Prepare for a Job Interview in English | 6 Simple Tips for Success
This lesson has been updated. It was originally posted in September 2015. It was updated in May 2022 and a video lesson was added.
There are two things I want to tell you about job interviews in English, one of which goes against common advice.
First, job interviews are designed to make you feel nervous. Throughout the interview, you’re talking with someone who is judging you, your expertise, your know-how, your work ethic and more.
On top of that, doing a job interview in English, your second language, multiplies that anxiety because now you may also worry about how they judge your English skills.
Is there a way to overcome all the anxiety and perform well in the job interview?
That leaves me to the second thing I want to tell you.
You’ll often hear the advice, “Fake it til you make it.”
What that means is to pretend you’re confident, even if you’re not, and eventually you might feel confident in your interview.
I don’t know about you but I would prefer to NOT pretend and just assume that maybe, at some point, I’ll feel confident.
I’d rather be certain — BEFORE the interview — that I’m fully ready.
You might feel the same. Especially when interviewing for a job you really want.
So let’s look at how you can be confident and clear-minded with 6 Surprising Simple Tips for a Successful Job Interview in English.
Prepare for a Job Interview in English | 6 Simple Tips for Success
Tip 1: Learn Everything You Can About the Company & Position
Here’s a secret. Within the first 5 minutes of a job interview, your interviewer knows if you’ve done your homework.
You cannot successfully answer the question, “Why do you want to work here” or “Why are you the right person for this position” if you haven’t spent time learning about the company including its culture, its mission, its products or services, its brand, and its employees.
The more you know about the company and the details of the position, the better you can speak to what excites you or intrigues you about the role.
Here’s how you can do this:
You can use a company’s website, Twitter feed, Facebook Page, and more to get this information.
Why is this important?
Knowing about the company, its culture, and people can also make sure you will be a good fit for the company. Do you have the same values or work ethic of the company? Are the other employees happy or miserable in the company? This is helpful information for you.
Finally, know the job description. You need to be certain that you can do the job and that you have the right expertise. Pay attention to keywords in the job description. Use these same words when you talk about your skills and previous work experience.
Knowing all of this information will make you look very knowledgeable about the company and job. This leaves a good impression because it shows you:
- Are interested in the position.
- Took time to prepare carefully.
Tip 2: Take Control of Your Speaking Skills
Anxiety and lack of practice can lead to poor communication during the interview.
When nervous, it’s more likely that you’ll speak too fast, speak too quietly, or mumble.
What you want is for your interviewer to hear and understand you clearly. That means maintaining a calm speaking pace.
One recommendation is to pause briefly and take a breath before you answer every question.
For more on how to practice your speaking skills, check out my free training titled How to Say What You Want in English.
In this training, I share my number one strategy to effectively improve your speaking skills and gain confidence.
Tip 3: Level Up Your EQ Vocabulary
My Confident Women Community has discussed the importance of Emotional Intelligence at length.
There’s no doubt that your expertise and experience are important in the interview process, all of which will be clearly outlined on your resume.
On top of that, employers will want to know how you’ll fit on the team and whether your values align with the company’s mission.
Take time to sharpen your vocabulary and identify words that describe you best. A great way to start is by reviewing online personality assessments.
As you do so, consider how your character traits match with those you find as you research the company, which we talked about in Tip 1.
Here’s a pro-tip: In addition to EQ vocabulary, focus on power words.
I talk more about power words in my lesson 8 Power Words to Use in Your English Job Interview (and 1 to Avoid) and in my lesson 10 English Power Words for Leaders.
Tip 4: Anticipate and Practice
The more prepared you are for your job interview, the less nervous you will feel and the better you will perform. The best way to get prepared is to anticipate and practice.
This includes potential questions you may be asked, of course, and preparing for the unexpected.
Let’s talk about the questions first.
You will likely have a mix of general interview questions and job or industry-specific questions. It’s best to also prepare your answers to these possible questions and practice them before the interview.
The better you know the answers, the easier it will be to answer the questions when you are nervous. It will be easier for you to answer clearly and professionally to make a good impression.
Need help? Start with 10 Questions You Will Be Asked in Your Job Interview.
And now, let’s go beyond the questions.
It’s like your interview will be via video. If you’re not particularly comfortable with technology and haven’t spent a lot of time on a platform like Zoom, get comfortable before your interview.
Make sure your background is organized and your setting is both quiet and calm.
Tip 5: Demonstrate Active Listening Skills
Tip 3 highlighted the importance of speaking to your EQ skills. Demonstrating your emotional intelligence is far more powerful than just talking about it.
And listening is the perfect opportunity to showcase your ability to be a good listener.
Listening skills demonstrate your thoughtfulness and ability to work on a team.
Furthermore, listening carefully will help you avoid misunderstanding a question and, potentially, responding in a way that doesn’t answer the question asked.
A key component of active listening in English-speaking culture is making eye contact and nodding your head as you listen.
For more on how to demonstrate your listening skills in English, visit my lesson titled: Signs of Powerful Listening in English.
Step 6: Follow Up & Express Gratitude
You’d be surprised how many people DON’T do this and how powerful this simple act can be.
If you are interviewing for a job you truly want and the interview confirms your desire for the position, then be sure to take 5 minutes to send a simple thank you note via email.
Not only will a simple email allow you to thank the interviewer for their time and allow you to reiterate your interest in the position, but it will also help you stand out from the competition.
Now it’s your turn. I’d love to hear from you.
Think about your own experience with interviews for jobs. Then take some time to share your answers to these questions in the comments section:
1. What advice would you give to someone who need to prepare for a job interview in English?
2. Have you ever interviewed in English? If so, what was the most challenging? And what did you do to help you succeed?
I look forward to hearing your answers. And if you have any questions about the job interview or application process, be sure to share your question with me in the comments below.
Have a great week,
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