Are you heading off for a job interview in English? Are you worried about speaking English in an interview? Here are a few suggestions to help you succeed!
You may feel quite confident in speaking English on a day to day basis and chatting with your friends but a job interview requires a more formal register of language.
Think carefully about ‘first impressions’
Think about how you will introduce yourself
- DO use formal language.
In order to show the interviewer that you can use more advanced English structures and that you can use appropriate English in business situations, use polite and formal English.
- DO use buzzwords.
Buzzwords are words that are commonly used when people are talking about something in business. Some common buzzwords might be “referrals”, “renewals”, “quality service” or “strict time management”. You need to know what the buzzwords are for your industry.
- DON’T say like unless you are comparing things.
The word like can be used to compare things such as “I swim like fish” but we also use it as an interjection. An interjection is a word in a sentence that adds no meaning to the sentence such as “I, like, work really hard”. This kind of like is very informal and does not sound good in job interviews.
- DON’T say you know.
Some people tend to use you know a lot when they are speaking. ”I always go to work on time, you know.” Again this is very informal and shouldn’t be used at a job interview.
- DON’T use negative words.
Words like hate, bad, should be replaced positively: “The part of the job that I liked the least” or “It was not the best part of the job”.
Do you have to face an interview in English? Here is our help with interview questions. Key phrases to use in an interview and how to answer tricky questions. Good luck!
I have been willing to handle…
I am very self-motivated, determined and honest …
I usually thrive on …
I frequently talk to our key accountants …
My strengths are interpersonal skills …
I can normally win people over to my point of view …
I am very frequently able to assess …
I often have an intuitive sense of…
I also have a personal rule…
My approach is helping us to come up with better and more creative solutions.
I have been told that I am honest, reliable and ethical.
I have had to learn to cope with…
My associates have remarked on my friendly attitude, thoroughness and ability to get things done on time.
I have been able to develop a very supportive team.
Tricky Interview Questions
- Question regarding “Personal Weakness”
More often than not, you will be asked about your weaknesses in an interview. If this seems daunting, follow the interview tips below:
Interview Question: “Looking at your own resume, what do you think your weaknesses are regarding this job?”
Advice: Take the opportunity to turn the question around and find out what they think your weaknesses are.
- Question regarding “Hard Work Ethics”
You will often be asked questions in respect to your work ethic. Always try to validate your answer with examples.
Interview Question: “Would your current boss describe you as the type of person who goes that extra mile?”
Advice: Share an example or experience that demonstrates your dependability or willingness to tackle a tough project. If you describe “long hours of work,” make sure that you prove that the hours were productive, and not the result of poor time management.
- Question regarding “Standing Out”
Often in an interview, you will be asked to separate yourself from other candidates who may be more qualified or may be less of a risk-factor.
Interview Question: “What skills or ideas do you bring to the job that our other internal candidates don’t offer?”
Advice: This question addresses your motivation in adding “true value” to the job. Evaluate the job carefully, considering current limitations or weaknesses in the department and your unique abilities. Your ability here to prove “I offer what you need and then some” could land you the job.
4. Being Specific
Sometimes in interviews, you will be asked questions that lend themselves to be answered vaguely or with lengthy explanations. Take this opportunity to direct your answer in a way that connects you with the position and company, be succinct and support your answer with appropriate specific examples.
Interview Question: “Why did you choose this particular career path?”
Advice: Your answer needs to convince the interviewers that your skills are exactly what they want. They want to know if you have a realistic view of what it is like to work in their industry. Be specific; show them that their industry and your career goals are in line with each other.
- Tough questions regarding your past
There may be times an interviewer may ask a question regarding your past that can be hard to dodge. You should answer these carefully and try to come up with answers that can turn a potentially negative experience into a positive response.
Interview Question: “I see that you didn’t finish school; can you explain that choice?”
Advice: The interviewer is trying to gauge what kind of a risk you are. So you tend to complete things or just let them fall by the waist side? Give a good reason why you did not finish or explain why any issues related to it are in the past.
- Questions about how you can “Contribute to the company”
Before an employer makes a decision to promote you, they will need to know how you have performed in the past and any other special contributions you can bring to the company.
Interview Question: “Tell me about a special contribution you have made to this company.”
Advice: Don’t give long boring answers, instead focus your answers on the actions you took and the positive results that you obtained.
