Walk Through an English Interview in 5 Steps – The Language Professional

Walk Through an English Interview in 5 Steps

DEVELOP YOUR WORK ENGLISH

​​Congratulations! You've applied for a job and have been invited to attend an interview. So, what can you expect from the interview itself?

In this article, we'll look at the most common interview practices so that you're ready for what's coming.

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​1. ​The reception area
Reception

Once you find the address and walk in to the building, the first thing you see will probably be the reception area. Most likely, you'll see a receptionist behind a desk and a seating area nearby.

Walk over with your 'confident hat' on and tell the receptionist that you've arrived and who you are supposed to meet. You could say something like:

  • "Hi, I'm [your name]. I have an appointment with [interviewer's name] at [time]."
  • "Hi there, my name's [your name]. I'm here to meet [interviewer's name] at [time]."

The receptionist will most likely ask you to take a seat in the waiting area.

2. The waiting area
The waiting area

Hopefully, you've arrived early and were not rushing to get here. You have a few minutes now to clear your head and prepare to meet your interviewer. In lesson 6, we'll look at the things you should prepare before your interview.

Now's the time where you may want to remind yourself about the key skills you want the interviewer to know you have and examples of these from your work experience.

But don't think about it too much.

The most important thing you need to do now is get ready to meet your interviewer. Soon, the interviewer is going to walk towards you. So, how do you want him or her to see you? Nervous? Uncertain? Uncomfortable?

Of course not! First impressions mean a lot and really, the interview has already started. When the interviewer walks around the corner to meet you, you're going to look relaxed and confident.

While you're sitting in the waiting area, use this time to create these feelings in yourself. Actually feel relaxed and feel confident. You don't need to pretend. You've already done your preparation (as we'll see in lesson 6's article) and you deserve to be in this room waiting for this interview.

​3. ​Greet the interviewer
Shake hands

Okay and here's the interviewer walking towards you!

"Hi there, you must be [your name]," the interviewer might say.

​​You're already feeling relaxed and confident, so smiling comes naturally to you. You stand up, still smiling, and walk towards your interviewer​.

"That's right. It's great to meet you!"​ you reply as you bring your right hand forward for a handshake. A confident, firm handshake - not too gentle and not too strong (you don't need to rip his or her arm off).

"Did you manage to find us okay?" asks the interviewer.

"Yeah, it wasn't too hard to find," you reply.

Next, you follow the interviewer as he/she leads you through to the interview room. While doing this, he/she says a few things about the work environment and you see some other employees working busily.

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Now, the interviewer might be a chatty person and if so, you'll need to be ready for some small talk. Perhaps you'll need to ​answer questions about the weather, the workplace or something else.

Just keep calm and answer as best as you can. Relaxed and confident ... and friendly. Right now, it's a good chance to show that you're a friendly person who's not afraid to talk. Show interest in what the interviewer is saying:

  • "Oh, I see."
  • ​"Oh right?"
  • "That's interesting."

And don't be afraid to ask questions related to what the interviewer's talking about or things that are happening in the working environment.

  • "So, how many people​ work ​in this building?"
  • "What's going on over there? That looks interesting/fun/exciting/serious."
  • "​Is that the kitchen/staffroom/lounge?"

Relaxed, confident and friendly.

4. The interview room
Interview room

The interviewer leads you to the place where you'll have your interview.

Don't worry. Keep calm. They've seen your CV and invited you to this interview - so, you deserve to be in this room. You belong here. You've already prepared for this situation, so just do what you've practised and you'll be fine.

Learn the ​Interview Essentials
'Interview Essentials' is an ecourse that helps intermediate-level English learners develop real interview confidence with English.

Lesson 1-3 - Discover and practise the language you need to describe yourself and answer questions about your background and skills.
Lesson 4-5 - Learn how to answer the most common questions interviewers ask.
Lesson 6 - Practise everything you've learned in a mock (pretend) interview.

Learn more about how to develop English skills for your work with an ecourse.
​5. After the interview
Writing an email

We're not quite finished yet.

Now's the time to send a short email to say thank you to ​your interviewer, while reminding them of your suitability and telling them that you're very interested in the position.

Here's an example of the kind of email you should write.

​Which step of the interview journey are you most confident about? Which makes you most nervous? ​Share your thoughts and experiences by adding a comment below.

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