Having a job interview in English can be challenging for people sho do not have English as a first language. Here are some job interview tips that can help you prepare the right way for this important moment in your career.
1. Turn your ability to speak another language into a positive
Focus on the advantages you have in being able to speak more than one language. At the same time, don’t spend too much time speaking about your home country or culture, as this may be considered small talk and will not be relevant for the position you are applying for.
2. Practice your pronunciation of essential vocabulary
Make sure you know how to pronounce names, places and relevant information related to the job you are applying for. If words that are seen as important are incorrectly pronounced, this can seem sloppy and unprofessional to the native speaker.
3. Write down a list of questions that you expect to hear
It’s essential that you try to predict some of the ways that the job interview will go. While preparing for the interview, write notes about how you will construct your answers, including the verb tenses you will most likely need to use.
4. Be mindful of grammar
Grammar mistakes during job interviews can make you seem unprofessional, so be careful when you are talking about past events. Also, look out for grammar issues such as subject-verb agreement when preparing your answers. For example, say ‘they initiate’, not ‘they initiates’.
5. Be prepared to ask the interviewer to repeat a question
If you are not sure about the question, it is far better to ask the interviewer to repeat what he or she has said. Smile and confidently answer the question once you are clear again.
6. Understand and practice the appropriate use of formal interview language
There are common phrases that are often used in job interviews. For example, when you meet the interviewer for the first time, it is a good idea to show your appreciation with a statement such as “thank you for the opportunity to meet with you today”. Make sure you learn these useful phrases and practice saying them, so they feel natural.
7. Avoid informal business language
You may have picked up some information language during your studies. Keep in mind that a job interview is very formal, so you should always use the more formal phrasing of your answers. For example, you should say the number ‘ten thousand,’ not ‘ten grand’ or ‘ten k,’ which sounds too informal in a job interview setting.
8. Role-play the interview with friends
Practice as much as you can before the interview, so you are prepared to speak on any topic. You can do this with a friend who is a native speaker so that you can ask for constructive feedback on your grammar, pronunciation and word choice.
9. Ensure you know how to sound polite
You need to be friendly and likable during an interview and smiling and good manners go a long way to help. It’s important to use phrases such as: ‘nice to meet you,’ ‘please,’ ‘thank you,’ ‘excuse me,’ ‘thanks for the opportunity for this interview’ and ‘enjoy the rest of your day.’
10. Don’t be overly concerned that you are a non-native English speaker
In the modern world, workplace diversity is regarded as a positive aspect in most organizations, and a small level of language inaccuracy will usually be tolerated, as long as it does not interfere with your job productivity.
Bonus Tip – Make sure you have a question for the interviewer
In most job interviews, the interviewer will finish by asking: “Do you have any questions for me?” At this point, you must ask a question. You could “Can I expect to receive any extra training while I’m doing this job?”, or perhaps “What will I be doing on a daily basis?”. Remember, if you have no question, it may make the interviewer think that you are not an independent thinker, which may leave a negative impression to complete the interview. So make sure you have a few good questions ready for the end.
So that’s it. Good luck with your next interview and remember to breathe deeply and smile. Looking confident goes a long way to interview success.