How to prepare for a job interview in a foreign language? Practical tips.
It’s challenging to find a good job today without knowing the English language. Bilingualism is an important and desirable skill in the modern job market. Stress before a foreign-language job interview is something natural. That’s why it’s worth preparing for such a meeting. Are you facing a job interview in a foreign language? We provide tips on what you can do to perform better!
Good substantive preparation is key.
Whether the entire interview is conducted in a foreign language or it’s just a brief conversation to verify your language skills, prepare substantively. Thoroughly study all relevant information about the company. Analyze your professional experience, with a focus on positions and areas of activity similar to the job you’re applying for. Think about how to turn information about your experience into strong arguments that will help you secure the job of your dreams. Additionally, prepare answers to basic interview questions such as ‘Why do you want to join the team?’
Universal questions that may come up in the interview
Universal questions that may come up in the interview include:
- How did you learn about the job opening?
- Why did you apply for this position? / Why do you want to work for the company? / Why do you want to join the team?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- How do you handle time pressure? / How do you deal with stressful situations?
- How do you make decisions?
- How do you organize your work? / How do you manage your time?
- What was the most challenging aspect of your career so far? How did you handle it?
Preparation for Behavioral Questions
Don’t forget to prepare for answering behavioral questions as well. Such questions are equally important because they allow the recruiter to assess how you would handle specific professional situations. Here are some examples of questions for which it’s good to have prepared answers:
- Tell me about a situation where you had to resolve a conflict within a work team. How did you handle it?
- Describe a project you managed where you had to handle multiple tasks simultaneously. How did you organize your work?
- Give me an example of a situation where you made a mistake at work. How did you react to the mistake, and how do you try to avoid similar situations in the future?
- Tell me about a situation where you had to work under time pressure. How did you manage to balance between the quality of work and the speed of completing the task?
- How do you deal with situations where you have to collaborate with someone who has a completely different way of thinking or working?
When answering these types of questions, focus on specific examples from your past that best illustrate your skills and approach. Try to be honest and specific while also showing what you’ve learned from each situation.
Review vocabulary and phrases.
“Review vocabulary and phrases.
If you don’t use a foreign language on a daily basis (e.g., at work), you certainly have some catching up to do. Be sure to refresh your memory with basic phrases that are useful during a job interview. Watch a few foreign-language videos, listen to podcasts with simulated job interviews, and read a few articles.
Make sure to review industry-specific vocabulary that will make you sound professional and confirm your high language skills.
Importantly, don’t memorize phrases verbatim; try to improvise. This way, you’ll add naturalness to your speech. The recruiter will perceive you as a confident individual who easily communicates in a foreign language. This will undoubtedly increase your chances of getting hired.
Interestingly, the art of improvisation is extremely helpful when you forget a specific word or phrase. In such a situation, improvisation involves explaining what you want to say somewhat indirectly while maintaining a professional tone. You can practice improvisation even without an audience, just by speaking to yourself in front of a mirror.
- Thank you for inviting me to the interview.
- I have experience in…
- I have worked for several companies, including…
- I have documented achievements in…
- I was responsible for…
- I coordinated a project…
- I completed a course…
- I handle time pressure well.
- Thank you for the meeting.
How to Impress the Interviewer?
Industry-specific vocabulary is not everything. To demonstrate your high language skills, use diverse and sophisticated vocabulary. This will emphasize the richness and fluency of your speech. Remember to keep it natural. Don’t force complicated expressions into your conversation. Transition smoothly between topics and maintain a conversational tone.
Just like in a traditional job interview in your native language, listen carefully to the interviewer, use phrases that reference their statements, and behave in a fully professional manner.
Practice with a foreign language tutor – test your language skills in practice
Practice makes perfect! Simulating a job interview with a foreign language tutor or a native speaker is a good solution for candidates at any language level. Try to find a specialist in business language who can provide valuable linguistic guidance.
A mock job interview in a foreign language will help you overcome the language barrier and boost your confidence before meeting with the recruiter.
Don’t stress in advance
The thought of a job interview in a foreign language can be stressful. However, try to stay calm. Proper preparation for the meeting will ease your nerves and increase your self-confidence. Review the most important industry-specific vocabulary, practice your answers to basic interview questions, and try to master the art of improvisation. If possible, conduct a mock job interview with a native speaker or a foreign language tutor. And remember to maintain a positive attitude! Good luck!”