Your career is one of the most important parts of your life – and securing job interviews is a vital step towards getting your foot in the door.
In an interview finding the right professional tone is always tricky, especially if you’re worried about how well you speak English. But you don’t need a complex vocabulary to show off your business English skills. We’ve compiled a list of top tips for making the right impression from the start
A warm greeting
Your interviewers might be expecting you, but it’s always good to introduce yourself. Asking the interviewer how they are and how their day is going helps make the atmosphere more comfortable.
Show an interest – Any prospective employer wants to know you are genuinely interested in them. Before you get in touch, spend a bit of time researching the company by visiting their website and reading about them online. This will help you give them a much fuller idea of why you are interested in the job:
“I’ve always been interested in working in your industry.”
“I’m really impressed by your line of products.”
“I like the friendly tone on your website.”
“I read that you value attention to detail and that is important to me.”
When putting together your cover letter or CV, remember that recruiters and employers are most interested in information that is relevant to the role. Keep it simple and focus on the skills and qualifications you have that match the job:
“I have three years’ experience in retail management.”
“I am an experienced PA with excellent diary management skills.”
“My previous experience includes five years with Deutsche Bank.”
“My responsibilities include managing a team of four people and organising training events.”
“I am fluent in four languages including Spanish, French, Italian and Greek, and have a proficient level of English.”
It’s often easier to use bullet points in a CV, listing your previous experience as clearly as possible. For your cover letter, make sure you have read the job description clearly, and try to respond to all the points listed.
Get your facts straight
Whether you’re arranging your interview through a recruitment agency or with the prospective employer, make sure you have all the information you need for the day.
“What date and time is the interview?”
“What is the address?”
“Who should I ask for?”
“What are the names of the people who will be interviewing me?”
“Will there be a test?”
On the day
Try to arrive for your interview 5-10 minutes early so that the reception staff have enough time to sign you into the building and usher you to your interview.
“Hello, I am here for an interview with Mr Davis.”
“I have an appointment at three-thirty.”
Answering questions with confidence
It’s easy to panic when you don’t know what questions you’ll be asked, but remember to keep calm. It’s ok to ask someone to repeat a question, or to take your time when responding. Keep your answers simple as this will help you sound more confident. If you are asked questions where the answer is “Yes,” or “No,” try to add an example to back up your statement.
“Yes, I speak three languages: Arabic, French and English.”
“No, I have only managed teams of two or three people.”
Yes, I was involved in training new starters in my last job.”
Most interviewers will ask you why you think you are a good fit for the job, so make sure you have a suitable answer prepared.
“I think I have the skills and attitude you need to make your team more successful.”
“I think I can help you improve your technology platform.”
“Because I have the time management skills and efficiency you are looking for.”
“I have a lot of experience working with the type of clients you have.”
Make yourself clear
Before the interview, make a list of the top five things you want the interviewers to know about you and your experience. These can be your top achievements, your strongest skills or your best qualities.
“I came top in my accounting class.”
“My team had the best sales results two years running.”
“I am hardworking and always punctual.”
“My developing skills include PERL and JQuery.”
It’s easy to be overwhelmed by nerves, especially if you are concentrating hard on understanding everything that’s being said. Before your interview, prepare a list of questions to ask the interviewers. Asking them will show that you are interested in the interview process.
“How many people work in this office?”
“What is the most important skill you are looking for?”
“How large is the team?”
“What are the typical working hours?”
The last few minutes of the interview are your chance to find out what happens next. Make sure you let the interviewer know you are interested in the role. Ask them questions to find out more about the hiring process, whether there will be another interview and how long it will be before they contact you again.
“Now that I’ve heard a bit more, I’m extremely interested in this role. What are the next steps?”
“When will you let people know about the second round of interviews?”
“Will I hear from you again in the next couple of days?”
“Is there any other information I can send you after I leave?”
Leave on a cheerful note, thanking the interviewers for seeing you and letting them know that you’re expecting to hear from them.
“Thanks for taking the time to see me. I look forward to hearing from you soon.”
“I’ve really enjoyed meeting you. I look forward to your feedback.”