Business English Jobs: How To Land A Position With An International Company
Working overseas presents you with exciting opportunities in both your personal and your professional life. If you’re hoping to land a position with an international company, we recommend you “brush up” on your business English skills.
Today’s top employers actively seek bilingual candidates. The ability to speak more than one language makes you more competitive in the job market and can boost your earning by as much as 5-20% above the earnings of monolingual employees.
A 2017 report published by New American Economy reveals that companies in the United States seeking bilingual speakers has more than doubled since 2014.
Given Germanic-speaking countries represent the largest economy in Europe, skilled workers hailing from Austria are an attractive proposition to foreign businesses. Working abroad also stands you in good stead for the remainder of your career because top firms prefer employees with cross-culture experience.
That said, landing a job with an international company is not straightforward. If you want to live and work in a foreign country, you should choose the country and the city wisely. There should be a healthy job market and attractive salaries that afford you a good quality of life versus the cost of living.
You should also investigate whether you will be entitled to a working visa and how long it lasts. And don’t forget to check out obligatory tax and contributions.
Some English-speaking countries can drain your pay packet with various contributions to health and pension benefits you may never see the benefit of. On the flip side, jobs that pay attractive wages give you the opportunity to build a nest egg.
For your application to really stand out, your cover letter and CV should demonstrate you have a good command of business English.
Applying for a Job in Business English
If you’re applying for a job with an English-speaking company, hiring managers initially assess candidates on the information given in the covering letter and your CV.
The next stage of the process is to be called in for an interview, or series of interviews. It’s not unusual for top firms to hold two or three interviews that put top talent through their paces. Expect to be tested on more than your business English.
Before you even get to the interview stage, you will need to demonstrate that you’re able to communicate in business English skills to a high standard. Make sure you localise the spelling.
For example, British English does not have the same spelling as US English- which is also used in Canada and Australia as well. Whereas US business English use a ‘z’, the British spelling is with an ’s’.
For example, if you’re applying to a company that uses US English, you would write ‘specialize’. In the UK, you would write ‘specialise.’
US spellings often drop the ‘u’ in words such as flavour (flavor,) colour (color), humour (humor), honour (honor) etc. It may help to set your computer to US-English, or UK-English to help you identify misspelt words.
Composing a CV
Your Curriculum Vitae is usually the first opportunity you have to make a lasting impression on a prospective employer. If your CV shows you have a strong grasp of business English, you position yourself as a candidate that stands out.
We’ve published content detailing how to write a CV in business English before so we won’t repeat ourselves here. The key points to note are:
- Tailor your CV to the job description
- Bullet point your most important skills and experience at the top of each section
- Provide examples that highlight the skills and experience your prospective employers are looking for
- Write in active voice and past simple tense
How to Express Yourself When Interviewed in English
Most interviews are to evaluate your communication and social skills and to determine if you’re a good fit for the office. Interviews are essentially a test of character and, sometimes, to assess how you perform under pressure.
If English is not your first language, interviews are the hardest hurdle to overcome when applying for a job with a foreign company. Unless you’re able to speak fluent English and express yourself in a second language, you will be quickly found out.
Interviewers will be testing your capability to communicate with your colleagues in business English. You will need to be able to hold a conversation on many different levels so it’s important that you convey ideas without confusing the interviewer.
With this in mind, pay attention to clarity. Be mindful of how quickly you are talking and make sure you articulate the words probably. Whilst a slight accent can work in your favour, if you do not pronounce words correctly and clearly, people have to work harder to understand you.
It’s also important to note that English-speaking cultures are not as direct with their language as most European countries. It is advisable to approach an interview with diplomacy and ask questions in a polite way.
British people, in particular, can feel offended by Europe’s front-foot approach to communication. Some people misconstrue it as rude even when it’s not intended that way.
You will increase your chances of securing a job with an international company if you can make an emotional connection with the people interviewing you.
Ask them questions about the company and what it’s like working in the office. You will also win their approval if you know something about their culture and compliment their nation and fellow countrymen. “I love the British sense of humour. It can be so clever.”
We also recommend practising answering questions with a friend or family member. Alternatively, feel free to reach out to the native English speakers at E4P.
Our business English classes in Vienna are designed to help significantly increase your chances of landing a job with an international company. We will help you structure your CV and cover letter and thoroughly prepare you for an interview.
What Types of Questions Should You Ask in an Interview?
Hiring managers usually invite job candidates to ask questions at the end of the interview. This is your opportunity to impress the interviewers with your curiosity and inquisitiveness but also gives you the opportunity to determine if you actually want the job.