- Questions regarding “Helping the Company”
When you are looking for a job, an employer will want to know what you can do to help or improve their company. Now is the time to tell them of your proven skills and knowledge that you gained with previous positions.
Interview Question: “Give me an example of how you can help this company.”
Advice: Use an example of a significant contribution you made in your past job that impacted the bottom line. Show how this ability transfers across industries from one functional area to another.
- Questions regarding “Salary Expectations”
Everyone wants to make a lot of money working the job they love. You should be honest here. Saying that you will be OK working for $30,000 when you think you are worth $40,000 is not a very smart idea. Experience will show that you will lose interest in the job pretty quickly.
Interview Question: “Tell me about your salary expectations.”
Advice: You should answer this question in general terms. Mention the market value for yourself.
- “In Five Years …”
Employers will want to know your drive and a sense of what your future holds for you. They would prefer to hire someone with a sense of purpose. Employers may ask you to describe what you see yourself doing in the years to come, whether you will be at one company or another. Telling them you see yourself in their position may not be the best answer.
Interview Question: “Where do you want to be in five years?”
Advice: Avoid the urge to describe job titles; this makes you seem unbending and unrealistic, since you do not know or control the system of promotion. Describe new experiences or responsibilities you’d like to add in the future that build on the current job you are applying for.
- Question regarding “Previous Bosses”
There will be times in an interview where questions about past co-workers and old bosses will pop up. Telling them how pathetic and bad they were is generally a bad career move.
Interview Question: “Tell me about your relationship with your previous bosses.”
Advice: The interviewer is looking for a fit between the two of you. As you describe each previous boss, the interviewer will be making mental comparisons between your old bosses and themselves. Be honest but never sound too negative as your employer may consider you to be a hard person to work with.
The English Language Room can help you practise for your interview. Try a Skype session with a trained English tutor who will listen, correct any mistakes, work on pronunciation skills and give you vital feedback for improvement. It is the perfect, stress-free way to practise. We give specialist interview practice.
Do people in your country chat about the weather? When you’re making small talk, you can be sure that at some point the weather will be a topic for discussion! In whatever social or business situation you are in, being able to chat about the weather is a great way to break the ice.
Have a look at this helpful lesson on Small Talk and The Weather to help you speak English with confidence
- You will be able to chat and make small talk about the weather
- You will practice using ‘will’, won’t and ‘will question form’ to talk about the weather
Let’s Get Started
What’s the weather like today?
Look at the table and answer the questions which follow.
|12pm today||°C||12pm tomorrow||°C|
|San Francisco||Fg||21||San Francisco||S||17|
|St Petersburg||Sn||-1||St Petersburg||Fg||2|
S=sunny C=cloudy Fg=foggy R=rainy Sn=snowy
- What is the weather like in San Francisco today?
- What will the weather be like in San Francisco tomorrow?
- What is the temperature like in Shanghai today?
- Will the temperature in Shanghai be higher or lower tomorrow?
- Is it supposed to be rainy in Dublin tomorrow?
- Have you heard the forecast for Stockholm tomorrow?
Now look at the table again and ask the class your own questions.
Reporting and predicting the weather
- Read the sentences and fill the gaps with the missing words:
What’s there changeable looks with get weather about will day
- Well, here in London it is quite cool and windy today. It is ______ 12°C
- It ______ be warmer on Sunday. It’ll be around 18°C.
- ______ the weather like there, Bob?
- It’s a beautiful ______ here.
- The ______ is great/awful/terrible today.
- On Friday it’ll be sunny ______ winds of 10-15mph. (miles per hour)
- Our forecast says it will ______ worse on Thursday.
- Maybe ______ will be showers later on.
- It ______ like it’s going to rain tomorrow.
- The weather is a bit ______ .
- Look at these phrases and match the pairs to complete the sentences.
|I think it will be
It won’t be cloudy
Will the weather
I hope there
If it rains
They say it
If it is too hot we
I think it will
It will be very
| will get better when we go home!
windy at the coast
will stay in the hotel
be foggy in the morning
will be rain soon
will snow tomorrow
we won’t go to the barbecue
warm and sunny next week
get better for next week?
and wet in Miami.
Role Play: Weather reporter
Scan the information on the weather from the BBC website
Answer any questions the trainer may have.
What have you learnt this lesson?
What do you need to improve on before the next?
What do you think would be useful to do next lesson for you to progress further?