Nervous about your English? Tips to help you express yourself well in an interview

Portrait of a young man talking about himself during a job interview

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Are you scared of speaking in English because you can’t remember the right words? Gain confidence with these tips:

Prepare:

You should:

  1. Research:
    • Find out the company:
      • mission
      • vision
      • culture
    • Read news about the company and the industry.
    • This will help you show:
      • updated knowledge
      • your interest in your field and in the company
  2. Prepare a script
  3. Remember the STAR method when answering questions.
    • STAR means Specific situation, Task, Action, and Result.
    • Use this when answering behavioral questions.
    • Behavioural questions are those that start with: “Can you tell us about a time when…” or “Describe a situation where…”
    • Example question: Tell me about a time when you took the lead on a difficult project.
    • Example answer:
      • “Our sales dropped in the last quarter. I volunteered to lead a committee to study why this happened (specific situation).
      • I checked sales and customer feedback. Poor customer service was a common complaint (task).
      • Our committee brainstormed for solutions to use in all our branches. We held customer service trainings for staff (action).
      • After a month, our sales increased by 30% (result).”

Practice

  1. Read your script. Practice with a native speaker.
  2. Ask for feedback. Take notes.
  3. Read your notes and improve your weak points.
  4. Practice again if you have time.

Make your international experience a selling point

  1. Many companies value diversity in the workplace.
  2. Be confident about your international experience.
    • Emphasize the skills that you gained.
    • Mention your knowledge of other languages.
  3. Be careful not to over describe or sound boastful.
  4. Never lie about achievements.

Don’t worry about your accent

  1. Most people are used to accents in Manitoba.
  2. What is important is that you can be understood.
    • Speak slower if you have a heavy accent.
    • Don’t feel bad if they ask you to repeat what you said.
    • Speak confidently. Talk at the right pace.

Even native speakers make mistakes

  1. Most newcomers are worried about making mistakes.
  2. Don’t mind slight grammatical errors.
  3. Focus on the content of what you are saying.
  4. Stop worrying.

During the interview: Ask if you don’t understand

  1. Tell the interviewer politely if you do not understand what he/she is saying.
    • You can say, “sorry?”
    • “Would you mind repeating that again?”
    • “Please repeat what you said.”
  2. Request the interviewer to speak slower. Some people don’t notice that they are talking too fast.

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Community Resources

There are many employment workshops all over Manitoba:

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