Looking for a new job can be stressful enough. All the applications you need to send, cover letters you need to write, all the selling yourself while at the same time using your English conversation interview skills… it can be quite tiring. And then finally, you get a reply from a company and they want to bring you in for an interview! Woohoo!
That’s great news!
However, the interview can be the most stressful part of the whole process. You have to really sell yourself, while trying to stay humble at the same time. It’s a difficult task, but it’s manageable.
But what if your interview (or at least part of it) is in English and you’re not a native speaker? The same rules apply, but you have to prepare for your interview…in your second language.
I’ve had three interviews in German, so I know how it feels. Here you’ll find my tips to improve your business English conversation so that you feel well-prepared for any interview.
Practice Makes Perfect
From the time you get that email that says they want to bring you in for an interview, start speaking as much English as you can. Talk to yourself in English, talk to your English-speaking friends, schedule an extra lesson with your teacher, listen to English music…whatever helps you practice the most, do that.
Speaking as much English as you can beforehand will make you that much more confidant when you go in for your interview.
(I wrote two blogs recently with TONS of tips and ideas on how to integrate more English into your daily life here and with some readers’ suggestions here. Check them out and let me know if you have any other suggestions!)
Come up with some questions that you think they might ask you in your interview and write them down (or Google “job interview questions”). They may be anything from small talk questions, to your work history, your future goals and what you expect from the company you want to work for. Then figure out how you would answer them in English.
Have a friend (or your English teacher) help you out. Your friend can play the interviewer, and you, of course, are the interviewee. Run through a potential interview scenario a few times until you feel like you have a real flow to your answers.
By the time your real interview comes around, you’ll feel comfortable and ready to get that job!
Listen to the News
The morning of your interview, listen to a business English podcast or radio show (NPR, anyone?) on your way to the interview. You’ll be starting your morning off in your second language, which always makes me feel comfortable in it for the rest of the day, and you’ll be practicing some listening and passive vocabulary in context, too.
Don’t forget to dress to kill, smile, and most of all, be comfortable! You’ll have that new job in no time.
Editor’s Note: Preparing students for job interviews is what our founder, Crystal Fisher, does best! She is excellent in helping job applicants (both native and non-native English speakers) define their abilities and express their work experience in a detailed way that highlights their skills and clearly describes what qualifies them for the job. She’s helped dozens of people get their dream job! You can contact her at [email protected] or here.
What are your favorite ways to practice your English conversation interview skills? Do you have any interview tips? Share them with us in the comments below!
Erin Duffin lives in Berlin, is an English teacher, yoga instructor, and knows that after you start practicing your business English conversation skills, you’ll never want to stop!