How to survive a job interview in English

In English, we often talk about ‘surviving’ a job interview. However, sometimes just surviving isn’t enough – you need to really excel and show the interviewer what a great employee you would be if you really want to get your dream job. While some job interviews are more difficult than others, you can get a head start on the competition by making sure you know how to answer these basic English interview questions. So sit yourself down, get comfortable and get ready to answer these English job interview questions.

Tell me about yourself

This isn’t a question, it’s a request for information. It’s still a common way to start an interview, though. Remember, the interviewer wants to hear about skills related to work, not your personal life. Don’t say, “I was born in Taipei,” “I like to play computer games,” or “I have two brothers.” Tell them about your career growth, what you’ve learned and specific skills that make you suitable for this job.

What are your strengths?

Go ahead, sell yourself! The key to this question is to give specific examples and back them up with evidence. Avoid simply offering a list, like: “I’m really organized, punctual and get along well with others.” Follow up anything you mention with, “For example …” and then explain how you demonstrated this quality in a previous job.

Why are you interested in working for our company?

Employers want to know why you want to work for them. So show them you understand what the company does and that you’re enthusiastic about the work. Don’t start with “Umm,” “I don’t know,” “It seemed like a good career move,” or “I haven’t been able to find anything else interesting.” Get online and research the company beforehand so you are able to give a specific reasons why you want to join that company. Keep in mind that the interviewer wants to know what you can bring to their company, not what the company can bring to you!

Why did you leave your last job?

Maybe your last job was terrible, but an interview is not the place to talk about it. Even if it’s true, never make negative or opinionated comments about your current or past employers or co-workers: “I didn’t agree with the company’s direction,” “I got no recognition for my work,” “My boss was totally unreasonable.” Statements like these make you sound unreasonable. Instead, focus on positive reasons for leaving like wanting to face new challenges or expand your knowledge.

Do you have any questions for me?

Interviewers usually finish an interview with this question. Ask specific questions that show you already know a lot about the company, but want to know more. Do not ask questions that you should already know the answers to, like, “What does your company do?” Or, “Could you tell me your name again?” Also, don’t ask salary or vacation-related questions: “When do you give raises?” “How much vacation time can I expect?” Save those questions for after you hear, “We’d like to offer you the job.”

Remember, the key to any interview is to be well prepared. Do your research and make sure you understand both the company and the position before you go into the interview. Stay calm and remember that you have been invited there because the company is interested in you. Make sure you can answer the questions above and use them as a starting point to make sure you excel in your next English job interview.

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