Tips for acing a job interview in the English language

Tips for acing a job interview in the English language

by Erika Rykun
June 23, 2021

Knowing foreign languages, English in particular, is a must to succeed in a job market today. Furthermore, the range of job opportunities gets much more expansive for those ready to take risks and use English in day-to-day business dealings.

The job interview itself may be considered the most challenging part of a job search, exceptionally if it is executed in a foreign language. Considering the dominance of English as a business language worldwide and differences in cultures, cramming the answers to common interview questions is hardly enough to ace the interview.

Some tried, and trustworthy tips will help overcome tension and be successful in a job interview executed in English by companies in the UK, the US, and Australia.


Quick tips on how to prepare for an interview in the UK

Preparing yourself for a job interview with a British company requires some specific efforts. The pattern of the UK interview slightly differs. Still, it usually encompasses a 45-minutes interview with 1 or 3 people asking you a series of questions about your profile and the position you are looking to fill. 

There is also a common practice to hold interviews in 2-3 stages. Thus, it is easier for an interviewee to estimate the chances of a positive result. 

Cultural approach 

Key specific features of a British interview find their expression in the cultural approach to the interview, as Brits are known for their subtle sense of humour and withholding mannerisms.

Thus, if you’re interviewing for a job in the UK, it would be nice to refresh your knowledge of interview etiquette and British professional protocols. Ensure not to cross the lines of informal communication and behaviour during a job interview in the UK. Try to be polite in manners and proficient in speech.

Common interview questions

All companies are different, but British employers are looking for candidates with a can-do attitude and a professional demeanor. Although a few of the interview questions will seem direct, to the point, and easily answerable:

  1. What do you dislike most about your current job?
  2. Why have you applied for this job?
  3. What will you bring to the role?
  4. What are your long-term career plans?

Furthermore, British employers expect you to negotiate your salary. Thus, not the final sum, but the way you talk about it may be decisive. 

Language tips 

Preparing some complex business phrases in advance will demonstrate your motivation and add sophistication to your speech, which the Brits so much appreciate. Consider using the following phrases:

‘Having said that, I would also like to add that …’

‘I don’t want to sound like a philodox, but I would dare to say that… ‘ 

Besides, prepare a few sentences with more advanced grammar constructions and highly polite expressions.

Quick tips on how to prepare for an interview in the US

All companies in the United States have the right to define their guidelines for determining if the candidate matches the position. A typical interview takes place in two stages; however, there are some exceptions.

Therefore, it is advisable to research the company interviewing process in advance. 

Cultural approach 

Remaining calm, confident and friendly is the most important during an interview in the US. The American employees expect to see natural and steady eye contact, positive body language, and a bright smile, as these elements are essential for the US culture of communication. Closed-off gestures and fidgeting are always perceived negatively. 

Common interview questions

The US companies are looking for candidates with an adequate level of self-esteem and confidence. Furthermore, a little bit eccentric, pushy, and bright characters are a perfect match for some positions.

Thus, typical interview questions would be those revealing confidence and self-assurance:

  1. What are your most significant strengths/weaknesses?
  2. What is your most outstanding achievement?
  3. Why should we hire you?
  4. Sell me this pen, please. 

Besides, most probably, you will also be asked about your ability to work under pressure. These days it is as relevant as ever. 

Language tips 

To ace an interview in American English, follow simple pieces of advice both in writing and speaking:

  • Understand the power of contractions. This is not informal or slang but an efficient and grammatically correct way to express your thoughts in fewer words.
  • Localise your vocabulary. The words like pavement, creche, or industrial action will immediately disclose your British English learning sources.
  • Get to know common American idioms. Otherwise, you`ll face a misunderstanding. 

Practice these tips, speak out loud, and repeat some valuable phrases to develop confidence in your speech. 

Quick tips on how to prepare for an interview in Australia

If you happen to be invited to the interview in an Australian company, there is an extremely high chance of getting the job offer. Australians are serious about interviewing. Therefore, only the candidates get to this stage. 

Interviews in Australia usually take 30-60 minutes. At the same time, interviews executed by the recruitment agencies tend to be even shorter.  

Cultural approach 

Australians tend to use structured interviews, but they rarely disclose such details to candidates. Most likely, the only thing you will be informed about is the number of interviewers present at the meeting. Thus, you have to be prepared for everything. 

It is advisable to be slightly overdressed for the interview to show your respect for staff and the position. Besides, it is vital to have extra copies of all your documents so that all interviewers could get one. 

Common interview questions

The responding interview question is not about providing as much information about yourself as possible but about what is behind these questions. Even a seemingly simple question should be regarded as an opportunity to provide the information relevant to the position. 

Pay particular attention to the following questions:

  1. If this role wasn’t on offer, what else would you be applying for here?
  2. What do you like to do in your spare time?
  3. What do you know about us as a company?
  4. What were the best and worst parts of your last role?

Language tips 

Always remember, the interviewer plays a central part in the interview. Therefore you shouldn`t be talking all the time. Respect the time of other people and try to be brief. Another important thing is to know what you can and can`t ask. Thus, questions about pay, time off, etc., will create a negative opinion of you.

Listen carefully. Australian English is pretty specific in its accent, vocabulary and grammar,  contractions and abbreviations they use. It may be difficult for you to grasp the essence in audio format. A polite ask to repeat is appropriate, yet avoid interrupting as it will be seen as highly rude. 


Conclusion 

Learning English is challenging, but it is already a must in the modern world, where multilingualism is a highly appreciated feature. Most of the time, stating your language proficiency on the resume is not enough. Therefore, an interview is your very first opportunity to prove your English knowledge and create a favourable impression.

The thing is, speaking the language with your friends and teachers is utterly different from answering interview questions. However, preparation is vital. Hopefully, the above-described tips will make you all armed for your following job interview in English.


Erika Rykun is a career and productivity copywriter who believes in the power of networking. In her free time, she enjoys reading books and playing with her cat, Cola. Find her at WikiJob. Let’s get in touch on Twitter.