Top 4 Strategies for Confidence in an English Job Interview (Guest Post)
In March, Shanthi wrote an article titled, “How to Bravely Face Change in Your Career with Your ‘Bad’ English.” It perfectly summarized the challenges of major life changes — a job layoff, a company merger or expansion, or even a promotion.
Good or bad, major changes can disrupt your confidence. Especially a career change that requires a job interview in English.
I work with professional women around the world who speak English at a high level but still don’t have the confidence they need to grow their careers and perform in a job interview.
The fear of being judged for your English. The anxiety of making a silly mistake or being nervous that someone won’t understand you. The challenge of “selling yourself” because it feels uncomfortable.
If you have similar fears about job interviews in English, I want to share my top 4 strategies to get the English confidence you need for a successful career change.
1: Focus On Communication, Not Perfect English
This is central to everything Shanthi shares at English with a Twist and I agree with her 100%.
Your future employer isn’t hiring you for perfect English, they’re hiring you for your professional skills and your expertise.
In fact, there are just two things your future employer wants to know in the interview: can you do the job well and are you the best choice for the job?
Focus on communicating ‘yes’ to both of those questions and you’ll stand out in the interview.
In the next 3 steps, I’ll tell you exactly how to do that with confidence and in a way that doesn’t feel uncomfortable.
2: Do the Right Job Research
This step isn’t about perfect English either, it’s about understanding exactly what the job requires.
This means reading the job description carefully and identifying the keywords.
Keywords will tell you the experience, skills, personality, and expertise the company wants. You’ll also learn what values are important to the company.
Once you know these keywords, it is important to use them in your job interview. This will help you answer those two important questions and say, “Yes! I can do this job well and I’m the best choice.”
To do this effectively, I love to use multiple colours to highlight words that relate to those four areas: experience, skills, personality, and expertise.
The colours help you to see patterns and the words that are used most often. Want to know what it looks like?
Here’s an image from a video training I did with my Confident Job Interview students recently:
You’ll notice words like coach, counsel, facilitate, and guide are used often. These are the keywords that are important to the company. As a result, they should be used in the job interview as well.
Now that you’ve got the right research, let’s focus on how to use it to talk about yourself confidently in the job interview.
3: Use a Proven Technique to Prepare with Confidence
It feels rude and uncomfortable to talk about yourself, to tell people how awesome you are, doesn’t it?
Most people think that’s what it means to ‘sell yourself’ in a job interview. And yes, you do need to talk about yourself, but it doesn’t have to be so uncomfortable.
The good news is, there’s a simple solution to talking about you, your positive qualities and your skills. It’s a technique my Confident Job Interview students learn and perfect: the C.A.R. technique.
C.A.R. stands for circumstances, actions, and results. This is a simple formula to tell stories about your career. And it can help you answer almost any job interview question with confidence.
For example, if your interviewer says, “Tell me about a time when you failed to meet a deadline,” you can follow the C.A.R. technique to tell a real story:
➤ Describe the circumstances (what was the deadline, how/why was it missed)
➤ Highlight the actions you took (what did you do, how did you resolve the situation)
➤ Share the results (what happened in the end, what was the outcome)
When you highlight your actions, you are talking about you, your expertise, your skills, your characteristics, and your values. You’re simply telling a story about your work.
Here’s another example:
If the job requires strong writing skills, find a time in your career where your writing made a difference — maybe it was an important email to a client during a difficult time or a great product page on your company’s website.
Using the C.A.R. technique to tell stories lets you talk about you without bragging or feeling uncomfortable. It’s also based on facts and provides proof of your experience.
Now that you know the proven C.A.R. technique, let’s talk about how to perfect it.
4: How to Practice to Get the English Confidence You Want
There’s one mistake most people make when they prepare for a job interview — they research and think about their answers.
Thinking isn’t enough.
Thinking will not help you get comfortable with your voice in English. Thinking will not help you remember the right vocabulary in the moment. Thinking will not help you avoid getting stuck.
You must practice by speaking out loud. Multiple times.
Even better? Record yourself. Listen. And practice again.
When you speak out loud, record yourself, listen, analyze and repeat, you’ll notice two things:
#1: It’s awkward, almost painful or embarrassing the first time you listen to yourself. And that’s okay. It’s difficult for everyone the first time, even native speakers.
#2: You’ll immediately notice what you did well and where you need to improve. You’ll hear something and think, “Why did I say that? I should have said _______.” And the good news is — you can. You can practice again and change your answer so it’s better.
Every time you do that, your answers will improve. The more your practice, the easier it will be to remember what you want to say in the interview.
This process is the fastest, most effective way to prepare and become confident for your next job interview in English.
Putting It All Together for a Confident Job Interview
Job interviews in English are certainly challenging and stressful, but it’s 100% possible to do them with confidence.
Use these 4 strategies to sharpen your skills and get the confidence you want so you can focus on communicating the most important thing: that you are exactly the right person for the job.
Annemarie Fowler is an English confidence and fluency coach who helps international women become confident in English — for work and daily life.
The founder of Speak Confident English, Annemarie shares weekly lessons on her blog and she has a free English job interview training available as well.