Three key tips for preparing for a job interview in English

The year 2020 was the year of the explosion of teleworking. This fact opens up new possibilities in which companies around the world open their doors to employees from other countries without the need for physical relocation. To deal with the crisis of the Covid-19 pandemic, a good idea is to research work options in other countries, which in most cases involves conducting a job interview in English. In this article, we discuss the main keys to dealing with this crucial process of securing employment in an international environment, focusing on the challenges that await recent university graduates.

A more complicated job interview in English than when it is conducted with a person who speaks the same language. Beyond the language skills of the candidate for a position, a lack of adequate terminology or an inability to adapt to a different cultural context can make a difference in passing the test. Of course, interviews are different and the skills required vary depending on the job or job. Since you want to cover: some companies expect excellent writing skills, others only reading comprehension, others are looking for people who can use oral expression effectively. However, there are some general rules to follow during an interview: tips that help avoid common mistakes and bring out the best in candidates.

“Without preparation, even with a good level of English, you run the risk of being eliminated in the first round of interviews, explains George Heritage, Cambridge Assessment English expert.” We need to prepare well for an interview, starting by assessing them all. the skills required in the job description: in case of doubt, an email can also be sent to the company that employs him to obtain the relevant clarifications. In addition, it is essential to learn about the company and how the interview will be conducted, also preparing the questions to ask our to show interest (and understand if this type of work really interests us.) , it is important to perfect the vocabulary, using the terms of the context of the work to which you aspire ”.

In short, it is better not to improvise, relying too much on our abilities. “Often, a big mistake is made before even going for the interview, because the candidate is not really aware of his level, which he sometimes tends to overestimate. More objective and up-to-date skills for speaking, writing, listening and reading could help to avoid some failures related to overconfidence or lack of confidence, ”explains the expert, who has been involved in the development of Linguaskill, a online English test. multilevel with a strong international impact, being present in more than 50 countries which can be done by modules (combined reading & listening, oral or written) and in many examination centers or even at home. And he adds: “Taking modular tests allows us to understand our actual language skills in each of the language skills Maybe a person will be able to communicate spontaneously and fluently in different fields and situations, but he is not able to ‘write so easily in English’.

The launch of Linguaskill responds precisely to the need that Cambridge experts have detected in academia. Students had to be able to quickly demonstrate their level of English to access scholarships (Erasmus, ICEX, la Caixa …), obtain their undergraduate degree, do a postgraduate degree or sit for public exams. Additionally, HR managers wanted to have an accurate x-ray of the candidate’s English level for a position at the same time the candidate was presented. The Linguaskill exam converges in both areas, which is a useful tool to cover the objectives of university students who have access to new challenges in their education, who are looking for their first job, who wish to do a postgraduate degree or to pass public examinations.

2. Compile company information

Once it has been verified that with the level you have you can realistically aspire to get the job, then it is time to move on to the second phase: gathering information about the company you are hiring. “This research activity not only allows us to understand the corporate culture and the type of profile sought, but it also helps us to improve our vocabulary”, explains Heritage, who specifies: “even those who have a very good general level English people may not know Specialized terms that refer to a specific work context, you may never have heard them in your life in English or Spanish. To do this, it helps to consult the company’s website, documents and other information. Even videos posted by the company on YouTube (if there are any), such as interviews with managers and employees, can help us in this regard, ”he says. Once you’ve specified the new words, it’s time to practice using them. “So at the time of the interview, we can use them in our conversation in a spontaneous and natural way. Having precise language, with the correct terminology, gives a good impression and, in addition, indicates to the employer that we are ready for this moment. »Continues the expert.

3. Avoid the silent scene

You should absolutely avoid doing what you might call a silent scene. “Driven by anguish because we cannot find the right word to express our thoughts, we could run the risk of remaining silent,” Says George Heritage, who adds: “we must not look for that word that does not come in mind. It is better to use an alternative sentence or adapt the one we formulate. In addition, if we need a few seconds to think and respond appropriately to our examiner’s question, we should not be afraid to ask for a little time ”.

4. Perceive the degree of formality during the interview

When we have to face an interview for a company located in a foreign country, we must keep in mind that the degree of formality and the type of questions can be very different from those encountered in Spain. Marta Medrano, Marketing Manager at Cambridge Assessment English for Spain and Portugal, knows this well. “Questions about the environment in which the interview is conducted are important. In fact, the degree of formality of an online interview can be much less than if it is in person, for example for code-related questions. In addition, geographic and even cultural issues must be taken into account, for example, many interviews to cover international positions are carried out outside the working hours of the country of origin. This time difference can be even more radical when telecommuting from Spain for companies on the other side of the Atlantic, ”recalls Marta.

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