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How to prepare for a job interview in English?

Are you applying for a work position that requires an excellent knowledge of English? Or do you want to work abroad? Then this article is made for you. You will learn what to expect from such an interview in English language, and to make sure that you are ready, you can then practice it with your tutor via Skype. Next, we are preparing an article that will introduce you to a list of the recruiters´most used questions at interviews.

In order for a recruiter to invite you for an interview  full stop, you will first need to send out your CV and a so called “cover letter” to the company’s human resources department (Human Resources), both written in English, of course. A cover letter should include a brief paragraph about what you as an individual can offer to the company and why you want to work for them. While writing it, pay attention to grammar and tenses you use, avoid simple sentences of less than four words, but also do not venture into complex sentences as you are most likely to make mistakes there. The quality of your cover letter may already say all sorts of things about you, concentrate on its accurate translation and provide all information about your previous work experience truthfully. The same goes for your CV, which should also state that your knowledge of English is active, and do not forget to note the appropriate level according to the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages). CEFR indicates the language levels from A1 to C2, where A1 is approximately the language level of a child at the end of the seventh grade of elementary school and C2 is a language level of a native speaker. Your level of language is recommended to be supported by an internationally recognized certificate, from a language schools for instance. Do not overrate your language knowledge, it is not a good idea to state that you have a level B2 or C1, when, for example, you are at level B1. Another aspect is mastering the academic English. It is more relevant for getting the job than English of everyday communication and without it you will hardly move on at the interview.

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Preparing for an interview of course includes the study of basic information about the company where you are applying for a job. Try switching the company´s website into the English version and read through it. Not only will you learn about the company, but it is possible that you will also find details about the job position you are applying for. It is these texts in English  that will come in handy for an interview.

Avoid memorizing the whole answers, rather, learn just the key words. Reciting your memorized speech may give a  forced impression, and you may become nervous that you’ve forgotten something. In addition, you are risking that the recruiter will interrupt you in your monologue, you lose the thread and you will not be able to build on the previous sentence. Before the interview, it is also advisable to warm up to talking. Use either the help of another person, or just go through the interview with a recruiter on your own in your head. Learn how to smoothly switch from one language to another, being able to react swiftly in both languages can come in handy.

For the interview, prepare two copies of your CV, a copy of your language certificate and  you may also present a sample of your work. A cover letter is no longer needed. Remember, of course, despite all the stress that may accompany you, the rules of etiquette.

You may also encounter a situation when your future employer will want to know your level of written English. The fact that you perfectly understand and speak the language does not mean that you manage the language in written form. It is that which causes major problems to a large number of people, because even if the language is actively used, the written form is mostly used the least. Although your knowledge level has been slightly outlined by your cover letter, you could have had somebody helping you with it. Testing your writing literacy may take several forms, e.g.: grammar test, in the form of a classic multiple choice question test, another option is filling the gaps in sentences or finding and correcting errors in the text.

These tests are usually aimed at the main grammar issues and phrases that should be rehearsed before the interview. This test can be also supplemented by a vocabulary test or one examining your ability to write business correspondence. Your vocabulary, however, must be learned by memorization, English business correspondence differs from the Czech only on  several points, focus mainly on the correct addressing and greetings that English language uses.

During the interview in a foreign language, a lot depends on confidence and personality, minor grammatical errors in a general conversation are not so important. Definitely do not be afraid to speak even when unsure of the grammar usage. The recruiter will understand what you want to tell him, and it works better than an awkward silence.

The actual interview will be lead by the recruiter. As a warm-up question, often are some information asked about you, your family, hobbies, last holiday or even your pet. Not that such information may be somehow crucial, it rather serves as a start-up and tension releaser.  Questions about previous employment, education and workplace relations may follow. Another popular question is “Where do you see yourself in five years?”, which gives the recruiter an opportunity to draw a picture about your ambitions. The speech may come as the company itself, its products, customer history and other information. The conversation topic may also very likely turn to the company itself, its products, customers, history and further information. You may also get asked about your expected salary in the very first round. But it is considered resolutely highly impolite of the candidate to give this question in the first round.

Do not expect to get informed right away whether you have succeeded. Mostly, the Personnel Department contacts you a few days after the interview. The process itself, however, could take weeks.

If, on the other hand, you feel the period is taking suspiciously too long, do not feel afraid to call the human resources department to find out about the progress.

We wish you good luck!

As we have already mentioned in the introduction to the interview in English, our tutors will also prepare you for an interview in English within the English course.

And you still have the opportunity to try our free trial lesson!