Tips For Acing a Job Interview in a Foreign Language

Learning a foreign language is tough, but a definite must in today’s world where multilingualism is becoming a highly valued asset in the workplace. Most of the time, saying you are proficient in a language on your resume isn’t enough, employers will want to check your skills in the real world which could mean having to do a job interview in a foreign language. But don’t get intimidated just yet: having a chat with your future boss in a second language need not be a scary or overwhelming experience. Check out these tips for acing that interview and you’ll be successfully chatting your way to your dream job in no time at all:

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1. Overestimating vs. Underestimating

Language learners tend to do one of two things: overestimate their abilities, or underestimate them. When it comes to getting a job based on your language skills both of these can be very dangerous. Learning a language is a never-ending journey, but underestimating your abilities will bring you fewer opportunities, while overestimating them can make you end up looking like a fool in an interview where the conversation is much more advanced than what you’ve already learned. One of the best ways to clearly judge your level is to ask someone who knows all about it, namely your language teacher. He or she can explain to you where you really stand, making it easier for you to walk into that interview knowing that you’ve been upfront and honest with your interviewer about what you can do.

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2. Fluency vs. Speed

Native language speakers tend to speak quite rapidly which leads many language learners to believe that speed = fluency. And most people tend to speak more quickly when nervous, even if carrying on an interview in their native language; this effect is only multiplied with the added pressure of doing an interview in a foreign tongue. At all costs, force yourself to slow down, regardless of how nervous you may feel or how confident you are in your abilities to speak quickly. Your future employer would prefer to hear you speak slowly and clearly as opposed to shooting a rapid onslaught of gibberish his/her way in an attempt to show off.

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3. Listening vs. Understanding

Being able to understand what your interviewer is saying may be one of the greatest sources of anxiety for you when approaching a foreign language interview. However, as with everything, the key is to be open and honest with the person sitting at the other end of the table. Don’t be shy about asking him or her to speak more slowly or to repeat a question. Focus on the parts of the questions that you do understand as opposed to those you don’t – usually you will be able to pick up on the context and give a good answer even if you don’t get every single word. And if you’re feeling really unsure, just pose a question back using the “So you would like to know……is that correct?” method to make sure you’ve completely understood what they are asking.

The main thing to remember in a foreign language interview is that you should remain calm, cool, and collected. As long as you have the right tools in hand, impressing your future boss with your amazing language skills should be a breeze! Of course, you can’t achieve this kind of language success without a good foundation in place, so be sure to sign up for some top-tier language classes and use online placement tests as another method of judging your language level. With these language implements, taking the corporate world by storm is within your easy reach!

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