An upcoming job interview in English may be daunting, especially if you are not a native speaker and your professional English, or business English as many tend to call it, is rusty. You may be understandably nervous about the thought of answering questions and worried about being able to sell yourself in the right light.
Don’t worry, this is not something to get all worked up about. If you follow our PPP three step plan you will be set for success without a doubt.
Predict the job interview questions
If you really want to prepare for a job interview in English, the first thing you should do is try to figure out the answers you can give to the questions they might ask. Predicting the job interview questions might seem like an impossible task, but in reality, interviewers tend to stick to a combination of four types of questions: Typical general questions, resumé questions, behavioural questions and case questions.
Typical (yet not easy) general questions
There are several common questions such as “Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?” or “What kind of salary do you expect?” that you can easily expect in any job interview. You must be ready to answer this type of question honestly and without hesitating. Sometimes these questions seem so simple that we forget to prepare for them. That would be a big mistake.
The easiest type of questions to answers are those about your CV. Make sure you study your CV carefully before the big day and make sure you can explain any big gaps in your work history timeline for example.
Star interview or behavioural questions
Behavioural questions are asked to assess your experience and skills. These types of interview questions often start with ‘Tell me about a time when…’ and you will be expected to answer using the STAR technique. You can gain an advantage over other candidates if you try to predict questions of this type by looking at the job profile. Take a look at the skills they expect from their future employees such as “problem-solving skills” or “ability to meet strict deadlines”. Prepare STAR structure answers to describe your experience with these skills.
In case interviews, interviewers provide a situation, problem or challenge and sit back and listen as the candidate analyses it and comes up with a solution. Case questions may be related to a real life business situation the interviewer has faced in the past, or they may be invented to evaluate your abilities. There are relatively simple questions such as “How can you prove the fridge light turns off when the door is closed” and more complicated questions like ”Give an estimation of the volume percentage of disposable nappies in the total UK domestic refuse”.The secret to answering this type of question is to understand that there isn’t necessarily a correct answer and that the interviewers are more interested in how you approach problems than the actual answer or correct solution. They want to see your analytical and problem solving abilities firsthand.
Prepare grammar points and vocabulary you will need in the interview
Some structures provide particular difficulty for learners of the English language. What follows are areas that we recommend going over before attending a job interview in English:
● Question structures
Often there is a point in the interview where you are invited to ask any questions and clarify any doubts you may have. You can imagine how important it is to feel confident constructing questions at this point in the interview.
● Introducing yourself
What is the right way to introduce yourself to the interviewer or interviewers on the big day? Make sure you know how to adapt your language between formal and neutral tones, depending on linguistic and nonverbal cues.
● Conditional structures.
When answering case questions in a job interview in English, you will need to discuss hypothetical situations using the conditional tense. For example: “If I am hired for this position, I will dedicate myself to making this company grow” or “Had the previous company I worked for heeded my warning about the looming economic downturn, they surely would have avoided bankruptcy.” So don’t hesitate to hit the books and review the more complex grammatical tenses (such as the conditional) you might need to use. Your interviewer will be impressed!
● Business English
Without a doubt you are going to need phrasal verbs, business English expressions and an understanding of general English for the workplace. The TOEIC exam is a great way to prove to your potential employer that you have the communication skills needed for the international workplace. Consider taking a TOEIC exam preparation course in order to boost your confidence and also have a much valued certification to include in your CV.
Practice with an experienced native teacher
The easiest and most efficient way to practice telling your story and prepare for that job interview in English is to take a few lessons. Skype English lessons are a practical way to brainstorm potential interview questions, get inspiration for your answers, and to role play the interview in preparation. The valuable interaction with an experienced business English teacher is affordable and convenient with online English classes. When you consider you can arrange a schedule that suits you and you don’t have to leave the comfort of your own home, you’ll find that it will most certainly be the best bang for your buck!
So that’s about it, following our three Ps, Practice, predict and prepare, you are sure to be well on your way to success in that all important job interview in English.
Written by Katie from Break Into English