How to Prepare for an English Job Interview If You’re Not a Native Speaker

Job interviews are tough, and when you have to do it in your second language, the stress can be hard to manage. And while it many not seem fair, it is true that many employers will judge your intelligence and professional ability based partly on your use of the English language. In fact, English ability may be a top-line criteria, depending on the company you are interviewing with.

The truth about interviewing is that the best person for the job does not always win the job. The person who wins the job may just be the one with the best answers, the most confidence, the greatest enthusiasm, the best body language and the best mastery of Dutch and English.

A recent study of Google Inc. job applicants showed that the applicants who won the most jobs had
Pick one:
Great tech skills?
Great soft skills?

Yes, soft skills was more predictive of Google interview success than tech skills. People skills. Social Intelligence.

So while you probably cannot go back to school to get another diploma before your upcoming interview, you CAN practice answers and answer delivery (soft skills)

Let’s start with some common interview questions How would you answer these?

Why are you the right person for this job?​
What are your strengths? Your weaknesses?​
What is your leadership style?
What kind of team player are you?
Where do you want to be in 10 years?
What do your colleagues say about you?
And… tell me about yourself. Watch out! This one is tricky and requires forethought and rehearsal. And please do not say “I was born in.. I grew up in…. I graduated from high school in….” No timelines! And do not simply repeat what it says on your CV.

If you understand the questions and know the answers to questions like these in good English, that is a good start.Then you want to rehearse (role play) those answers, and the answers to lots more questions, with a trainer who will give you honest, actionable feedback.

Then work on more subtle things (soft skills), such as
How long should I speak in response to one question?
Can I use English intonation correctly?

How good is my listening ability? Will I understand the questions correctly?
Is my spoken English easily understood by others or do persistent English errors cause listener confusion?
What is my rate of speech in English? Too fast or too slow?

How is my English fluency (that means flow, or the absence of awkward pauses and things like”mmm, um, ah, etc.
How much personal detail should I reveal?
What is my body language saying about me? My eye contact?
When should I ask questions of the interviewer?

Tips before you go to the interview

Take an English level test so you know and so you can state your (official) level of English
Get a professional to edit your English CV and cover letters (you would be amazed at the errors we see!)

Work with an English trainer to clean up any significant pronunciation, grammar or idiom errors
In English, practice the most common interview questions.
Find out who will be in the interview room. Talking to one person is different than talking to several. If you interview with several people, be aware that your eyes and body will give you away. That means that you will naturally”pitch” yourself to the person who is either the friendliest or who has the most stature. Sexism can be revealed here! So be sure you include everyone with your attention.
If possible, find out the nationalities of the people you will be interviewing with so you can be culturally sensitive.
Never, never, never walk in with no questions of your own. Do your homework and have smart questions about the company you are interviewing with.​

Get help! Prepare for your English language employment interviews. Using standard interview questions, we plan, rehearse and role play strong responses to expected questions. In addition, we have online video Business English courses and personal coaches here in the Netherlands who ssist with CV’s, letters of motivation, profile photos and videos. Contact us about preparing can a for your upcoming job interview in English. Tuition for three hours of training: 210 euro

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