• Jason Gower

Are You Ready for Your English Job Interview?

Updated: Dec 3, 2018

Preparation for a job interview in a foreign language requires more than just vocabulary and grammar.

Sure the language is very important, but due to cultural differences the structural elements of the language are only half of the equation.

By understanding the other 50% of the equation, you can reduce your uncertainty and nervousness, so you’ll be calm and confident on interview day and ready to perform at your highest level.

In this article I will give you a checklist of crucial factors to consider while preparing for your English interview.


By presentation I mean how you present yourself during the interview.

Here it is helpful to think of yourself as a product that you are selling to a customer (the hiring manager).

We all know that subconscious factors play a huge role in which products consumers purchase.

They might not always be able to tell exactly why they purchased a product, but consumers eventually choose one product over the rest.

Job interviews are very similar. They might not always be aware of why they “liked” one candidate more than another, but subconscious factors definitely play a role in hiring decisions.

There are several factors to consider but pay special attention to:

  • Proper clothing

  • No perfume

  • Do not chew gum

  • Proper body language and posture

In addition, you should always carry additional copies of your resume and I would also recommend personal business cards.

Business cards are not very expensive and even a basic white card with your name, phone number and e-mail will have a positive impact.


Because nobody else is doing it. Your goal is to stand out and be different in your excellence.

By presenting interviewers with your business card, you show them that you are a professional that is willing to go beyond what is expected.

Get Excited About Small Talk

Small talk is a normal part of communication in the English-speaking world. Job interviews are no exception.

You should expect that each person that you interview with will begin with some form of small talk.

View this as an opportunity.

Be prepared.

If you don’t know who you will be meeting with on interview day, ask the Human Resources Manager (or the person coordinating your interview) for an agenda, including a list of interviewers.

Then use technology to your advantage.

Through Linkedin, Facebook and other social networks, you can find at least the basic career history for most professionals.

Use this information along with current events and relevant industry news as fuel for interesting small talk.

You also need to investigate the company, its culture and stated mission.

You can typically find this directly on the company’s website. If not, there are websites like Glassdoor or Payscale that allow employees and former employees to provide feedback about companies.

If you are not completely comfortable with the concept of small talk, take a look at this article for additional small talk tips.

No Surprises

There shouldn’t be any surprises during your interview.

Based on your industry and the position, you should be able to predict most of the questions before the interview.

English interviews typically follow one of six different formats. Based on your industry you should also be able to predict the likely interview format.

If you’ve practiced most of the questions and the interview format and are familiar with the company and interviewers, there shouldn’t be any surprises on interview day.

Through preparation you can reduce your uncertainty so you can calmly focus on showing off the English language skills that you’ve worked so hard to master.

What is Your Marketing Plan?

Since you are the product and the hiring manager is the customer, you need a marketing plan.

We’ve already discussed your packaging in the Presentation section above, but you also need a coordinated advertising campaign throughout the application and interview process.

This means you need to coordinate your cover letter, resume and value proposition at the interview.

You should already be considering your value proposition when you write your cover letter and resume. It will impact what you include (or not) in these documents.

It will, of course, be no coincidence that your value proposition fits very nicely with the roles and responsibilities of the position.

The interview itself (along with the questions you ask and how you respond to questions) should also present a consistent message to the hiring manager. He should clearly understand what you are offering him and his company.

When you combine all of these factors with your English language skills, customers will be so impressed with your product that they will be eager to pay a premium price to purchase.

About the Author

Jason Gower is the creator and instructor of Expand Life Business English courses. He has more than fifteen years of business experience and has learned both German and Spanish to a C2 level. Click to learn more about Expand Life Business English courses.

© 2018 by Expand Life Business English.