This post was made both as a podcast and a YouTube video. Watch the YouTube video below while reading this article.
Job interviews are generally quite terrifying. The one thing that can make them worse is having an interview in a second language!
First of all, there’s the fear of making grammatical and pronunciation mistakes. And there’s also the issue of knowing what questions to prepare for as these can be different from country to country.
In this post/video, we’re going to cover all of these problems so you can feel confident for your next interview.
The first time you meet your potential employer it’s important to make a great first impression. The first sentences you say will affect what they think of you. Therefore, it’s important to practice answering some common small-talk questions.
Here are some common ones with example responses:
“Great to meet you. How are you today?” Nice to meet you too. Yes, I’m very well thank you.
“Did you have any trouble finding us?” No, not at all. It was only a short walk/drive for me.
“Terrible weather today, isn’t it?” Yes, typical! At least I had an umbrella, though.
Adjectives for Describing Yourself
One area of revision I would recommend is adjectives for describing yourself and your abilities. They will be useful throughout the interview so you can’t get enough of them.
Below are some of the best ones that I’ve used in the past.
Adaptable – Someone who can change to work in different situations
Conscientious – Someone who wants to work well
Dependable / Reliable – Someone who you can always trust
Diplomatic – Someone who is good at dealing with people and relations
Innovative – Someone who can think of new solutions to problems
Motivated – Someone who is always happy to work and doesn’t need a strict boss
Outgoing – Someone who likes to talk to people confidently
Verbs for Talking about Your Experience
The second group of words that you should consider studying are verbs that relate to your previous work or study experience.
Here are my favourite examples:
Accomplish – To finish a task and be proud of it
Carry out – To do or complete a job
Collaborate – To work together with another person or group
Delegate – To give tasks to other people to do (what a manager does)
Facilitate – To make a process easier
Implement – To put an idea into action
Manage – To be in charge or other people or responsibilities
Oversee – To make sure work is being done correctly
Below are the top 4 questions that you are likely to be asked in a job interview (specifically in the UK) and how to answer them.
How would you describe yourself? What are your strengths?
These questions require a similar answer, so I’ve grouped them together.
This is a great opportunity to refer back to the adjectives we learnt earlier.
I consider myself hardworking, dependable… (use any adjective from our list above)
I would say I’m a diplomatic and outgoing person who never shies away from a challenge.
What experience or qualifications do you have?
This is the perfect time to show off your amazing grammar skills. If you started working or studying in the past, but it’s still continuing in the present, you can use the present perfect simple and continuous tenses to describe your experience, like in the examples below.
I have been working as a salesman for several years now.
Using our new verbs would also be a good idea when replying to this question.
I have previously worked as an engineer, where I was responsible for delegating tasks and overseeing the production.
What are your weaknesses?
This is a really difficult one to answer and many people are surprised to hear this being asked in British job interviews. Basically, the employer is looking for a real weakness, but also evidence that you’re working to overcome it.
Avoid talking about a strength and pretending it’s a weakness (eg. I work too hard!)
Naturally, I’m a fairly shy person and, as I know this will inhibit my performance, I’m working hard to overcome this weakness. Every day I push myself out of my comfort zone by talking to more people and I’m seeing fast improvement.
Can you think of an example for yourself? What is your weakness? Are you working to overcome it?
Why would you like to work for us?
If we were being honest, many of us would want to reply “Because I want money”. Of course, the employer is probably aware of this, but it’s much better to prepare a more in-depth answer. Here are some examples that you can adapt to your needs:
I would like to put into practice what I learnt during my studies.
I want to make use of the experience I have gained working as a (job)
I believe that your company will allow me to grow, both professionally and as a person.
So, there are my tips for passing your English job interviews. I would really love to know if you have had any interviews in English before, or perhaps you have one in the future? Let me know in the comments and maybe I can even give you some advice for your situation.