Job interviews in English: how to prepare and some examples of questions and answers.

colloquio di lavoro in inglese

Job interviews in English: how to prepare and some examples of questions and answers.

Let’s be honest, many people see job interviews as a daunting experience. They feel nervous and anxious especially trying to imagine all the possible questions that might be asked. Taking part in an interview becomes even more difficult if we have to do it in another language. If you find yourself having to attend a job interview in English and you are looking for suggestions and useful sentences to positively influence your recruiter, then you have come to the right place!

How do you prepare for a job interview in English?

Preparing for a job interview in English might seem like a complicated task but with a bit of practice and the right mindset, everything is much simpler. Your first task is to read up on the company and the position which you are applying for: look for information about the company’s mission statement and the company culture, the products and services they offer as well as the values that they promote.

It is very likely that your interviewer will start the interview with a simple question like “Tell me about yourself”.

Interview preparation Best Practice dictates that to guarantee you answer this opening question in the best possible way, you should have a pre prepared professional presentation to highlight your main skills and abilities.

Don’t underestimate this opportunity because it’s the first impression which will influence the rest of the interview. When preparing your presentation, remember what you have written in your CV. Talk about your work experience, your studies and even a few words about your passions outside of work.

The person interviewing you might ask some questions about your CV so it is fundamental that you are prepared to reply. Focus on the experiences which are most relevant for the position you are applying for and remember to provide as much detail as possible.

After the initial presentation, it’s time for the main questions: which are the most popular questions in an English interview? How should you reply?

Job interviews in English: questions and answers

Now we have finished looking at the general tips, let’s look at what possible questions your interviewer might ask you. My advice is, a few days before the interview, spend as much time as possible rehearsing your answers to these questions: not only will this help to improve your pronunciation, you will also feel more confident when it comes to answering during the interview.

Let’s look at them in detail: 

  1. Why do you want to work here?

During a job interview, one of the first questions that you might be asked is “Why do you want to work here?” or “Why did you apply for this job?”.

There are many possible answers to this question and obviously they differ depending on the individual. You could highlight how your skills and experience make you especially capable for a particular aspect of the position, for example you might have previous experience in a creative role which has given you the relevant skills for the creative aspect in the new job. Alternatively, you could mention something about the company’s culture or ethics that is of particular importance to you.

In addition, remember to speak specifically about the aspects of the job description which stood out to you. In this way you also demonstrate that you have read it and have a clear understanding of what is being requested. This gives a good impression to your potential future employer.

Here is an example of a possible reply: 

I applied for this position because I am passionate about the mission of your company and the positive impact it has on society. Collaborating with a diverse group of individuals to solve complex problems is a feature of the job that excites me, as I am a team player at heart and thrive in such an environment. I am confident that my skills and experience make me a strong fit for this role and I am eager to contribute to the success of the organization. Furthermore, I am drawn to this position because of the opportunity for growth and development it offers. I am committed to working hard and continuously improving my performance to make a positive impact on the organization. In summary, I am excited about the prospect of joining your team, contributing to the important work you do, and expanding my skills and expertise.

  1. What are your strengths? / Quali sono I tuoi punti di forza?

If they ask you this question, it is a great opportunity for you to illustrate the strong points of your character and the way you approach work, so you present yourself in the most competent and professional way possible. Try to be 100% honest because if they discover you were lying and in fact these really aren’t your strong points, it could backfire on you.

Here is an example of a possible reply: 

One of my assets is my excellent ability to organize. For instance, when I worked as an interim Assistant Manager at a hotel in Vienna, I rearranged the administrative office. Despite seeming like a trivial task, the office had not been reorganized in years, and the effect on daily activities was significant. The staff was oblivious to the excess uniforms that were stored in the office. Consequently, we were able to avoid ordering additional uniforms for several months.

  1. Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

This is one of recruiter’s favourite questions and it is also one of the most feared by candidates. For many, thinking about themselves in a year’s time is already a challenge, let alone five! If you can’t provide a definitive answer to this question, a good strategy might be to expand on the job description.

For example, if the job you are applying for doesn’t mention managing a team, you could say that you would like to have that responsibility in the future. Or, if the company has offices abroad, you could express the desire to take up a role which involves frequent travel. In this way, you will show the future employer that you are aware of the opportunities for growth within the company and that you are willing to take on extra responsibilities.

A possible reply could be: 

Within the next five years, I aspire to become a Manager at a hotel. My objective is to cultivate a constructive workplace atmosphere where my employees hold me in high regard and appreciate my open-door policy. I intend to establish an inviting environment where any member of the team can approach me to discuss their accomplishments or apprehensions. Furthermore, I plan to enhance my expertise in Human Resources management by obtaining supplementary professional certifications. I am also enthusiastic about improving my abilities as a sommelier. Lastly, I aim to increase my proficiency in the French language to attain a level B1.

  1. Why do you want to leave your current job?

If you are still working or if you have just left your job, most interviewers will probably ask this at some point during the interview. Although it is a tricky question, try to turn it to your advantage: if you want to change jobs because you don’t get on with your superiors, don’t say so; on the other hand, try to explain that you are looking for new incentives and challenges and you want to learn new skills.

Here is an example of how you might reply:

  • I feel that I have outgrown my current position and am ready to embrace a new challenge;
  • I would like to relocate and fully engage in the lifestyle of a different city;
  • Although I wasn’t actively seeking a new job, a friend shared this job opening with me, and it seemed like a perfect fit.
  • My present role doesn’t allow me to use all my abilities, whereas this fresh opportunity appears to be more satisfying and rewarding.
  1. Do you have any questions for us? / Hai altre domande per noi?

At the end of an interview, any competent interviewer will ask this question. You might feel embarrassed or even afraid by this question but it is in fact an excellent opportunity to get rid of any doubts that you might have about the job, the company or the roles you would need to perform if they hire you.

Here are some examples of questions you could ask the interviewer: 

  • I would like to know about the possibilities for career progression in this role?
  • Are there any specific details you wished you knew before joining the company?
  • Can you inform me of when I can expect a response from you?
  • Could you elaborate on the prevalent work culture within your organization?
  • How will my performance be assessed and evaluated?
  • Do you have any additional queries or concerns about my candidacy?
  • What are the subsequent steps in the interview procedure?
  • What is your perspective on the company’s vision for the upcoming five years?

The advice in this article should ensure you are fully prepared to face a job interview in English. If you want more tips on this or more details about language learning in general, please get in touch!