How to prepare for your English job interview

a bird's eye view of a table where a job interview is taking place between one interviewer and one interviewee

So, you’ve written a killer cover letter, fine-tuned your CV, and now you’ve been invited to interview! Great! Now, perhaps the nerves are starting to set in. Many of our students come to us looking to improve their business English skills so that they can feel more confident and comfortable speaking English at work.

Here are Intrepid English’s top five tips for preparing for your English language job interview.

1. Research the job requirements and prepare your answers

Research the job requirements well, and you can anticipate the questions you may be asked. There are some questions which are bound to pop up regardless of the job. Some of these general interview questions include:

Tell us a little bit about yourself

What are your strengths and best skills?

What is your biggest weakness?

What are your career goals and future plans?

Why should we hire you?

What salary do you expect to have?

Don’t memorise your answers word for word and risk sounding robotic when you’re talking. It is best to memorise small phrases or key words that you’d like to use and insert them into your answers, rather than trying to memorise and recall whole paragraphs of pre-thought-out answers.

Make sure your answers are consistent with what is in your CV. It’s common for job seekers to create more than one CV, one for each type of job you may be applying for. Make sure you review the CV you have sent to the company you are interviewing with.

Also, interviewers will ask about your previous job and experiences at some point. Remember to talk positively about your experiences. Rather than complaining about a boss who made things difficult for you, focus on the skills you gained from working in that challenging environment.

2. Prepare your interview space

Is the interview online or in person? If it’s in person, make sure you know how to get there. Give yourself plenty of time. The last thing you want to do is arrive late or flustered.

If the interview is online, make sure you’re in a place with a good internet connection and you feel comfortable with the set-up of your desk and the chair. You should be able to sit up straight and shouldn’t have to be hunched over in order to talk into the computer. Test your microphone and camera beforehand so you don’t get caught up having to fix any tech problems.

Also, even if your interview is on Skype, put some pants on!

A man having a skype interview who is not wearing pants

3. Show that you have a growth mindset

There is one factor that is common among the best employees: The Growth Mindset. (as opposed to a ‘fixed mindset’.)

This is sometimes also referred to as a ‘learning mindset’ and is the belief that a person’s capacities and talents can be improved over time. People with a growth mindset show perseverance in the face of failures. They find inspiration in other people’s successes, embrace challenges and are open to constructive criticism. They are also hardworking and willing to put in the work to overcome challenges and build new skills.

This is a great buzzword to use at interview (whilst backing it up with real examples of how you have applied this growth mindset.) It shows that you are open to new experiences, and keen to grow and develop.

4. Make sure you have the correct body language – adopt a power pose!

It’s a well-known fact that our body language says just as much about us as our spoken language.

In her TED Talk on the importance of body language, Amy Cuddy mentions that in the minutes before entering a job interview we are often sitting outside the interview room, twiddling our thumbs, when really what we should be doing is adopting power poses. You can check out the fascinating talk below.

Before your interview be sure to stand up straight, roll your shoulders back and take some deep breaths if you are feeling nervous. Stay away from social media and mindless scrolling, as this will only make you more anxious.

5. Study the Job Interviews course in the IEA

The Job Interviews course has been written with the aim of getting you the job! This self-study course in the Intrepid English Academy is packed full of functional vocabulary and advice for preparing for your English job interview. The course covers how to answer common job interview questions, including behavioural questions and the questions that you should ask the interviewer. There’s also a special section with advice from the experts, including top tips on how to optimise your LinkedIn, and get your profile out there. As well as regular quizzes to review your learning, Intrepid English members can book a lesson at any time to practise their answers with an Intrepid English Teacher.

This content was written and recorded by Intrepid English Teacher Kate B.

You can find out more about Kate B on her Intrepid English Teacher Profile Page.

Book a free trial lesson today to discuss this topic in more detail, and talk about your English learning goals with an experienced and friendly English teacher.

If you have any questions, or you would like to request a topic for a future blog, you can contact us using the chat box, send us an email, or even drop us a message on any of our social media channels.

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