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Job interview vocabulary

Looking for a new job after summer holidays? A job interview is something that can be really stressful. If you are going to have a job interview in English, here are some of the most commonly asked questions and possible answers.

1. Tell me about yourself

Even if you have practiced this in your English class, it can still be tricky. Interviewers don’t want to hear every single detail. Avoid saying things like:

I was born in Warsaw. I love playing on the computer and surfing the net or I have two sisters.

They don’t want to know everything about you. It would be much better if you talk about your career growth; they want to know how you fit the job you’re applying for.

2. What are your strengths?

Talk about positive qualities that you have and that might relate to what your future employees want and are looking for.

Try the following expressions that can be useful:

To be punctual – to be on time.

  • I’m a punctual person.I always arrive early and complete my work on time. 

 To be a team player – to work well with others.

  • I consider myself to be a team player.I like to work with other people and I find that it’s much easier to achieve something when everyone works together and communicates well.

To be ambitious – to have goals.

  • I’m ambitious.I always set myself goals and this motivates me to work hard. 

To take initiative – to do something without having to be told to do it.

  • When I work, I always take initiative.If I see something that needs to be done, I don’t wait for instructions, I do it. 

To be proactive – to take initiative when doing things and to make them happen.

  • I’m proactive.I like to see results and it’s important in this industry to be proactive and responsible for your own actions.

 To keep your cool – to stay calm in all kinds of situations.

  • I think it’s really important to be able to keep your cool when you’re working as a sales manager.

 3. What are your weaknesses?

Nobody likes to talk about their weaknesses, so the trick is to turn them into positive qualities.  For example, let’s say your weakness is that you spend too much time on projects, which makes you work slower. Turn that into a positive thing by saying:

I am sometimes slower in completing my tasks compared to others because I really want to get things right. I will double or sometimes triple-check documents and files to make sure everything is correct.

  Another great trick is to talk about a weakness (like being disorganized) and mention some methods that you are using to help overcome this:

 I have created a time-management system, which allows me to list all my duties and organize my deadlines so I have a clearer idea of what I need to do. 

 4. Why did you leave your last job?

Did you leave because you were fired? Or did you quit?  If you chose to leave your old job, avoid saying anything negative about your old workplace or boss (even if it is true). The person or people interviewing you will just look at you in a negative way. You can say the following:

  • I’m looking for new challenges.
  • I feel I wasn’t able to show my talents.
  • I’m looking for a job that suits my qualifications.

5. Tell us about your education

Here they want to know everything that you’ve studied that is related to the job. For example, your training and further education. You don’t need to tell them everything you’ve done since elementary school, just the important things.

Diploma A qualification from a college/university/polytechnic.

Certificate A document confirming your participation in a course.

If they ask you the question: tell us about your academic record, they want to know what kind of grades you received.

6. Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?

Talk about your goals. Again, it’s related to your career, not your personal life.  Be careful what you say here, you need to be ambitious, but NOT too ambitious.  You can mention:

By then I will have…I would like to have… 

  • Improved my skills
  • Become more independent in what I do
  • Enhanced my knowledge
  • Achieved to a higher position…

7. What kind of salary do you expect?

Be reasonable. It’s always good to do market research before so you know what the average salary is. Be confident and name your price without selling yourself too short or going too high.

8. Do you have any questions for us?

And now there is the final question to ask… them. So don’t ask anything that will make you sound silly, such as much vacation time do I get each year? You want to find out more, and if you don’t ask any questions, then they may view this as you being not very interested in the job. Ask questions like:

  • Do you have any examples of projects that I would be working on if I were to be offered the job? This shows that you’re interested in the actual job and not just being employed.
  • Does the company offer in-house training for staff? This shows your interest in not only getting the job, but also wanting to improve and grow.

Remember first impressions count, think before you speak, show your great English skills and give awesome answers to win the job. If you still have doubts, come and join our English classes for job interviews to be prepared. Good luck!