Interview Preparation!

Posted on 1st October 2021 by Joanne Hayden

Interviews in English

Attending any kind of interview can be very challenging especially if it is in a foreign language.  This is totally understandable as the fear of ‘going ‘blank’ or ‘making a fool of yourself’ can be overwhelming.  

So here are some tips about how to approach an interview to the extent that you might even enjoy it. Ok, ‘enjoy’ might be too strong a word. But at the very least, how to survive an interview so that you can feel that it went better than expected. 

Interviews are all about preparation. Start by learning vocabulary you will be using for the position you’ll be applying for.  If, for example, the position is an engineer, then learn the specific technical expressions and words that are used in this environment and that you will be expected to use and understand on the job. 

Do your research on the company. Which country are they primarily based in? How many subsidiaries do they have, if any? Do they mainly import or export? Do they supply domestic or international markets? Finding answers to these questions will help you to understand the kind of person and experience they are looking for. 

Anticipate the kind of questions you will be asked based on your CV.  After all this is the first introduction a company has had to you. You might be shocked to know but many people have no idea what exactly is on their CV.  They forget the places they worked, for how long and what exactly their duties were.  So know your CV backwards (this is just an English expression. I’m not suggesting you actually learn your CV backwards but seriously, know your CV well)! Remember every job and role as if it were yesterday.  This prevents you from being ‘caught out’ in an interview when you’re asked to explain your career path or what you brought to previous jobs.

Dress appropriately but err on the formal side.  Save your casual shirts and jeans for when you get the job! 

If the interview is in person, make sure you know where the office is located and give yourself plenty of time to get there.  Arriving late creates the worst kind of first impression even if you feel you had a valid excuse.  

Remember that “your interview starts in the carpark”.  This is the advice I got from the CEO of a large company who stated that from the moment you arrive onsite, someone is watching you.  Greet everyone you meet on site with a smile, especially the receptionist/security staff as they are often the first people you meet.  Believe it or not, they are part of the interview process just as much as your interviewer is and afterwards their opinion might be the deciding factor in getting the job.

When you are shown into the interview room traditionally you would be invited to shake hands before sitting down. But with the advent of COVID, shaking hands will not be required but perhaps bump elbows ! Introductions will be made but don’t be afraid to ask someone to repeat their name or position in the company.  It looks better if you ask now rather than half way through the interview or worse still, at the end. 

At the end of the interview, thank the interviewers for giving you the opportunity to attend. State that it was lovely meeting them, you would be thrilled to get the job and that you look forward to hearing from them very soon.