How can I explain in a job interview that I cannot speak a foreign language at a level where I would feel safe using it in the workplace?

Updated on : December 6, 2021 by Zachary Marsh



How can I explain in a job interview that I cannot speak a foreign language at a level where I would feel safe using it in the workplace?

Always say you can do it! Be positive and optimistic. Your confidence and ability to step out of your "comfort zone" will increase.

Learning a language is not an easy task, but it is not impossible either! In his case, it is not clear how long he has been staying in that foreign place. If you are there for more than 2 years, you should have learned at least a good level of that language to communicate. On the other hand, if you are completely new to that place, you can convince them by mentioning your situation.

I suggest you learn conversational level language skills and t

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Always say you can do it! Be positive and optimistic. Your confidence and ability to step out of your "comfort zone" will increase.

Learning a language is not an easy task, but it is not impossible either! In his case, it is not clear how long he has been staying in that foreign place. If you are there for more than 2 years, you should have learned at least a good level of that language to communicate. On the other hand, if you are completely new to that place, you can convince them by mentioning your situation.

I suggest you learn conversational level language skills and then try to impress the interviewer. They will be convinced and feel that you are making an effort to learn the language, which may result in the opportunity to work at your company.

Note: If you are supposed to give an interview in a foreign language, always start the conversation in that language. At the time when it is difficult for you to express your thoughts in that language, ask the interviewer if you can switch to English, and if so, continue the conversation.

All the best :)

A common tactic in interviews is to focus on your strengths rather than your weaknesses.

So instead of saying, "I don't speak Swahili in the workplace fluently enough," just say:

"I have a passing knowledge of Swahili"

Most recruiters want tough skills. Speaking a second language is always a nice bonus, but is rarely a requirement.

I agree with Terry Loo. Never say "I can't" and focus on the "I can." Positive scripts will be your friends here.

If they push you further, you can tell them that you are further improving your communication skills using said foreign language.

Job interviews are so fake. They ask questions that do not prove your ability to do the job, and most people flatter or lie flat out in their interviews. There are honest, hardworking people who are turned down for jobs and promotions simply because they don't have great interviewing skills ... although interviewing skills aren't even necessary for the job itself. And at the same time, there are many incompetent people who know how to speak a great game and exude confidence to get the job. Believe me ... I have even received job offers from companies where I had nothing to do with being an expert

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Job interviews are so fake. They ask questions that do not prove your ability to do the job, and most people flatter or lie flat out in their interviews. There are honest, hardworking people who are turned down for jobs and promotions simply because they don't have great interviewing skills ... although interviewing skills aren't even necessary for the job itself. And at the same time, there are many incompetent people who know how to speak a great game and exude confidence to get the job. Trust me ... I've even gotten job offers from companies where I had no business for being a crafty shitty artist! Additionally, people with social anxiety and poor verbal skills are at an extreme disadvantage in the marketplace.

It also appears that most interview questions are leading questions. There are so many "what not to say in job interviews" articles for that very reason. Job interviews are also unfairly critical. So what if I don't know where I see myself in 5 years? How would you really know why you should hire me when I don't even know what the job entails? These types of questions do not test a person's ability to do a job. Only experience does.

Why can't job interviews just be honest discussions about your education and previous work experience? Why are a lot of "got you" questions? If anything, the interviews should be primarily to assess people's personality and cognitive abilities to see if they would fit in. I have seen many people with the gift of the word lie on their resumes and goof around on their way to a career. That's not fair.

As a general rule, no.
As a contextual rule, yes.

This has less to do with languages ​​and much more to do with the role that managers must play within an organization, and the ethical nature of that role.

When everyone within a business environment must speak a certain language, it is not appropriate to address a limited number of others in a different one. It is also not appropriate for any employee to speak to each other in a second language within a context that is not explicitly and obviously personal. This could be interpreted as talking in code to each other.

However, if the section led by that manager

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As a general rule, no.
As a contextual rule, yes.

This has less to do with languages ​​and much more to do with the role that managers must play within an organization, and the ethical nature of that role.

When everyone within a business environment must speak a certain language, it is not appropriate to address a limited number of others in a different one. It is also not appropriate for any employee to speak to each other in a second language within a context that is not explicitly and obviously personal. This could be interpreted as talking in code to each other.

