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How to Prepare for a Job Interview in English

Akshat Biyani
Akshat Biyani

You’ve done it! The email has finally landed in your inbox, the date is set, and your job interview is all lined up. You’ve got your foot in the door, but you’re not through yet! 

Put aside your skills, qualifications, and experience for a moment. They are no doubt central to determining whether you’re a right fit for the job, but there’s a lot more you’re going to be judged by than just that. Think about factors like your personality, demeanor, person skills, and, most importantly, your English language proficiency.

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That’s especially significant for those who speak English as a second or third language. Grammatical errors, wrongful use of phrases and idioms, or a general lack of fluency can mar your chances at a job interview even if you tick all the other boxes. 

Employers are understandably picky about choosing the most eligible candidate for any available job. If spoken English fluency is your Achilles heel, chances are you’ll be eliminated early on in the interview process.

Read on to find out how to prepare for a job interview in English, and ace it! 

Importance of preparing for a job interview

Through several rounds of an interview process, you’ll be judged on educational qualifications and certifications, technical knowledge, general know-how, previous experience, and the ability to communicate lucidly and accurately. 

That is a lot of ground to cover for an interview that can last anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes, depending on the format. Being well-prepared for an interview means you’ll be able to anticipate questions and navigate answers eloquently. The final aim is to leave the interviewer with an authentic and impressive image of yourself. 

Understanding the interview process and knowing what is expected from you as a candidate will give you clarity on where you need to focus your preparation efforts. 

Finally, acquaint yourself with business English and vocabulary for effective communication at the workplace. 

Overview of the interview process

Every hiring process is different but they all have the same intent - to verify if you are qualified for the position and ensure you are a good fit for the role. Hiring managers can pick a combination of various interview formats for the purpose. Here are a few you can expect: 

  • Screening interview: This takes place early on in the interview process. The objective here is to verify your formal qualifications, skills, and experience before moving on to more in-depth interviews. A screening interview is brief and usually conducted over the phone. 
  • Video Interview: A video interview is more in-depth and can be conducted by a hiring team instead of just one person. Its objective is to understand more about you and your professional journey and confirm relevant admin-related details. 
  • Skills Assessment: Finally, you might be invited to the office to complete a task or skills assessment round. This is conducted to ensure that you can perform as advertised in your CV and deliver in a professional environment 

The order of these interviews can change depending on factors like the number of applicants for a role. 

In preparing for the various stages of the interview, consider how you will respond to competency, behavioral, and situational questions. Here are a few simple tips to get you started in the right direction. 

Researching the company

An interview is not likely to go well if you don’t have basic knowledge about the company you’re applying to. Apart from giving you relevant talking points, researching the company demonstrates your interest in it and makes a great first impression. Here’s how you can go about researching the company:

  • Understanding the company's products or services: Educate yourself about core offerings, product updates, new launches, and any other notable events
  • Familiarize yourself with the company's history and culture: Make sure you know about founders, current senior management, and general shareholder sentiment. 
  • Researching the company's mission, values, and goals: This is important not only for the interview but also to ensure you’re applying to a company whose core values align with yours. 

Make notes wherever necessary and don’t stress about using company jargon. Explaining what you have understood in your own words will show you’re authentic and have done adequate research. 

Practicing interview questions

Hiring managers are known to ask a few fundamental questions to help get a clear idea of your profile and experience. Being prepared for these types of questions can make the right impression on the hiring team. 

You can prepare answers to common interview questions by writing down responses or rehearsing them with a friend or even in front of a mirror.

Some standard questions you can expect at most interviews include:

  • Tell me about yourself
  • What do you know about your company?
  • Can you walk me through your CV?
  • Why are you interested in this role?

If you are preparing for an interview in English, keep some notes handy so you can refer to them frequently during the preparation process and get comfortable with the responses. Finally, don’t hold back from asking the interviewer to repeat a question if you don’t understand it in the first go. 

Preparing questions to ask the Interviewer

Sometimes, the best part about preparing for an interview is getting to ask the interviewer some questions toward the end of your chat. This shows you have done your due diligence, are serious about securing the role, and have good listening skills.  

Some questions you can ask your interviewer can be about their experience with the company, their favorite part of the job, and so on. If you are speaking to someone who will be on the same team as you, you can also ask what a typical work day looks like for them. 

Preparing one's attire and appearance

Another aspect that speaks of your personality and sincerity in a job interview is your attire. One study reported 65% of hiring managers saying that dressing up professionally can be the deciding factor between two similarly qualified candidates. A business-savvy attire can help make a good first impression and start the interview on a good note. Avoid messy hair, casual shirts, or crumpled pants. Look sharp to feel confident!

Organizing Paperwork

This may not seem like much, but a well-organized folder with all your important documents can also play a role in the interview process. Keep your CV, cover letter, certifications, and portfolio of your work (if applicable) within easy reach. Fumbling around your folder for the right document appears disorderly and can leave a bad impression on the interviewer. 

It’s a good idea to keep two copies of all documents at hand to avoid mishaps. Finally, don’t forget to carry a notebook and pen in case you want to take notes. 

Arriving early and greeting the interviewer

From the employer’s point of view, interviews offer insights into various aspects of your performance as a prospective employee. Arriving late for an interview can, therefore, be a giant faux pas. 

Make sure to calculate your commute time in advance if you’re appearing for an in-person interview. It helps to arrive early and familiarize yourself with the setting to keep your nerves at ease. 

Another important factor that candidates tend to overlook is maintaining good body language and eye contact throughout the interview. Remind yourself to look at the interviewer's face and smile when appropriate. Don’t try to ingratiate yourself with your interviewer. Instead, maintain a professional attitude throughout and speak with clarity.  

Brush up for your job interview in English with Immigo

If English proficiency is all that’s standing between you and your dream job, try Immigo. 

We can help you brush up on your English skills with ease. Our platform can help you get fluent in business English, learn the correct use of phrases and idioms, and improve your vocabulary. We use unique methodologies focused on improving your speaking skill to get you to speak English like a native in no time.

Immigo can substantially improve your chances of acing that job interview in English. Start with a 7-day free trial today! 

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