Remember, you’ll be spending a significant portion of your life in the office so you want to know what an average day will involve. This gives you the opportunity to decide whether the job will satisfy you.
Ask the following questions:
- What are the day-to-day responsibilities of the role?
- Can you give me any examples of the type of projects I will be working on?
- Who will I be working with?
- How would you describe the work environment here?
- Is the work collaborative or does the job involve working independently?
Before you take a job, you want to understand how it will aid your career. Will the job you’re applying for furnish you with skills you can use in the future to fulfil your career aspirations. You also want to be assured that the company can provide you with a job in the near future.
Ask the following questions:
- Will I receive any training?
- Is the training ongoing?
- Does the company offer additional development and a career path?
- Are there any training programs available to employees?
- Does the company have any plans for growth. Are there any new products or services in the pipeline?
- Where do see this company in the next five years?
Making friends with your colleagues and feeling as though you belong in a group is also important for your psychological and emotional wellbeing.
Ask the interviewers these questions:
- What is the company culture?
- Do you organise work night’s out or team bonding events?
- Can you describe what a typical work’s party looks like? Where do you go?
Connecting with people on an emotional level helps to build bonds. As humans, we are more inclined to recall people we connect with emotionally than those we don’t.
Make an emotional connection with the interviewer by asking the following questions:
- How long have you been with the company?
- What do you like about working here?
- What did you do before this?
- How much has your role changed since you started?
Your final question should be designed to leave the interview singing your own praises. Ask the interviewers this killer question:
19: Is there anything on my CV that makes you feel I might not be the best fit for this role?
This question serves several purposes. Firstly, it demonstrates you are invested in the job and more likely to be committed.
Secondly, it gives you the opportunity to relinquish any doubts and, at the same time, show you are not afraid to accept weaknesses but prepare to work hard to develop strengths.
It can also help to boost your confidence. If the interviewer hasn’t recognised any weaknesses, they will be promoted to talk about things they do like. And you can use this to reinforce their initial feeling about you as the best candidate for the job.
No-Go Topics in a Business English Interview
Job interviews give your prospective employers the potential to establish your motivations for the role and to determine if you have a professional attitude. With that in mind, here are some things you shouldn’t say in a job interview.
Dedication and loyalty are important to employers. It’s estimated that companies spend between $1500-$4000 to hire a single employee. Naturally, they will want a return on their investment.
Subsequently, a popular question in interviews is why you left your previous job, or why you want to leave your current job. The person asking the question may just want to know whether you were fired. If you have an issue with authority or any disciplinary complaints against your name it’s a red flag.
They will also be testing your levels of commitment. Therefore, avoid answering this question with responses such as “I’m bored” or “I don’t get along with the people.”
Insulting former managers or employers
It’s not good practice to bad-mouth former employers either. No matter what your feelings are for your current manager, an interview is not the environment for you to voice your complaints and opinions.
If you do have a negative story to tell make it positive. You don’t want to appear insubordinate or arrogant, but demonstrate that you have skills and knowledge that a previous manager may have been lacking in. Where possible, explain what you learnt from the experience.
Mentioning your lack of experience
Hiring managers are mostly attracted to candidates that show passion and ambition. However, you should be careful how you answer the question, why do you want this role?
You don’t want to appear desperate. If you give the impression that you’ll do anything, it raises the question about your commitment to the company. If you’ll do anything for one company, you’re more likely to go and do something you prefer for another company at the first opportunity.
HR experts advise job candidates to avoid expressing a lack of experience unless you can show how you overcame this potentially perceived weakness.
When you’re applying for a job in business English, the ability to communicate your weakness or lack of experience in a positive way will be key. Again, you don’t want to sound desperate so focus on the strengths and benefits you can bring to the role.
If you don’t have any experience, you can say you’re a quick learner and eager to develop new skills because you’re ambitious. If you have any transferable skills draw on these strengths and explain how you are keen to build on your existing skills through new experiences you expect to encounter in the new role.
Benefits, vacation and pay
The interview is the time to focus on why you’re the best candidate for the position. Unless the topic is brought up by the interviewers, avoid asking about benefits, how many days of vacation you get and how much you want to be paid.
It is best practice to wait until you are offered the job before you start negotiations over the terms of the contract.
Do you need help preparing for business English jobs?
One aspect of the Business English courses we offer at English 4 Professionals is how to land a job with an English speaking company. We cover how to prepare a CV and how to write a cover letter in business English.
We also perform interview role-plays during our sessions to help acclimatise you for the big day. Our students all say that the experience of practising an interview helps them feel more confident about expressing themselves in business English.
Call us today on 0699 121 500 75 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org