However, if the section run by that manager is specifically aimed at speakers of a different language, and therefore that language is required for that role, it is perfectly acceptable.

For example, a non-specific market North American company would expect the use of English for all purposes. However, within that organization, any department charged with dealing with the Spanish-speaking community or the French-speaking community would be expected to use that second language in any situation necessary for the successful operation of the organization.

Outside of business, it would be perfectly acceptable for anyone to speak to another person in a different language. If you find yourself working for a company trying to manage your work life on such matters, leave them, as quickly as you can.

An example of how this could work, albeit with role reversal (where employees used a different language for their own purposes), is this.

In the mid-1980s, when nearly all financial transactions were handled like checks and each had to be processed by hand, a bank's clearinghouse in Austin, Texas, was hiring hearing-impaired people from the School for the Deaf of Texas (located there). ) to work in the clearing room simply because the noise level was too high for hearing people to be in the room. All of these employees were trained in sign language and used it at work. Their managers weren't trained in that.

What those employees found they could do is sign everyone to watch their checks, and then "divert" them to wire them to out-of-area banks. This could result in an additional “float” of up to a week before the check goes back to that bank for clearing. They could then repeat that misdirection as needed, to prevent the payee from debiting their checking account, as the check physically floated through the banking system.

Needless to say, they were eventually caught, but not until the bank racked up a not inconsiderable amount of compensation fees.

Likewise, there is nothing to stop managers who speak the language of a subset of their employees from using that language to that subset's secret advantage, so it is something everyone should know.

Focusing on getting the interview off to a good start is a good starting point.

I have interviewed over 100 candidates for my language school since its inception in 2007. Without a doubt, the first question I ask when interviewing a candidate is: "Tell me about yourself?"

After a minute of the candidate answering this question, I have usually decided if I want to hire this person or not.

First impressions count.

Therefore, this is one of the most important questions during an English job interview because:

1. This is usually the first question the interviewer asks, which means it is you.

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Focusing on getting the interview off to a good start is a good starting point.

I have interviewed over 100 candidates for my language school since its inception in 2007. Without a doubt, the first question I ask when interviewing a candidate is: "Tell me about yourself?"

After a minute of the candidate answering this question, I have usually decided if I want to hire this person or not.

First impressions count.

Therefore, this is one of the most important questions during an English job interview because:

1. This is usually the first question the interviewer asks, which means it is your chance to make a positive first impression;

2. first impressions will always have a lasting effect regardless of how the rest of the interview goes;

3. If you get off to a good start in your interview, your nerves will calm down and you will feel more confident answering all other questions.

Prepare for your job interview in English

Always prepare yourself as best you can to answer this question before going to your job interview in English.

If you spend time preparing your answers to potential questions, you instantly have an advantage over other candidates. This is because most people do not prepare properly and consequently do not answer questions as well as they can.

The interviewer is looking for information related to the job you are applying for, so avoid the mistake of talking about something irrelevant to the job. Being relevant will help you make a positive impression.

You will give the interviewer a bad first impression if you are not objective, give irrelevant information, or take too long to answer the question.

How to respond "Tell me about yourself"

To help you prepare for your next job interview in English, I will show you 3 simple but clever answer formulas. You can model and copy them for your next job interview in English.

Pick one that you are comfortable with and tailor it to your experience, situation, and job for which you are applying.

Formula 1: Past experience. Achievement. Strengths. Current situation.

This type of answer combines a bit about your past, your success, what you are good at, and what you are looking for.

Sample answer / useful phrases

Past experience

“I have worked in your sector, for example, the banking sector for the last 5 years. My most recent experience was the position in company, where my responsibilities were describe responsibilities ".

Achievement

"During this time, I helped the company achieve a 50% increase in profits, in addition to establishing the brand as the 'priority' among consumers."

Strengths

"I consider myself a highly committed, creative and motivating leader."

Current situation

"What I'm looking for right now is an established company in the (sector), which values ​​customer satisfaction, as well as employee development."

Formula 2: Achievement (s) and how this positions you for the job

Here you can talk very briefly about an achievement and how it relates to the job you are interviewing for.

