Business English

How to Behave during a Job Interview in English

job interview

By Jacqueline Schaalje

Congratulations!  You have now landed your very first English-speaking job interview, and you are very excited about the opportunity to begin a new phase of your professional career.  The next step is to prepare in advance for the English interview so that you are relaxed and comfortable enough to make a great first impression.   We need to take into consideration the possible cultural differences in professional communication, the proper manner to dress, and the acceptable ways to behave during the face-to-face meeting with the hiring manager.  By preparing in advance, your chances for landing the job will be greatly increased.

Dressing “appropriately”

Many times, the hiring manager will instruct the potential candidate to “dress appropriately.”  But what does this phrase mean exactly?  If the job interview is for a factory position, should you wear slip-resistant footwear and a hardhat?  Most likely not.  Many hiring managers will tell you that they like to see potential job candidates walk into the office dressed as if you are expecting to meet the President of the Company.  For men, this may mean wearing a three-piece suit or a nice jacket and necktie combination.  For women, appropriate attire might mean a nice dress or a pantsuit with shoes of a conservative heel (not too high).

Smile and be enthusiastic

As soon as you walk into the English interview, smile and offer to shake the hand of your interviewer.  State your name clearly, and thank the hiring manager for the opportunity to meet with them.  Make sure that you always make eye contact with the interviewer at all times.  And try to avoid nervous behavior, like squirming in your chair, wiggling your legs, or tapping your fingertips.  Be confident and enthusiastic, but not arrogant or cocky, when answering the interviewer’s questions about your background and job history.  Remember, you are trying to “sell yourself” as the best possible person for the job.

Don’t be negative

During the job interview, you might be asked some very specific questions about past employers.  One common example is “Why did you leave your last job?”  It is always important to answer with a positive response.  Avoid saying anything that would portray your previous employer in a negative manner.  Negative answers may give the impression that you are difficult to manage or hard to please.  Instead of saying, “My boss and I did not get along,” perhaps say “I am anxious to come to the United States to provide a better life for my family.”  Go online and search for the most common examples of interview questions asked.  And practice your answers with a family member, mentor, or close friend before the English interview.

Offer solutions

Hiring managers simply love candidates who offer solutions to problems rather than focusing on the negative causes.  Many companies today may be growing very rapidly or may be facing some rather difficult financial situations.  These types of issues may be discussed in your job interview.  Be prepared in advance to offer ways in which you can help solve these issues by giving examples from your past employers.  Be specific and be willing to discuss with the English interviewer some stories from your past in which you helped solve difficult problems.

Here are a couple of questions about this article. If you are a silver member, you can do this quiz online and check your answers. Not an exclusive member yet? Click here for the details.


Choose A, B, C, or D! Only one answer is correct.

1 What’s this article about?

A How not to do a bad job.

B How to please your interviewer at a job interview.

C How to be on your best behaviour.

D It gives some tips how to land a great job.

2 What does it mean: “Land a job?”

A Go to the UK and get a job there.

B The job is just right for you.

C Get accepted for a position.

D Get the best seat at an interview.

3 What’s a hiring manager?

A The official who is in charge of recruiting new personnel.

B A manager who is looking for new staff to man his or her department.

C A manager who interviews people.

D An employee in the human resources department who decides who works where.

4 The hiring manager will instruct the potential candidate to “dress appropriately.” What is dressing appropriately?

A For most jobs, that will mean formal dress such as a suit or a dress for a woman.

B Women should not come in shoes they can’t walk normally in.

C You can wear a helmet if it’s part of your job.

D It’s important to look nice.

5 What do you do at the beginning of the interview?

A Make eye contact.

B Shake hands and smile.

C Say your name clearly.

D Thank the hiring manager for seeing you.

6 What shouldn’t you do during the interview?

A Wiggle in your chair.

B Tap your fingertips on the side of your chair or on the desk.

C Answer questions in an arrogant way.

D All of the above.

7 Why shouldn’t you give negative answers in your job interview?

A Your previous employer may never give you a job again if you complain about him/her.

B It’s none of anyone’s business why you and your former manager weren’t friends.

C Your future boss may suspect you are a difficult person.

D It depresses the people who work with you.

8 How can you practice your interview at home, according to the article?

A You can read a couple of books about the job you will be doing.

B Look up the responses that you will be giving on the internet.

C Call your hiring manager and practice your answers with him or her before the interview.

D Practice your answers with a family member, mentor, or close friend.

9 What kind of candidates do recruiting officers simply love? Choose the best answer.

A Candidates who smile a lot and tell relevant stories.

B Candidates who are specific about the kind of experience they have.

C Candidates who are able to think of solutions to problems the company might have.

D Candidates who can help the company grow rapidly.

10 In which case may you tell the interviewer some stories from your past?

A To demonstrate that you know how to solve problems in earlier jobs that you did.

B When the stories are interesting.

C When the hiring manager is listening to you with their mouths falling open.

D When the interviewer asks questions about your past jobs.

Hope you liked this! And good luck interviewing!

Read a complete interview guide here:

40 Interview Tips

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