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A guide to being interviewed in English.

Updated: Aug 16, 2022

Being interviewed in English can a be a real challenge for many people, but with the right preparation you can make sure that your performance in the interview is as good as it would be in your native language!


With regards to being interviewed in English, the main points to remember are;

1) Use clear and simple grammar, your message will be much more effective if you simply do the basics really well!

2) Make sure that you have access to the right vocabulary that you need related to yourself and profession.

3) Be aware of using intonation and emphasis to really emphasise the points that you want the listener to understand.


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Grammar: these are the main considerations regarding grammar;

Can you use the narrative tenses to tell a convincing story? Have a look at this post here for a bit more information. https://www.joelwhiteenglish.com/post/business-english-tell-me-about-your-work-experience


Are you comfortable with using linking words and phrases to build more complex clauses and start to link cause, effect, reason and outcome? This webpage here gives a brilliant overview of the options. https://www.smart-words.org/linking-words/transition-words.html (As soon as I find an eighth day in the week I’ll make an exercise from these… )


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Vocabulary: to really get to the bottom of any gaps in your active vocabulary regarding interview topics I would really suggest working through a series of typical interview questions and thinking of your own answers – this is a typical lesson exercise that I do and almost always results in identifying a list of new words or better ways of expressing certain concept with students. (just get in contact with me if you would like a lesson or two to really work on your answers).


You will also need to find good examples of other people giving good interview answers - the following links here give a series of suggestions for example answers and are worth looking at for some more general vocabulary building.

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Intonation and structure: There is no way around this, your speaking skills are going to be the biggest factor in whether your answer gets your message across or not.


The video (*which I will link later) gives some good information about the use of intonation in English. *I will also make my own video to show some tricks and examples with intonation and emphasis, but give me a few days to do this.


Approach to each individual questions and answer strategy: Basically, each questions is designed to elicit information from you – for example, when you are asked about a time you worked in a team, the interviewer is trying to ascertain whether you are able to fit into the team that is established around the role you are applying for – your answer should be easily interpreted in this regard.


Also, imagine that the person interviewing you has to make notes, or would have to repeat what you had said later – they won’t say everything word for word, just the main points they understood – so make sure you give them something memorable to write down/ remember.

I’ve never used it myself, but I’ve been told about this technique - The STAR Interview Technique - How to Use it.


Questions to practice: each position and profession will have it’s own unique sets of questions, so taking the time to identify the most likely questions for yourself is worth doing to be able to practice them, but below is a list of supposedly the 20 most common interview questions.


To prepare, write the answer out first, identifying as far as possible any missing vocabulary, then try speaking the answer out loud in English - stand up in the middle of the room and pretend you are actually answering the question in real life - this might feel odd, but it's really good for practicing emphasis and intonation!


1. Tell me a little about yourself.

2. What are your biggest weaknesses?

3. What are your biggest strengths?

4. Where do you see yourself in five years?

5. Out of all the candidates, why should we hire you?

6. Why do you want this job?

7. What do you consider to be your biggest professional achievement?

8. Tell me about the last time a co-worker or customer got angry with you. What happened?

9. Describe your dream job.

10. Why do you want to leave your current job?

11. What kind of work environment do you like best?

12. Tell me about the toughest decision you had to make in the last six months.

13. What is your leadership style?

14. Tell me about a time you disagreed with a decision. What did you do?

15. Tell me how you think other people would describe you.

16. What can we expect from you in your first three months?"

17. What do you like to do outside of work?

18. What do you expect me to accomplish in the first 90 days?

19. What are the three traits your top performers have in common?

20. What really drives results in this job?


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Lessons to prepare: I have a lot of experience of helping people to prepare for and be successful in interviews in English, just get in contact if you would like to arrange a series of sessions to really prepare you for your own interview. Best, Joel

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