You may feel worried that your business communication skills in English aren’t as good as they could be, that you’ll struggle to understand the interviewer’s questions, or that the language barrier will simply be too big to overcome.
However, there’s no need to let your interview nerves or lack of confidence stand between you and your dream job. In this article, we’ll share with you some key tips on how you can feel more confident about speaking English, convince the recruiter that you’re the ideal candidate, and ace that job interview in English.
1. Learn the questions most commonly asked in English interviews
Most interviewers ask similar basic questions across the English-speaking world to assess whether you're a suitable candidate for the job. This is great because you can simply find out what they are, prepare your answers, practice them carefully, and in doing so, give yourself a head start in the interview process.
The most common interview questions in English are:
- Tell me about yourself: Tell the recruiter more about your work experience, education and hobbies. Keep your answer as succinct as possible- you can discuss more later.
- What do you know about our company? Do your research then name a few facts you’ve learned about the company.
- Why do you want to work here? This is your opportunity to express what you can offer the business.
- What are your strengths? This question needs no explanation!
- What are your weaknesses? Aim for something neutral so you don’t sound bad. Impatience, perfectionism, having trouble saying no and having trouble asking for help can work well.
- Tell me how you overcame a challenge or resolved a conflict at work: Think of a time when there was a problem at work and explain how you got it under control.
- Where do you see yourself in five years? Think about your potential employers’ goals and include yourself. For example; “I see myself being a regional sales manager for the company”.
- Why do you want to leave your current job? Stay positive and avoid criticising your current employer. Focus on the new position and what it could offer you.
- What are your salary expectations? This can be a difficult question to answer. Give a general answer such as, “I’ve found that a typical salary for this role is between [amount] and [amount] per year.” If you feel uncomfortable discussing salary, you can avoid the question by saying;” Can we discuss this later if you decide to make me an offer?”.
- When can you start? Be honest. If you need to give notice on your current job or relocate, explain the amount of time needed. If you can start immediately, avoid sounding too keen. Instead, offer to start at the beginning of the next working week.
2. Practice your speaking skills before the interview
If you want to overcome the potential language barrier and impress your potential employer with your education, skills, experience, and vision, you’ll want to get plenty of speaking practice before the interview.
By doing so, you’ll be able to express your thoughts in English more fluently, you’ll improve your pronunciation so you can be more easily understood and you’ll also build your confidence. Focus on practicing your overall business English skills whilst also taking time to practice the exact words and phrases you’ll want to use in the interview.
Although this might feel nerve-wracking at first, any effort will soon pay off. You don’t even need to practice with another person.
How can Forbrain help?
Forbrain is a versatile, easy-to-use headset that helps to retrain your voice so you speak with greater clarity and confidence.
Wear Forbrain during normal speaking activities to energize the voice. You’ll sound more convincing and capture people’s attention. Use Forbrain during training for your interview to work on your flow, enunciation, and confidence. Try reading a text aloud to condition your speaking voice and improve memorization.
Simply purchase the Forbrain headset and you can practice your business English speaking skills from the comfort of your own home.
3. Work on your listening skills
When you can understand what is being said in an English interview conversation, you’ll find it much easier to take your time and answer the questions to the best of your ability. You won’t have to worry about that additional detail and can therefore feel more confident and better able to show the recruiter that you’re the right person for the job.
That’s why you should find time to work on your English listening skills before the big day. Of course, you won’t be able to perfect your listening skills overnight, but you can make significant improvements if you commit to practicing regularly.
Aim to expose yourself to at least an hour of English content every single day, more if you have the time. Wherever possible, look for resources from the specific English-speaking country you’ll be interviewing for, such as Britain, the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, or others.
4. Ask for clarification when needed
There are times during the job interview when you don’t understand what you have been asked. Perhaps there is background noise, you’re attending an online English interview and the connection is poor, or you simply didn’t hear what was said.
The key here is to be brave, be honest, and ask the speaker for clarification. Remember, even native and fluent English speakers can struggle to hear at times, so there’s nothing to be ashamed of. If you try to bluff your way through, you could end up making mistakes and missing out on the job, so have courage and ask.
Here are some polite ways you can ask for clarification without losing face.
- "I'm sorry, I didn’t understand that. Would you mind repeating it?”
- “I’m sorry, I didn’t hear you clearly. Could you say that again?”
- “Could you say that again, please?”
- “I’m sorry, I’m not sure I understand what you meant by [word]?”
- “That’s a new word/expression for me. Could you explain it, please?”
- “What does [word] mean?”
5. Slow down your speech
Speaking more slowly will give you more thinking time, help you appear more confident, help the interviewer understand you, and will create a better impression overall.
As CNBC’s Make It website says; “When you listen and take a beat (pause) before responding, you appear more open-minded and measured, which in turn makes people more likely to listen to what you have to say.”
However, this is often easier said than done, especially when you’re feeling nervous or eager to get the job or you naturally speak quickly in your native language. If this is challenging for you, practice slowing down your speech with the help of our Forbrain headphones and take several deep breaths before you start. These might seem like small steps but can make a big difference.
6. Ask questions
You won’t only be on the receiving end of questions during your job interview in English. You should also ask questions to clarify what you’re being asked, make sure you understand what the job involves, and to impress the interviewer.
In interviews in English-speaking countries such as the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Britain, the interviewer is also likely to ask you if you have any questions about the job itself. This is your opportunity to demonstrate your interest, ambition, and suitability for the job position.
Here are some questions you could ask:
- How many people will I be working with?
- Why is this position currently vacant?
- What would a typical day look like?
- What are the skills and experience you’d be looking for in an ideal candidate?
- What training initiatives does your company offer?
- What metrics or goals will my performance be evaluated against?
- What are the biggest challenges that someone in this position would face?
Again, make sure you’re spending time practicing your answers to these questions before the interview itself by using our Forbrain headset.
7. Master non-verbal communication (body language)
Succeeding in your interview isn’t just about knowing how to answer those interview questions in English. Your body language will also play a huge part in whether you are judged a good fit for the role or not. Here are a few tips:
- Smile and be friendly.
- Use polite language and don’t interrupt.
- Do your best to feel calm and confident.
- Make small talk (check the small talk etiquette of the country before the interview).
- Sit up in your chair and lean slightly towards the interviewer.
- Rest your hands on your lap calmly.
Feel more confident in your English job interview by learning the basic questions you’re likely to be asked, outlining your answers then getting as much practice as you can with Forbrain. Then work on your listening skills, get plenty of language exposure, and work on your body language. You’ll soon ace the English interview and kickstart your career in the English-speaking business world.