How Not to Screw Up a Job Interview: How to Speak English Fluently Even If You’re Not a Native Speaker

Getting your cover letter and resume noticed by an employer or recruiter is just the first step in landing a job. While waiting for a call, use this time to practice your job interview skills in English, especially if you’re vying for a position in a global firm. Studying job interview tips online and attending webinars, like the ones hosted by Joblu, are great ways to jumpstart your self-improvement process. 

Joblu, in its mission to help job seekers worldwide, regularly mounts webinars to provide useful tips and knowledge anyone can use in their forays in the job market. The latest is a quick English Training program hosted by Joblu’s Client Success Manager, Rhea Pellagio. In the webinar, Pellagio gives out practical pointers on how to communicate effectively in English, especially during job interviews. She also includes simple methods on how to improve one’s language and interview skills and other tips for a successful interview.

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    Tips to Improve Your English Communication Skills

    Before you can ace your interview, brushing up on your English communication skills is a must. You don’t have to master the language to know how to communicate effectively during job interviews in English. You just need enough confidence in your fluency. As Pellagio said in the webinar, fluency is simply understanding the language and knowing it well enough to produce it. Grammar is important, but not the end-all-be-all of English fluency. Even native speakers have trouble with grammar, so you don’t need to perfect it in order to express yourself well. What you need to hone is your ability to express a complete thought. 

    If your English interview skills are a little shaky, don’t worry. Here are Pellagio’s practical tips to help you achieve English fluency:

    1. Immerse in the language

    You don’t need to go to an English-speaking country to immerse yourself in the language. Watching TV series or movies in English is a great way to start. To make the learning stick, mirror or mimic the actors’ way of speaking.

    2. Set specific improvement goals

    When seeking to improve a skill, start small. Set a SMART goal – a specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely goal. For example, you can improve your English vocabulary by committing to learning 10 new English words a day for 1 month. Write down each word, look up its pronunciation and definition, use it in a sentence, and find synonyms for the word. After this month, you can then challenge yourself even further by doing the same thing, with 20 new words this time. Pace yourself so you won’t get burnt out.

    3. Practice your vocabulary through spaced repetition

    Spaced repetition is a language learning technique that involves reviewing new knowledge and material at intervals. Setting intervals in between learning and reviewing forces your brain to remember the information. Language apps like Duolingo and the like utilize spaced repetition. You can do this on your own by spacing out your review sessions over the course of many days instead of cramming for one day.

    4. Learn basic grammar rules

    Subject-verb agreement and tenses are the two most important grammar rules you should have a solid grasp of. Knowing the basics of these two should help you confidently communicate in English.

    Top 5 Job Interview Tips

    Confidently speaking in English is just one of the many interview skills job seekers should brush up on. In the webinar, Pellagio shared five useful tips for a successful interview.


    Ace Your English Job Interview with These Tips

    1. Research about the company

    Before going to your interview, find out as much as you can about the company you’re interviewing with. Look up their website and review their history. Researching can also help you prepare answers to common interview questions such as “What do you know about our company?” or “What can you contribute to our team?”

    2. Speak in complete sentences

    Speaking in complete sentences is the best way to communicate effectively in English in a professional setting. This means if you get a question like, “When did you graduate?”, you don’t just answer “2022.” Instead, you can say, “I graduated in 2022.” It sounds more polished and forces you to complete your thought.

    To organize your thoughts when speaking, use the STAR Technique.

    3. Mirror the question

    Mirroring questions you receive in an interview helps you express yourself in complete sentences. It’s also a great way to buy a few seconds if you need more time to organize your thoughts and answers.  


    An example of this would be:

    Question: “What do you think is your biggest achievement in your last job?”

    Answer: “My biggest achievement in my last job is __.” Or “I would say __ is my biggest achievement in my last job.” 

    4. Think directly in English instead of transliterating

    Some words in the vernacular (or the day-to-day language we speak in) do not have a direct equivalent in English. Forcing a direct translation, or transliterating, sounds awkward. It’s best to practice thinking directly in English when speaking the language. 

    5. Use conversation starters

    Conversation starters are handy phrases you can wield if you need more time to process your thoughts. You can say “That’s a great question” or if you want to be honest, “I think I need more time to think about your question”. Mirroring the question is also a good conversation starter.


    Top interview tip for freshers: Go on a Joblu Mock Interview

    The best interview advice for fresh graduates? Simulate your first interview experience with Joblu’s Mock Interview feature. This feature has a recording of a woman posing as your interviewer asking common interview questions. After each question, the interviewer will pause, giving you time to answer. Put those phone, zoom, virtual, and sales interview tips to practice with this feature and gain confidence before you go on an actual interview.


    The number one interview tip for freshers and job seekers? Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. Take everything as a learning experience and build up your confidence. When it comes to communicating effectively in English during interviews, grammar is not the only deciding factor.  What recruiters focus on is whether the applicant can express themselves with a complete thought. The best interview advice we can give is to prepare, practice, and be confident. 


    Find a meaningful job no matter where you are in the world. Download the Joblu app for an opportunity to connect with thousands of employers and get a headstart on your job search.

    Frequently Asked Questions about Job Interview Tips

    Q: Tips for answering unexpected questions?

    A: Expanding your vocabulary is the best way to prepare for unexpected questions. Researching about the company, the position you’re applying to, and the industry will also help.


    Q: Any app or YouTube recommendations for English fluency?

    A: There are many English grammar channels on YouTube and they are all good to start with. However, the best tool to practice English fluency is by immersing yourself in the language. Find your favorite English-language show and actively learn the language by mimicking the dialogues.


    Q: I keep catching myself making grammar mistakes. How do I avoid them?

    A: There’s no way to avoid grammar mistakes, especially during interviews, but it’s good that you’re aware. To avoid making the same grammar mistakes, take note of them and then learn how to correct them. Physically writing it down on a piece of paper will help you remember.


    Q: What are 10 things to do during an interview?

    A: To make a good first impression during an interview, do these:


    1. Come prepared. Research about the company and the position you’re applying for.
    2. Practice answering the most common interview questions. If you’re applying for a managerial position, look up “interview questions for managers” and practice answering the most common ones you find.
    3. Dress for the part. Look polished and professional.
    4. Come on time. Arrive at least 5 minutes before the interview.
    5. Bring the essentials — your CV, your ID, and portfolio or work samples. 
    6. Ask relevant questions. It shows that you’re interested and invested in your job application.
    7. Be respectful. Don’t interrupt your interview and maintain eye contact during the interview.
    8. Keep your phone silent.
    9. Don’t speak ill of your past job experiences.
    10. Show enthusiasm and ask about the next steps.

    Q: How do you introduce yourself in an interview?

    A: Start with the basics — your name, age, where you were born and where you live, and your basic family background. Next, talk about your expertise — how long have you been working in the industry and why you’re applying for the job. Lastly, tell the interviewer something interesting about you — it could be your hobby or your passion project.


    Q: What are common interview mistakes?

    The most common mistakes job seekers make during job interviews are:


    • Arriving late
    • Coming unprepared
    • Speaking badly about past employers
    • Not asking questions
    • Slouching, fidgeting, and avoiding eye contact

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