Lesson 11: The Job Interview in English

Recruiter checking the candidate during job interviewDIALOGUE

Practice by reading the dialogue with your tutor. After you are done, switch roles and do it again!

  • Kevin: Dorothy, I have an important interview on Tuesday in English. I’m preparing for it now, despite being really nervous.
  • Dorothy: I think it’s natural to be nervous. My advice is to give short and sweet answers to the interviewer’s questions. You should be direct and to the point.
  • Kevin: Thank you! That’s some great advice. What about industry terms? Should I know some?
  • Dorothy: For sure! If you don’t know some industry terms, the interviewer may think you don’t have enough experience for the job. In addition, I suggest that you ask open-ended questions at the end of the interview.
  • Kevin: Thanks for all your advice and suggestions. I’m going to nail it!





Read the common interview questions below out loud with your tutor.  Then spend 1-2 minutes answering each question. Your tutor will give you corrections and feedback on your answers.

5 common interview questions

  1. Tell me about yourself. Keep your personal life such as family and hobbies out of your answer. The interviewer wants to hear a summary of where you are in your career, especially your most recent job. You should also talk about your work skills that you are good at.
  2. Why are you thinking about leaving your job or why did you leave your last job? Don’t complain about your manager or co-workers. Be positive! You can say that you are looking for a position with more responsibilities, your current company is downsizing or is financially unstable, or other reasons that are true.
  3. Why would you excel at this job? This is your chance to brag a little. Tell the interviewer about your skills and experience that are related to the position you are interviewing for. Example: I am the best person for the position because …………….
  4. What do you know about our company? Prior to the interview, you should research the company. If you don’t know anything about the company, they may think you aren’t interested in the job. Here are some examples of things to know:
    1. What are some of the products or services the company offers?

    2. Have they been in the news lately?

    3. What is the history of the company?

    4. What makes them different from its competitors?

  5. What questions do you have for me? This is normally the last question the interviewer will ask. Be prepared with some questions!
    • Avoid questions about salary and benefits, especially if it’s the first interview.
    • Ask about the culture of the company or to clarify the position further.

    • Ask about the next steps in the hiring process and about the timeline to hear back from them.

    • Ask open-ended questions where the interviewer has to think and answer in his/her own words. Avoid yes and no questions.

Common interview mistakes

Read the diagram below out loud with your tutor. 

Screenshot 2017-01-06 11.27.36.png

Discussion question: Are you guilty of any of these mistakes? Share an anecdote with your tutor.




Go over the vocabulary and expressions below with your tutor. Try using each in a sentence about your own life.

job seeker 📘
interviewee 📘
interviewer 📘
management style 📘
industry terms or jargon 📘
open-ended 📘
trick question 📘
achievement 📘
nail it 📘
short and sweet 📘
strength 📘
weakness 📘
problem solver 📘
career ladder 📘
business reference 📘
fired 📘
punctual 📘
certificate 📘
promotion 📘
downsizing 📘





Using the diagram above about common interview mistakes, answer true or false (T or F). In addition, indicate which number the sentence is talking about.

  • No matter what, you can talk a lot to get your point across. False – number 5 (talking too much)
  • You should use your mobile phone to time yourself when answering question. (1) __________________________
  • You should be punctual for your interview. (2) ___________________
  • Don’t worry if you don’t know a lot about the employer. (3) ______________
  • You should never talk negatively about former bosses and colleagues. (4) ___________________




Pick a word from the vocabulary list above that best defines the meaning of the sentence.

  • When a company releases employees because they want to cut the payroll. downsizing
  • When an interviewer has to answer a question that is not simply a yes or no answer. (5) _________________
  • The person who is being interviewed. (6) __________________
  • A document stating a person has completed an educational course. (7) _____________
  • When your boss tells you that you are no longer working for the company. (8) _____________




Write a sentence using the vocabulary.

  • business reference –  I was asked to provide three business references prior to the interview.
  • trick question – ____________________________________________.
  • nail it – ___________________________________________________.
  • promotion – _______________________________________________.
  • management style – _________________________________________.



If you have remaining time, practice answering more interview questions with your tutor here: https://www.monster.com/career-advice/article/100-potential-interview-questions




(Image source: http://honorigarciaenglish.blogspot.com/2015/08/a-job-interview-tips-and-vocabulary.html)


Answer Key:

(1) False – number 6 (using your phone)

(2) True – number 9 (don’t be too late or too early)

(3) False – number 2 (not researching enough)

(4) True – number 1 (don’t speak poorly of previous employers)

(5) open-ended

(6) interviewee

(7) certificate

(8) fired

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