Common English Words Used In Job Interviews Ep 454

A photograph of a young and pretty African American woman in an informal interview. A podcast English lesson on phrases and words used in interviews.

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Common English Words Used In Job Interviews

Job interviews are super stressful at the best of times. Recently, the job interview challenges are even greater than usual. In today’s English language lesson we have the first in a series of English language learning podcasts on presenting yourself as a job applicant.

In this podcast we are starting with your résumé, and the English vocabulary and phrases used in and around a job application. I don’t think of applying for a job as easy, if you think it is then you probably have the wrong attitude. It’s stressful and much more so if you are going to be using your second language in your new job.

If you are using your second language during your job application, it is even more important to practise what you are going to say. And importantly, be confident with the English words and vocabulary that the interviewer is expecting to hear.

Preparation for an interview using a foreign language is going to take longer. You are going to have to focus on any specialised niche vocabulary required for the job. For example, if you are applying for job in accountancy, then you will need to learn and practise the vocabulary for accountancy, the same for software development or engineering, etc.

Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.
⭐ Confucius

There is a lot of information to cover, so we will start simple and build up to more advanced job interview topics and cover the unique challenges when using English as your second language. Like, how to respond to certain questions "What do you do in your spare time, for fun?" Well if your applying for a creative job you might talk about creative things like painting or gardening, if your applying to manage teams of people, then you might talk about managing people outside of work, maybe helping manage the school sports team or managing charitable events. Make sure you are always presenting relevant added value to the interviewer.

Most Unusual Words:

Curriculum Vitae

Most common 3 word phrases:

Is The Person3
Learn English Fast2
You Might Say2
For A Job2
About Job Interviews2

Listen To The Audio Lesson Now

The mp3 audio and pdf transcript for this lesson is now part of the Adept English back catalogue . You can still download and listen to this lesson as part of one of our podcast bundles.

Transcript: Common English Words Used In Job Interviews

Hi there and welcome to this podcast from Adept English. How can I learn English fast at home? That’s something people want to know. Well, I don’t know that it’s possible to learn English fast using any method. But listening to Adept English will certainly help you build your English skills and help do essential preparation in your brain for speaking English fluently.

A few people have been asking for a podcast on ‘job interviews in English’. Quite a few of you have been emailing us and telling us that Adept English has been helpful in situations where you’ve had to show that you can speak English – as part of a job interview. So there are several directions to go in with this topic area!

Today I’m just going to do a general podcast about job interviews – but if you would like more specific information on say, vocabulary for online job interviews or tips and advice on doing online interviews, let us know – and I may do further podcasts on this. As ever with Adept English, you can learn English language for specific situations – so today I’m talking about ‘job interviews’.


What is an interview?

So first of all, the word ‘interview’, INTERVIEW – this is the meeting you have with someone, when you are looking for a job, JOB – that’s work. So the word ‘interview’ itself – that’s the noun which means the actual meeting. The ‘interviewer’ is the person running the interview, the person who represents the company, or organisation that the job is with. And the ‘interviewee’ – is the person being interviewed.

Another word for ‘interviewee’ is ‘candidate’, CANDIDATE. So a ‘job candidate’ or ‘an interview candidate’ is the person coming along to be interviewed because they’re interested in the job. There’s also a verb ‘to interview’ – this is usually used of the person conducting the interview – or the organisation.

So you might say ‘Marks & Spencers are interviewing for shop floor assistants’ But you may also use this verb the other way around ‘I had an interview with Marks & Spencers’ or ‘I was interviewed by Marks & Spencers’ or even ‘I interviewed for a job at Marks & Spencers’ would be other ways of saying this.

What do words like ‘job, position and role’ mean?

Some more vocabulary which might be used instead of ‘job’ – you might talk about ‘a position’ with a company. The word ‘position’, POSITION can be used in different ways – it’s often used to mean simply how your body is placed – so ‘a sitting position’ or ‘a standing position’. You might talk about ‘positions’ in yoga or in ballet – or you might talk about what ‘position’ you sit in at your desk, using your computer and whether it’s good for you or not. But a ‘position’ here means ‘within an organisation’, a job in other words.

You might say ‘I’m interviewing for a position as a locum vet’ or ‘I’m interviewing for the position of teaching assistant in a school’. Another word sometimes used to mean a job is ‘role’ – ROLE. Some jobs are immediately recognisable like a teacher, a cleaner, a doctor or a shop assistant – most people would know what those jobs entail. But if you’re working in a business and the job is not as defined, or as well-recognised as that, then we might talk about ‘a job role’. So this means the organisation can decide what is expected, what your ‘duties’ are, within this particular job role.


