Prepare for a job interview in English
If you are interested in an overseas advertisement or a position in an international company, your job interview will likely end. takes place in English.
For a French speaker, this first contact in a foreign language can seem intimidating. It is therefore essential to prepare for it to make a good impression during this meeting with the recruiter.
To put the odds in your favor, follow our advice to put your English language skills and know the frequently asked questions asked during a job interview in English. Read them carefully to find out what the recruiter expects from you and thus be more comfortable when the day comes.
Some tips for improving your English
Preparing for an interview in English, it is crucial to use appropriate and correct grammar and vocabulary. Using the wrong times or the wrong words can paint an unprofessional image on the recruiter. Pay attention to your pronunciation as well.
Practice introducing yourself and talking about your experiences in English to make it easier on interview day. If you know a native person, don’t hesitate to contact them to simulate an interview in English and practice before the big one
Review your times
The conjugations used in English are not always the same as those used in French. When interviewing, many candidates make the mistake of translating their thoughts literally, which makes their remarks unnatural.
So remember to revise your times. As a reminder, here are the times often used to talk about one’s past:
- The past simple: used for specific actions that have been completed.
Example: In my last position, I worked as a developer and had to manage a team of 10 people.
- The present perfect: used to talk about past experiences that continue in the present or that you can do again in the future.
Example: I’ve worked at my current company for 5 years. In this position, I was in charge of product design and production planning.
- The past perfect: used to talk about an action that was in progress. course when a second action has taken place.
Example: I had been working for several years as a sales representative when we closed a deal with our main client in the United States.
Know useful vocabulary related to the job
Prepare yourself by knowing the most commonly used words during a job interview. You will likely need to use them during your meeting with the recruiter.
We have prepared some keywords for you to remember :
- Application: candidature
- To apply: apply
- Cover letter: motivation letter
- Current job: current position
- To hire: hire
- Position: position
- Previous job: previous position
- Resume: CV
- Salary expectations: desired salary
- Starting salary: entry salary
- Skill: skill
If you don’t know these words or phrases, practice using them out loud before your interview. You can do it!
The most frequent interview questions in English
Tell me about yourself
The question “Tell me about yourself” is often the first question the recruiter asks the candidate during a job interview. With this question, the recruiter seeks to know more about your professional background and the experiences contained in your curriculum vitae.
This question allows him to:
- Check the information present on your CV.
- Evaluate your personality (if you are curious, dynamic, enterprising, reserved, etc.).
- Evaluate your stress management.
Answer by briefly presenting your background, your training, and your previous jobs.
For example: My name is Richard, I’m a data analyst with 3 years of experience working for one of the most important French marketing companies. After my Master’s degree in (name of studies), I have been developing my skills at (list of jobs and companies). Although I love my current job, I am now looking for a more challenging position where I could use my skills to their full potential. And the job you are offering seems really exciting.
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
With this question, the recruiter seeks to know your strengths and your weak points. It is important to answer them in the most honest way possible. Before your interview, prepare a list of your qualities and your shortcomings to answer them easily and without hesitation.
How to talk about your strengths
For your strengths, highlight both your personality and your professional skills. Do not give too long a list of boat adjectives, it is better to choose a good example that illustrates your quality.
Here are some examples of strengths in English:
- I enjoy working as part of a team
- I have excellent communication skills
- I am good at finding alternatives when faced with a problem
- I can quickly adapt to change
- I am well-organized and good at meeting deadlines
Address your weak points
For your weak points, don’t talk about flaws but rather points for improvement. Show that you know your weak points and that you are actively working to improve them to avoid them affecting your work.
- I can sometimes have difficulty focusing, so I keep a calendar with all my meetings, my projects, and the tasks I am assigned. I organize them all by priority and deadline and make sure to check it regularly.
- I have a hard time taking risks and going out of my comfort zone. That is why I decided to apply for this job in another country and accepted to have this interview in English.
- I have some trouble being punctual. Therefore, I set several alarms in the morning and prepare what I need the night before to be sure to arrive on time for a meeting.
Why are you interested in working for our company?
This question is very often asked by recruiters. It allows them to:
- Know what the candidate knows about the company.
- Evaluate the candidate’s motivation and interest in the position.
Determine if your application is coherent.
To deal with this question, it is important to find out about the company beforehand to know its philosophy, its missions, and its future trajectory. This research allows the candidate to show his interest by using concrete elements.
Bounce back on these examples by matching your experiences, previous tasks, and missions as well as your values :
- I saw an article about your new CEO and the company’s focus on technology innovation. I have always been interested in new technologies and I would love to work for a leader in the industry.
- I have used your products for many years and am impressed with the constant improvements you put in place. I also value your dedication to your customers, providing them with tutorials on how to use your products effectively. I would love to join your team and use my skills to continue the company’s impressive work.
- I discovered your company on social media and I was immediately inspired by your values and the style of your brand. After looking at your job openings while improving my skills at a marketing firm, I feel that I am now ready to join your team and contribute to the innovative work you are doing.
Why did you leave your last job?
Stay positive about this question. Do not denigrate your previous company or your former colleagues. Explain your decision, remaining as neutral and factual as possible.
You can say that you have looked at your previous position, that you are looking for new challenges, and that you want to gain new knowledge. Optionally, give examples of tasks you would like to accomplish in your new position.
- After several years of working for my previous company, I wanted to experience a new environment and face new challenges to continue growing professionally.
- Over time, the tasks I was assigned to me changed and I was no longer being allowed to do the work I was first hired to do —which is precisely the area I’m most interested in.
- I wanted to take on new responsibilities but the company couldn’t offer me an opportunity to grow professionally so I decided that a change would best for my career.
Do you have any questions?
At the end of the interview, the recruiter often asks the candidate if they have any questions. This is the opportunity to ask strategic questions to end the job interview on a high note.
Consider taking an interest in the various aspects of the job, the team, and the company to show your curiosity and your determination to your interlocutor.
- Find out about the next steps of the selection: What are the next steps in the hiring process?
- Are you interested in the organization of the company: How are the different teams organized and how do they work together?
- Find out about possible training: Does the company offer training to employees?
You now know how to pass a job interview in English. But before we get to the job interview, it’s important to convince the recruiter with an effective and impactful CV.