Knowing foreign languages, like English, in the job market today is a great advantage that can make the difference in a job interview.
Doing a job interview usually makes everyone feel quite stressed. We want to make a good impression to get the job and at the same time we have to avoid getting so anxious that we say or do the wrong thing. When you do an interview in English, the difficulties increase significantly. To help you, we’ve collected the 10 most common and important questions to help you be prepared and pass your interview with success.
HOW TO PREPARE FOR AN INTERVIEW IN ENGLISH
In order to do an interview in English, preparation is fundamental because it allows you to feel confident. Do some research – find out the history of the company and its mission so you have a general idea about what the interviewer might ask you. In fact, typically they’ll ask you questions to understand whether or not you’re appropriate for the position and for the company in general. The most common questions are:
• Tell me about yourself
• What are your strengths?
• What are your weaknesses?
• Why would you like to work here?
Take your time to decide how to answer and be ready to give examples that refer to your past, your training and your previous work experience. But avoid learning sentences by heart – a trick that doesn’t have a positive outcome, on the contrary it’ll make you sound unnatural. If you don’t understand the question, ask the interviewer to repeat it. It won’t affect the result.
Simulating the potential interview in English is a useful way to help you practice expressing yourself naturally. If you can, find a friend who can play the role of recruiter and ask you the questions, then give you feedback on your answers. Alternatively, you can record your interview simulation to understand which parts you need to improve.
Pay careful attention to speed and clarity in your speech. It’s important to be perfectly understandable, so speak slowly without letting your nerves take over and accelerating your rhythm, making you sound confused and unclear.
THE 10 TOP QUESTIONS IN A JOB INTERVIEW IN ENGLISH
Here is a list of ten common questions that are asked in job interviews in English and ideas about how to reply. Read through them, then start simulating and practicing your responses.
TELL ME ABOUT YOURSELF
This is probably the most common question used to start a job interview and you’ll have to respond giving personal information, details about your career, your skills, and your studies. In this case you can give your answer starting with the following:
• I was born and raised in …
• I attended the University of …
• I’ve just graduated from the University of …
• I’ve worked for seven years as a …
• I’ve worked for various companies including …
• I enjoy playing …
WHY ARE YOU INTERESTED IN THIS JOB?
During the interview you’ll undoubtedly be asked why you’re interested in this particular job or/and working at this particular company – “Why are you interested in this position?” “Why do you want to work for ‘ZZ’?” The answers to these questions should focus on the reasons that pushed to apply for the position. For example, do you want to have a new professional challenge? Do you want a job that can guarantee the chance to grow? You could structure your answers starting with:
• I want to take on more responsibility
• In line with my qualifications …
• I’m convinced that ‘company name’ is becoming one of the market leaders
• I’m impressed by the quality of your products
WHY SHOULD WE HIRE YOU?
In order to choose the right candidate, your potential employer will want to understand why you are the right person to hire, and therefore could ask you – “Why should we give you the job?”. Of all the 10 questions this is probably the most important one to concentrate on. To get the job you must be able to give a valid answer to convince the interviewer that you are the right choice. Here are some possible answers to help give you an idea of what you can say:
• You should hire me because I’m confident and ….
• I’m a perfect fit for this job because …
• I should be hired because I’m …
• I think I’m a great match for this position.
EXPLAIN YOUR STRENGTHS
Sticking with the theme “Why should we hire you?” you have to reply explaining what your strengths are and how your skills can represent real added value for the company. You could answer using phrases like the ones below, remembering always to contextualize them:
• I’ve always been a team player
• I believe my strongest trait is my attention to details
• I pay close attention to my customers’ needs
• I’m an excellent communicator
• I’m a trouble shooter
• I’m good at problem solving
• I’m good at multitasking
• I’m self-motivated
• I have very good time management skills
DESCRIBE YOUR WEAKNESSES
It can seem counterproductive to describe your weaknesses in an interview, but it’s not. Knowing your own limits and being able to describe them in an interview will make you seem honest and trustworthy in the eyes of the interviewer. Use these sentences to help you:
• I always try to solve my own problems instead of asking a colleague who might know the answer
• I become nervous when …
• Sometimes I have trouble delegating duties to others
WHAT EXPERIENCE HAVE YOU HAD?
You’ll be asked questions about your work experience, for example “Tell me about your professional background”. In this case you can start your answers using the following phrases:
• I have four years of experience as a …
• I’ve worked in retail for six years and was promoted to manager in my second year
• I studied at the University of XX (if you haven’t had any work experience yet you can talk about your studies)
• I worked for XX as a …
WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN FIVE YEARS’ TIME?
An employer is usually looking for someone who is ambitious and knows how to find solutions to any problems that may arise. You could therefore be asked – “Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?” or “What are your career goals?” or “What would you do in your first three or four months here?” or “What would your first 30 days in this job look like?” The answers will be personal, but you can find inspiration from these sentences as a start:
• I’m aiming to improve my skills as a …
• I want to boost my career
• I believe your company is an important player in its industry
• I feel my skills set is a perfect fit for your team and I can contribute by …
WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT OUR COMPANY?
By asking this question, the interviewer wants to understand how interested you are in working for the company, testing the level of information you’ve collected before applying. The answers don’t have to be limited to repeating what’s written on their website, but they should demonstrate something more. For example, find out who the main competitors are, or what their marketing strategies are, or something regarding their corporate culture. Here are some useful phrases:
• Your company has proven to be …
• The company is famous for …
WHAT SALARY DO YOU EXPECT TO EARN?
Even questions related to your salary will be part of the conversation – “How much do you expect to earn?” – and they’ll definitely represent a point on which you’ll want to have more information. The sentences that can help you are:
• I’ll need information about the job responsibilities before we can discuss the salary
• I’m sure that your company offers a fair, competitive salary for someone with my experience
• My salary expectations are in line with my qualifications and education
IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU’D LIKE TO DISCUSS?
At a certain point the interviewer might ask if you have any questions or if you need more information – “Is there anything else you’d like to discuss?”. Don’t simply say ‘no’ because you might give the impression of being superficial and uninterested. On the contrary, prepare some questions, for example:
• How soon do you expect to make a decision?
• Do you have a training and development program?