A photograph of a row of business people waiting for an interview. English interview vocabulary and phrases.

©️ Adept English 2021

‘The role involves managing two accounts and leading a small team’ or ‘the role involves onboarding new starters’ – that means that part of your work would be looking after people who’ve just joined the company or the organisation. Another use for the word ‘role’, ROLE – you would talk about an actor having a ‘role’ in a film or a play. So ‘role’ means ‘the part you play’. If you talk about ‘a graduate job’, the word ‘graduate’, GRADUATE means someone who’s got a degree, a qualification from a university – they’ve ‘graduated’. So a ‘graduate job’, means a job where someone must have a degree. But the term ‘graduate job’ also means the type of job you do - it’s at the start of your career.

And career? That’s CAREER. Your ‘career’ simply means your job history or the future in your job. ‘Career’ can be used about the past – or about the future. A person has a career – or we might talk about someone ‘balancing career and family’. If someone is interviewing you for a job, they’ll probably ask you about your ‘employment history’ – which means all the different jobs or job experiences you’ve had in the past. That’s ‘your career’.

And ‘employer, skills and experience’?

Another couple of words which are relevant to the job interview process. An ‘employer’ – that’s the person offering the job, EMPLOYER – an employer will be interested in both your skills and your experience. A ‘skill’, SKILL is something that you learn – like being able to speak English – that’s a skill.

Skills are learned gradually through practice. So there are lots of skills which you might need to do a job. Being able to drive a car, a van, a lorry – they’re ‘skills’. Or your particular skill may be that you are good at explaining things to people. And ‘experience’, EXPERIENCE – that means what you’ve done, what you’ve had exposure to. So your work experience may include bar work or restaurant work – so an employer might want to know that you’ve got experience of these things, or ‘experience of customer service’. Or experience of working in a particular industry – like advertising or marketing.

A reminder of Course One Activate Your Listening

Just taking a moment to talk about one of our courses. If you want to help your English learning even more, then visit our website at, and find out more information about Course One, Activate Your Listening. This course introduces you to three topic areas – the UK, food and education. So it gives you practice at understanding English conversation, on these topic areas, with two people speaking.

Boost Your Learning With Adept English

Not just me then! Conversation is harder to understand, so this is good practice and in the course, I help you understand the conversations too! So you might start thinking ‘I don’t know what these people are saying, I don’t understand!’ But by the time I’ve explained it to you, you will understand and you will be able to listen again, and understand it all. So Course One Activate Your Listening is really good experience. Check it out!

What about your CV or résumé?

Back to our topic. If you want to apply for a job, how do you communicate your interest, how do you show your skills and experience? Well, the first thing that you probably do when you decide that you want to apply for a particular job – you send them your CV. So in the UK we tend to use the term CV, or ‘Curriculum Vitae’ (‘that’s Latin!’) – which means you list details about yourself, your education, your school, your college, your university.

Download The Podcast Audio & Transcript

You list on there your qualifications, that’s QUALIFICATIONS. That really means ‘all the exams that you’ve passed’. These may be school or college exams or they may also be professional qualifications too, so specific to your particular profession. And of course on your CV, you would also put details of your career so far – your employment or your work history. You may also put on there details of your interests or things that you enjoy doing in your spare time. And a Curriculum Vitae or CV – in the US, it’s called a résumé, RESUMÉ.

And for some, it’s portfolios, headshots or show reels!

Obviously there are variations, depending upon the type of job you are going for. And of course there may be specialist language which is particular to your profession or to the type of work that you do. And there are variations on the CV or résumé – that’s fine for most professions.

But if you’re a Graphic Designer or someone who works in fashion, you’re more likely to show examples of your work in what’s called ‘a portfolio’ – that’s PORTFOLIO. And this word is used of a large folder of artwork, which supports your profession. But of course, your portfolio or images or even your animations – may be online, they may be digital.

And if you’re an actor or a model, then instead of a CV or a portfolio, you might have ‘head shots’ – which are photographs to show your appearance, what you look like – or even a ‘show reel’ – that’s a video, demonstrating your acting skills or your modelling skills.

So learn English language for job interview situations. Let us know whether all of this has been useful vocabulary. This podcast has very general vocabulary about work, jobs, job applications and interviews – but hopefully useful nonetheless.


Give us some feedback, get in touch, let us know! What sort of thing would be helpful? It’s always good to hear from Adept English listeners!

Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.



The voice of Adeptenglish, loves English and wants to help people who want to speak English fluently.
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