How to make a great impression in an English-speaking job interview

Job interviews can be tricky in a first language, let alone a second one. First you have to deal with nerves, then there’s the matter of actually expressing yourself clearly, and finally you need to make sure you cover all the points necessary to present the best possible image of yourself.

There’s so much to think of before even worrying about your English; but following these steps will make the process easier and hopefully help you get the job of your dreams.

Make sure you get there early

Sounds simple, doesn’t it? It’s advice that applies to any interview – being late is not a good way to impress the interviewer – but it’s especially important for a second language interview because being calm is important to make sure you are able to focus on speaking well and expressing yourself clearly.

Prepare well but don’t write a script

It’s usually easy to guess what kind of information an interviewer will want to find out in a job interview in English but you can never be 100 percent sure. Make sure you know all the vocabulary to describe your background and work experience but don’t practice it as a script – the interviewer may ask the same question in a number of different ways and it’s important to make sure your answer is absolutely answering the question, not just giving some related information.

Tell the interviewer what he wants to know

Again, answer the interviewer’s questions rather than just giving him some related information. The whole reason for the interview is that the interviewer wants to find out more than is written on your resume. If you just repeat the information on your resume, there is no reason to be in the interview at all.

Add in your extra details

There is probably a little extra information you want to give the interviewer to show what a great employee you could be; but it may not be directly related to the questions you are being asked. After you have answered a related question from the interviewer, use a phrase like “This might be a good time to explain…” or “This is related to…” or “An example of this might be…” to ensure you add your extra information in a relevant way.

Think of some examples

Interviewers always ask about your personal qualities or strengths and weaknesses so those are good topics to practice speaking about before the interview. As well as thinking of the words in English; think of a time you have behaved in that way, or when that quality has helped you in your work to show why it would be useful to your new employer.

Be polite and friendly but not too informal

Avoid slang in the interview and use polite questions such as “Would you tell me?” or “Could you tell me?’” when talking to the interviewer. Although some offices use informal English on a daily basis, it’s not a good idea to be too informal in an interview. Address the interviewer as ‘Mr.’ or ‘Ms.’ followed by their last name unless they tell you otherwise.

Focus on what you are saying

It’s important to speak English well, however the interviewer will usually be interested in the content of what you say rather than how you say it. Unless the interview is specifically to test your English level, focus on the information you are giving in your answers. It’s better for the interviewer to think “Wow! That person really knows about banking” rather than for them to think, “She speaks great English, it’s a shame she doesn’t know much about banking”.

Do you have any more interview tips to share? If so, let us know about them using the comments section below.