Common Mistakes and Disasters in Business English Interviews
An interview is an opportunity to impress your would-be employers with your bright mind, quick wit and initiative. However, interviewers tend to lay traps and will analyse your personality as well as your proficiency to communicate in business English.
They will also pick up on any mistakes. So, to avoid your interview turning into a disaster, communicate confidently and don’t make these common mistakes.
Whilst it’s fairly obvious that you should dress in correct business attire when you go for a job interview, you shouldn’t wear something that you might get away with if you are actually employed there.
Careers advisors generally recommend avoiding bright colours or novelty ties, ill-fitting suits, dated fashion, and wearing too much make-up or cologne. And if you travel to your interview listening to music, don’t leave your headphones hanging around your neck or poking out of your pocket.
Not answering simple questions correctly
One of the most common questions in an interview is „tell me about yourself“.
If you’re from a culture where people define themselves on what they like to do, you will not provide the detail of information an interviewer in an English-speaking company is looking for.
The interviewer does not want to know what you like and don’t like or what your hobbies and interests are. They want to know about you as a person. Are you open-minded, creative, amiable forward-thinking, proactive, easy to get along with, ambitious, a natural leader”, etc.
Oh, and one more thing. When you’re asked to demonstrate your skills, don’t get out a deck of cards to perform a magic trick. It has happened. Check out these interview disasters.
Preparing for an interview will make you feel more confident and competent. You don’t want to be fishing for examples of a time you showed aptitude in something (a common interview question).
To prepare for an interview, learn something about the company. This will help you pick out some buzzwords that align with the company culture.
You should also be prepared with real-life examples of the answer we suggested in the previous section; can you demonstrate a time when you were proactive, how are you creative, open-minded, ambitious etc.
For versus Since
If English is not your mother tongue, there is more potential for you to make a mistake in an interview. One of the most common mistakes I hear non-English speakers make (even when they speak business English to a good standard) is they use the word “since” instead of “for” as they would in their own language.
In English, we use the word “since” when we make a reference to a specific point in time.
“I have been reading psychology since 2016.”
We use the word “for” when we make reference to a measure of time.
“I have been reading psychology for six years.”
This job is about them, not you
How much you say about yourself can be a tricky river to cross in an interview. On the one hand, you need to sell yourself by demonstrating your skills and accomplishments.
However, it is important to remember that interviewers only want to know whether you have the right skills for the job. They don’t want to know your entire career aspirations and how this job can help you get to where you want to be.
So, when you’re asked, “why do want this job?”, your answer should be that you recognise the company can offer you a satisfactory career and this role represents an excellent opportunity for you to develop your skills and experience.
Business English Classes in Vienna
You probably have all the skills and knowledge you need to land your dream job. But if you’re not confident that your business English is good enough, don’t risk missing out on a career opportunity. Contact our native English tutors in Vienna and take advantage of our Business English classes.
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