Doing part, or all, of a job interview in a second language is difficult. It’s an unusual scenario for someone with English as a second language. You don’t normally have to sell yourself when you speak English, but in an interview, you do! So jump in and start listening to more interview language and English phrases and questions in today’s podcast English lesson.
In this English podcast, we continue talking about the things that will help English language learners with a job interview. We expand on a recent English vocabulary lesson and talk about more English phrases you might expect to hear and walk through some common interview questions and discuss things you can do to prepare for the interview.
You really need to increase the amount of English listening and speaking before you go to an interview. If you imagine your interview is going to be 60 minutes, you can expect to be speaking for 30+ minutes. So make sure you are doing over 30+ minutes of practice speaking. If nothing else, the practice will improve your speaking stamina.
Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.
Make sure that you understand the expectations, in terms of English language fluency, of the people who are going to interview you. If they expect a certain standard and you think you're OK,
then go for it. But remember, be honest about what you can and can’t do.
Immerse Rehearsal Familiarise Framework
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Hi and welcome to this podcast from Adept English.
Many of you have asked for another podcast on job interviews – and particularly for the job interviews you have to do in English – when it’s your second language. That’s a challenge, a hard thing to do. But I know also, I’ve had quite a lot of emails from people who have been successful in their job interviews where they’ve been required to be English speaking – and they’re usually emailing me to say how much Adept English has helped them to arrive at the level.
It’s really lovely when I read emails like that. It encourages me that Adept English is making a difference.
So last time I talked about job interviews, in podcast episode number 454, I covered ‘common words used in job interviews’. That’s useful hopefully, but like many other parts of life, there is special vocabulary around applying for jobs and going to job interviews and around being offered a job.
And i if you’ve not listened to podcast 454, then it may be a good idea to listen to that one first, so that you have all the necessary words. And even if you’ve got the necessary understanding, it would be good practice to revisit podcast 454 anyway, if you’ve got an interview coming up where you’ll need to show that you are English speaking.
So what’s good advice for someone facing a job interview, which will be at least partly in English – or in any other foreign language for that matter?
Well, I would suggest that in the weeks and days before your interview, it’s a good idea to really immerse yourself in English. That verb ‘to immerse’, IMMERSE when used literally, it means to put yourself completely under water, you ‘immerse yourself in water’. But we use it with language, because if you’re learning a language, immersing yourself completely in the language is the natural way of learning.
So of course, I would suggest that you listen to a lot of Adept English in the days before your interview. Really feed and nurture that ‘English part of your brain’. Certainly, make sure that your English isn’t ‘rusty’. Aim at listening to English that you can understand for at least an hour a day in the week before your interview.
To some extent, doing a job interview in English is the same as doing a job interview in your own language. There are certain common questions that interviewers ask. So in view of this, it’s a good idea to make sure that you know what these common interview questions sound like in English – and of course, practise your answers in English too.
You may find that this requires you to look up certain words, certain vocabulary. It’s much better to prepare like this, rather than be stuck, trying to think of the English for an essential word, during an interview. So go through the kinds of interview questions anyone asks – in English. Then like for any interview, practise doing your answers – practise speaking them, perhaps in front of the bathroom mirror.
A photograph of a lady practising for a job interview in a mirror. English listening and speaking practice for job interview preparation.
Look at yourself, while you talk through your answer in private – and in English, of course. And doing this ‘rehearsal’ – a ‘rehearsal’, REHEARSAL is a practice before you perform – just as though you were going on stage! So doing this rehearsal will also help you find ‘the sticking points’ with your English language. Which questions can I answer easily? And which questions are difficult because I don’t know the words? You can then look them up and practise again. I’ll include some common job interview questions at the end of this podcast.
When you’re in the interview, be friendly, take your time. Try to ‘set the pace’ for the interview. ‘To set the pace’ means ‘to determine how fast something goes’. Speak slowly to give yourself time. And make sure you appear friendly, even if you’re struggling to understand. And if you really don’t understand a question, ask the interviewer if they can repeat it more slowly.
This is better than giving an answer that clearly shows you haven’t understood. And remember to listen. If you’re really nervous before the interview, use some techniques to calm yourself down. It’s hard to listen well, if you’re in a panic.
Make sure also that if there is specific vocabulary for the type of work you’re being interviewed for, then you’ve practised this in English too. It may be useful to go back to the job description or to look on the company website for the kinds of phrases they use. Do they talk about customers or clients? Do they talk about ‘accounting’ or ‘finance’?
Remember that you have a great advantage in an interview situation, because of the way that you’re learning English. If you’re learning through listening, then much of your learning is ‘unconscious’ – it happens in your unconscious brain. This means that your understanding of English and your speaking of English is much more automatic. It’s not as conscious, so your ability to understand and speak English is less likely to desert you in stressful situation like an interview.
But above all, be truthful and realistic when you describe the level of English language that you have. If you overestimate it on your resumé or CV – ‘to overestimate’ means ‘to say it’s greater than it is’, then you’re going to be in difficulties in the interview, when it becomes clear that they’re expecting a level of fluency that you just don’t have. And if you underestimate it – ‘to underestimate’ means ‘to say something is less than it is’ – then you’re perhaps not going to get the interview in the first place.
If you’re unsure about your level, there are plenty of tests you can take online, which give you an idea of your level in a language. And there are some international standards, which may be recognised and which will help you arrive at a realistic view of your language ability. For example, there is CEFR – the Common European Framework of Reference, which grades language proficiency from A1 to C2 level. Or you might use IELTS – the International English Language Testing System, which gives you a band, all the way up to band 9.
I’ll give you those common interview questions in a minute.
Remember, if you’re new to Adept English, and you would like to understand more about how Adept English works and about our learning technique, then sign up for our free English speaking course, The Seven Rules of Adept English.
This free course is by video and it gives you seven tips on how to speak English fluently. Really important advice on how to learn a language – which may be different from the methods that you’ve learned with before. Different, but much more effective!
Our free course answers the question ‘How can I learn English speaking at home?’ Try it out – just go to our website at adeptenglish.com and sign up for the free Seven Rules of Adept English course.
And finally those common interview questions.
- Explain to us why we should give you this job, this position. Why should we give it to you in particular, rather than any of the other candidates?
- Give us an example of a challenge that you have overcome in your life – how you did this, and what you learned from it.
- Why do you want to work for this company?
- Why do you want to leave your current job? Or why are you looking to change job?
- How do you manage pressure? What are you like in a stressful situation?
- Is there anything else we should know about you?
- Have you any questions that you want to ask us?
If an interviewer is really wanting to challenge you, they may just take it that you are there to sell yourself – and to convince them that you are the right person for the job. So they may sit back and just say ‘Begin!’. That’s tough! But be ready for this situation too, where you aren’t given specific questions to answer, you’re just expected to sell yourself.
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Anyway, let us know whether this podcast is helpful. And also please let us know when you are successful in a job interview, in English and you feel that Adept English may have played a part in this! I love hearing this from our listeners!
Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.