Success at an English interview is possible, even if English isn’t your first language.
With some background preparation and planning, you can leave a strong impression that you are the best candidate for the role.
If you have been selected for an English interview at a foreign-owned enterprise, rest assured, you have already achieved something very important. You have demonstrated on paper that you have the necessary skills, experience and qualifications to merit an interview.
However, you may be unsure about how you will tackle the interview, especially if English is not your first language.
That’s perfectly understandable. However, there is plenty you can do to prepare for the interview so that you stand out as a high-quality candidate.
Remember, your interviewer may only speak English
The hiring manger you meet with may only speak English so be prepared to introduce yourself. State your name clearly, especially for native English speakers. For example, try to introduce yourself by saying "Hello, I'm Zhang Wei".
Research the company
In many ways, preparing for an English interview is just like preparing for any other job interview. Take a good look at the company’s website to learn about what it does. Think about what challenges it may face, and who the company’s competitors are – and how you can make a positive contribution.
Note too where the job interview will be held. Is it at the company’s location or elsewhere? Either way, plan the best way to get to the interview so that you are on time.
Prepare for interview questions
Practice makes perfect, and it often helps to think about the sort of questions you will be asked in an English interview.
Hiring managers often have a list of questions to help them decide if you are right for the role and the company. Think about how you will respond in English to questions about your strengths, your weaknesses, what you can bring to the company and why you want to work there.
Importantly, take time to consider how you will answer these questions in English. Refer back to the job advertisement for key English terms that you can use, or preferred candidate qualities that you can reference back to your own skills.
It can help to give the hiring manager examples of how you have delivered value to previous employers. Don’t memorise your answers though – your responses should be natural.
Practise an English interview
If you have an English-speaking friend, ask if they will role play the job interview with you. Your friend can act as the interviewer, and give you advice on your English responses.
Be aware that some candidates often speak faster when they are nervous, so in your English interview, aim to speak slowly and clearly.
Don’t be afraid to say you don’t understand
If there is anything you are unsure about, ask the hiring manager to repeat or reword their question. This is a perfectly acceptable approach in an English interview.
Preparing for an English job interview is worth the effort to ensure you make a good impression and get the job you want. And it can help you take the next step in a rewarding career.