You’ve applied for the job and got an interview. You should be delighted but, instead your concern is shifting somewhere else. The interview is in English.

You’ve been studying English for years, passed the IELTS with flashing colours, why worry now?

I know, you are wondering if the added stress of the interview will let you gather your thoughts in the foreign language so that you sound composed and coherent. You’re afraid that with all the things happening at once your brain will slow down and fail you.

There is an answer to your prayers my friend and it is called preparation, and I am here to help.

Research the Company

First and foremost, you must do some research about the company. It will give you a better understanding of their ethos if you know about their history, mission, vision, and values. Google the company’s name and pay attention to what appears on Linked In. If you happen to know the name of the person who will interview you, have a look at his/her profile.

Refresh your memory by immersing yourself in the foreign language. Listen to the news, watch TV programs, and listen to music and podcasts in English. This will allow you to get reacquainted to the different native accents and natural speed of the language, that is if you are not already living in an English-speaking country.

Keep calm on the day of the interview so that all the factors involved in the process of memorisation and recollection of the new language might be at your disposal.

Here are a few questions you will be asked in an interview independently of the industry. Prepare your answers beforehand, but a word of advice, do not memorise them, as you might sound robotic and lacking spontaneity if you do. This is something you should always avoid in a meeting.

The interview will always start with the interviewer prompting you to talk about yourself.

Here there is no need to start from birth to present day, you will certainly bore them to death. It is an opportunity to talk about things related to your career growth. Talk briefly about your studies in relation to the post you are applying for and your previous work experience.

You will be invited next to talk about your strengths.

Because you did your research, you will already know what kind of person they are looking for the job. Then it’s your chance to let them know all the related positive qualities that you possess. Always back up your attributes with concrete examples instead of reciting an endless list of qualities.

Another way for them to ask could be: What makes you a good fit for our company? Or why do you think you’re the best person for the job?

You will also have to talk about your weaknesses.

Here they want to know how much you know about yourself. Tell the truth but always try to end on a positive note and turn this apparent negative trait in your favour.

If this is not your first job, you will be asked the reason why you left your old job.

Instead of talking about negative things, concentrate all your intentions to better yourself: “I’m ready for new challenges” for example. Also tell them what you are looking for in an employer.

They might also ask you to give an example of a situation where you showed initiative.

Answer this by following the STAR approach:

Situation. What was the context.

Task. What was the task.

Action. What was the issue. What was the solution you proposed.

Result. How you implemented the solution, and what was the result.

It’s an excellent opportunity to show your team player qualities.

Another typical question is where you see yourself in 5 years.

Another way to ask is how would you like to see your career develop?

Here make them aware of your goals. Share your ambitions and let them see that you have a good grasp of your potential career paths in the company and show them that you are a good fit for the job. Don’t over do it as you might be perceived as a threat to the interviewers and you want to be hired.

Another no brainer question is your salary expectations.

Once more because you did your research, you know what the average salary for a job like the one you are applying to is. Show them that you are aware and that you know your worth. Always come prepare with a higher end and lower end salary in mind so that you are not caught unprepared if it comes to negotiations.

And last, but not least, you will be invited to ask questions to the interviewer.

Be prepared for this as it is as important as all the other questions asked. They want you to speak, so make the most of it. Show them your knowledge about the company and your passion for the job. You could take advantage and ask them if they have any concern about your suitability for the role. Here you could have a glimpse of their opinion about you for the job. You could also ask about the kind of daily duties involved in the position you are requesting.

Job interviews can be daunting even in your native language. Doing it in your second language – English- can add an extra layer of stress, but if you prepare for the type of questions you might be asked you will have a good chance to succeed.

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Benjamin Franklin

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