tips for a Successful Job Interview in English

by | Mar 15, 2017 | 10 comments

Getting the job you want would be amazing, right? But first, you have to have a successful job interview in English. Without that, you’re stuck.

Job interview preparation is one of the most common requests I receive from my students and in emails. And I understand why… getting the job you want could change your life.


A job you love could:

  • Increase your salary (awesome!). Who doesn’t want a higher salary?
  • Create opportunities to travel & communicate with people all over the world (double awesome).
  • Bring more fulfillment and joy to your daily work life.
  • Increase opportunities & security for you and your family.
  • Provide a sense of satisfaction and the chance to share your expertise with others.
  • Change the world. People change the world every day. You might be next.

So what would happen if you had the opportunity to interview for the job you want?

Let’s get you ready with 4 Surprising Tips That Will Help with a Successful Job Interview in English.  If there is a job interview in English waiting for you, I want you to be 100% ready to go and confident in your English abilities.

Find out what’s important for your next job interview in English.

Lesson by Annemarie

Tip 1: Know What Your Body Language Is Saying About You in the Interview

Did you know your job interview starts the moment you walk in the door? In English-speaking culture, that first impression matters. That includes how you’re dressed (but we’ll save that for another time). Here we’re going to focus on your body language or nonverbal communication.

Your non-verbal communication is how you stand, how you sit, your handshake, what you do with your hands and feet, where your eyes look, etc.

Now, don’t get nervous! I’m going to help you with each one. We’re going to focus on what to do (and not to do) in an English-speaking culture so you can be impressive and appear confident right from that start.

Stand and sit up straight.

Not sure how you appear? Practice walking, standing, and sitting in front of a mirror. Look at yourself. Are you slouching or shrinking? Or are you sitting with your back straight? Does it look natural? Practice so it feels comfortable and natural for you.

Use a firm handshake.

Every culture has a different way of greeting and in professional English-speaking culture, you need to have a good handshake. This means a firm, but not a tight grip. You don’t want to hurt the interviewer but you don’t want to seem weak either.

Keep your hands and feet still.

Yes, it’s very likely you’ll be feeling nervous. Most of us do because we want to do well and we feel so much pressure. But when you tap your feet or fidget with your hands, it shows that you’re nervous. Plus, it’s distracting. Your goal is to look confident and professional.

Before your interview, practice answering questions out loud and be sure to practice your body language as well.

Keep your eyes focused and look your interview in the eye.

Eye contact is essential in English-speaking culture. We use eye contact to show that we’re listening and we’re focusing on the discussion. No eye-contact communicates that you’re bored, annoyed, or just not listening.

“If there’s a job interview in English waiting for you, I want you to be 100% ready to go and feeling confident in your English abilities.”

Tip 2: Avoid Vague Answers to Job Interview Questions

During your job interview, you’ll be asked many challenging questions. For example:

  • Have you ever had a disagreement with your boss? What happened and how did you deal with it?
  • How would you describe your leadership style?
  • What is the most challenging part of working with a team and how do you manage it?

In each of these questions, the interviewer is looking for information about you, your personality, how you work with others and other information about how you behave at work. The most important part of your answer is a clear, concrete, real-life example.

The temptation is to give a general, vague answer such as, “Oh, I would usually just have a meeting with my boss to talk about it but we never really disagreed.” One, that probably isn’t true. We all have times when we disagree. And that answer isn’t enough. Instead, share a specific story or event. Talk about one specific time you disagreed with your boss. Use these questions to help you:

  • What was the situation? Think about: who, what, when, where, why, how…
  • What was the specific challenge or difficulty of the situation?
  • What action did you take?
  • What was the final result?

You can use those four questions to help you be best prepared for most of your interview questions. And that’s the keyword: prepare! Prepare and practice your answers to the interview questions before your interview.

Tip 3: Know How to Talk About Yourself & Show Confidence (But Not Arrogance)

Now that you know how to answer interview questions, let’s talk about English-speaking culture and expectations for what you should say about yourself.

A job interview is your chance to promote yourself. This is where you focus on what you are good at, what your special strengths and unique talents are, how you’ve solved problems and been awesome at previous jobs.

This can feel uncomfortable. Some of us naturally want to be humble, we might feel embarrassed focusing on ourselves. But if you’re interviewing with an American, don’t. It is 100% expected that you highlight yourself and show confidence in who you are.

Once again, preparing ahead of time will help you do this. Create a list of your strengths and skills. Write down what you do particularly well in your work. Highlight problems you’ve solved. Then use these notes to help you prepare your answers.

Note: While showing confidence is important, you want to find a balance so you don’t appear arrogant. Confidence says, “I’m good at… and I can solve problems such as…” but arrogance says, “I’m better/smarter/more important than… because…”

Tip 4: Know How to Be Better Than the Competition by Asking Questions

And finally, at the end of the interview, you’ll have a chance to ask questions. Don’t miss this chance!

Once again, this might feel uncomfortable or odd. Asking questions during an interview may not be common in all cultures but in English-speaking culture it is. In fact, this is what can help set you apart from your competition for the position.

When you ask smart questions at the end of an interview, it shows that you are truly interested in the job and it gives you a chance to find out more about the company as well. You want to make sure it is a good place for you to be.

Not sure what questions to ask? No problem. Don’t forget I’ve got a lesson for you on that: 5 Smart Questions to Ask at the End of a Job Interview.

I’d love to hear from you on this topic!

Have you ever interviewed in English before? Or will you have an English job interview in the future?

  1. If you have completed a job interview in English, what is your number one piece of advice for others? What helped you the most in preparing for your interview?
  2. What is your greatest concern or fear about job interviews in English?

I look forward to hearing from you and chatting with you in the comments!

~ Annemarie

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