6 Tips For Acing a Job Interview in a Foreign Language

by Charles Ebert


There are several painful things about the job search: creating the resume and going to the interview.

They both are tough. But the good thing is that you can seek the assistance of the resume writing service with the CV, but the job interview is all your responsibility no one else can do for you.

Job interview experience is hard, but having a job interview in a foreign language is way more complicated. You feel uncomfortable and always unsure of whether you understood everything right.

However, in the fast-changing world today where everything tends to globalize, knowing languages is an essential part of any successful business plan.

So, if you are going to have a job interview in a language which is not your mother tongue, then we have something for you.

In this article, you will see some great tips on how to nail the interview even though it is not conducted in the language you use as your mother tongue. So, read on to learn more about it.

6 tips to nail the job interview in a foreign language

1. Be honest when talking about the level of language you have.

It is a bad idea both to overestimate and underestimate the skills. In the first case you will be embarrassed when during the interview you won’t understand some things that the interviewer said. In the second case you might lose a chance to get a really good job that requires high level of the foreign language. Therefore, be honest and realistic in your resume regarding everything about the level you have.

2. Write down answers to the most common questions often asked during the interviews.

Most companies tend to ask similar questions during the interview. So, if you want to be ready, you can spend some time at home to prepare the answers to them. Common questions might concern your previous job experience, reasons you want to work for this company, and qualifications you have. Besides, be ready to answer what your great strengths are as well as why you left the last job. If you do the homework, you will find it easier to go through the job interview.

3. Use non-verbal communication to help you.

You should try your best to impress the interviewer with the atmosphere you create as well as the positive attitude you have towards life. Smile at all times, go for a handshake, exchange compliments, and share a joke you heard somewhere. It is a great idea to be nice and positive and demonstrate it by non-verbal means, as it does not require language at all. And smile is an international sign of friendliness.

4. Listen carefully.

The secret of successful interview is in listening to the interlocutor closely. And it is especially the case if you have an interview in a language that is not your mother tongue. Do not feel too shy and always ask to speak slowly if needed in order to improve the communication. Think over the last sentence before giving an answer, identify the keywords of what was said and concentrate on addressing them in your replies. This is our fourth tip.

5. Dive into the language before the interview.

You might want to dive into the language before you attend the interview of the company you want to work for. Listen to the music in this language, watch several series in it, and talk to the native speakers. You need to get the feeling of it and set up on speaking this language with the interviewers. You will hear how other people use common phrases in their daily speech, hear some interesting word combinations and intonations of the speakers, and come up with a few variants of response for every situation. It does sound like a great idea, don’t you think? So, start early, at least a week before the interview and spend an hour a day in the language. You will feel way more comfortable then, and the language barrier will seem much smaller.

6. Learn several complex constructions to use during the interview.

It is not about the amount of words you used during the interview, but about their quality. If all you can use are primitive words and phrases, you won’t make a very bright first impression. However, if you learn several transitions or idioms you can use during the questioning, you are more likely to make a better impression. Do not aim for the stars right away, but just a couple of word combinations will be enough to impress the potential employer.

We understand that having an interview in a language you do not speak fluently in might be tough. But it is not as tough as some picture. Of course, you won’t be able to answer as fast, and every answer will take longer as you need to think it over, but the speed of the speech is not the sign of fluency. So, feel comfortable and speak at your pace and on your level.

About the writer

Charles is a career mentor, motivational speaker & human resources consultant with over 10 years of experience in HR sector. Charles is a lead expert at Professional Resume Solutions. Apart from career mentoring, he loves photography and football. Find him on Linkedin Twitter, Facebook & Google+.


Writing systems | Language and languages | Language learning | Pronunciation | Learning vocabulary | Language acquisition | Motivation and reasons to learn languages | Arabic | Basque | Celtic languages | Chinese | English | Esperanto | French | German | Greek | Hebrew | Indonesian | Italian | Japanese | Korean | Latin | Portuguese | Russian | Sign Languages | Spanish | Swedish | Other languages | Minority and endangered languages | Constructed languages (conlangs) | Reviews of language courses and books | Language learning apps | Teaching languages | Languages and careers | Being and becoming bilingual | Language and culture | Language development and disorders | Translation and interpreting | Multilingual websites, databases and coding | History | Travel | Food | Other topics | Spoof articles | How to submit an article


Green Web Hosting - Kualo

Why not share this page:


Conversations - learn languages through stories

If you like this site and find it useful, you can support it by making a donation via PayPal or Patreon, or by contributing in other ways. Omniglot is how I make my living.


Note: all links on this site to Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.fr are affiliate links. This means I earn a commission if you click on any of them and buy something. So by clicking on these links you can help to support this site.

Get a 30-day Free Trial of Amazon Prime (UK)