A Job Interview
Fay needs advice from Jerry on how to succeed at a job interview in English
Fay: Hi Jerry. I'm thinking of applying for a job with a multinational company, but I'm worried
about having an interview in English. Can you give me any good tips?
Jerry: Hmmm. That's a tough one. I guess the first thing is to try to make a good impression. We
often say, "you never get a second chance to make a first impression". You really need to
get off to a good start.
Fay: That sounds like good advice. Maybe I could sing and dance for them, ha ha ha! Then
they'd really be impressed! But seriously, how do I make a good first impression?
Jerry: To begin with, you should firmly shake the interviewer's hand while greeting him or her
with a smile. Be sure to keep eye contact, especially when listening to the interviewer.
Fay: Ah, "body language" is really important, isn't it?
Jerry: Yes, it is. The second thing is to have confidence. You get confidence from being
prepared. You should learn a little bit about the company before the interview. Find out
what they do, how long they've been in business, what their business motto is, that kind of
thing. You should also anticipate possible questions, and think about how you will answer.
Fay: Should I memorize my answers beforehand?
Jerry: No! Definitely not! That sounds very mechanical. You should be natural when you speak.
Just think about how you want to answer, and choose the right words at the time of the
interview. That way, you can use the interviewer's own words in your answer, which
shows you've been listening. Then you're sure to make a good impression.
Fay: I never thought about that before. You're really smart, Jerry! But what should I do if I
can't remember an English word when I'm answering a question?
Jerry: In that case, you have to paraphrase. In other words, you have to explain what you want
to say. For example, if you forget the word "manufacturing", you can say "making a
product" instead. Or instead of "statistics" you could say "using many big numbers to
Fay: That's very helpful, Jerry. Thanks so much. Ah, one more thing. Should I ask about the
salary during the interview?
Jerry: No, either let them bring up the topic of money, or else wait for a second interview. If you
prepare well, make a good first impression, have confidence, and use English naturally,
you're almost certain to be interviewed again. Good luck!
This English conversation first appeared in College English magazine in 2004.