Later on, your interviewer will probably ask you about your greatest achievement, which you will talk about in more depth. So if you decide to use this combination, it is important to be brief.

Sample answer / useful phrases

Achievement

“The last company I worked for was company, and I left there feeling very proud of what I had accomplished. Over the past 2 years, I reduced costs by 20% and increased revenue by $ 3 million. "

Role position

"The information and knowledge that I gained from just this experience makes me really excited about the opportunity at the interview company and how I could develop as a position."

Formula 3: Present. Last. Future.

For this combination, you can be very objective answering the question in 3 sentences if you want, like the example answer below.

A sentence to talk about your current situation, as well as another for your past experience and what you are looking for in the future. You can also add more details if you think three sentences are too short.

Sample answer / useful phrases

Present

"I am currently in your job position at your company, where I take care of relevant responsibilities."

Last

"Before that, I worked in company where I handled relevant responsibilities."

Future

"And now I'm very excited about this opportunity with the interview company because it gives me the opportunity to develop / progress / learn more about the area of ​​work."

conclusion

In my experience hiring people and speaking with recruiting specialists, it is clear that first impressions count in job interviews.

Properly preparing to respond "Tell me about yourself" will give you a great opportunity to make an initial positive impression and calm your nerves for the rest of the interview.

So for your next job interview in English, use one of these 3 simple formulas. Adapt it to your situation and practice saying it until you feel comfortable. Take this tip and make sure you are off to a good start!

This is too subjective. There are hundreds of ways to do it. I've read tips on how to be successful in interviews, but mostly that sucks.

I have seen in my history that the easiest way to succeed in an interview is to reflect the personality of the boy / girl who is interviewing you; it's just reading his character and portraying a person you think he's looking for, high odds that he will be able to please such a person and leave a good impression. The best way to succeed in an interview is by not pretending to be someone else.

I've interviewed people, I can tell when those little jerks are trying to pretend, reflect

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This is too subjective. There are hundreds of ways to do it. I've read tips on how to be successful in interviews, but mostly that sucks.

I have seen in my history that the easiest way to succeed in an interview is to reflect the personality of the boy / girl who is interviewing you; it's just reading his character and portraying a person you think he's looking for, high odds that he will be able to please such a person and leave a good impression. The best way to succeed in an interview is by not pretending to be someone else.

I've interviewed people, I can tell when those little assholes are trying to pretend, mirror my personality so I can kiss them on the butt, or they're just nervous and they study the answers and memorize them and you hear things like: "short is the process where you hedge your short positions with long positions in structured products as options, to reduce your short exposure ... er ... no, to reduce your long exposure ... or wait, it was long exposure ... "

Eh what? Come back again? ... are you sure you're not mistaking one for the other here? It's a shame when people memorize simple definitions upside down.

The recruiter looks for a fit, not just technical, but also within the team. That is not easy. If you follow standard procedure and don't act like yourself during an interview, you could end up doing a job that you're unsuitable for and you'll regret it.

I have had dozens of interviews. I remember going to one where the first guy asked, why aren't you wearing a tie? Why didn't you shave? I said, well, I didn't know that those things affected my ability to perform. This guy was shocked. I'm glad I 'was myself' and finished the interview there, because if I pretended to be someone I'm not, I might have ended up working for that real jerk.

Or one for a quantitative role where the guy told me he was crazy, but had a lot of fun during interviews. He and the department manager would have wanted to hire me, but they also had people in their 40s / 50s, which are the typical PhD types working there, doing 9 to 5 hours that would go crazy with me in my 20s non-stop. caffeine line going round / round / round 7 days a week. "You would drive my team crazy!" He said, you can imagine that I was happy to be myself. Because I could easily have portrayed myself as someone else ... and got through the interview that way. But I would have been unhappy because my colleagues would have gone crazy.

I am not fully qualified to answer this: I am only fluent in my native language, English, but I have studied several languages: French, Latin, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, researched some linguistics, and created my own languages ​​for fun. So I know how NOT to learn a language.

I would venture to say that they are excellent complements or parts of learning a language, but actually learning a language requires reading, speaking, listening and writing. Actually, I just need to be able to listen and speak. Reading and writing are independent, but useful.

I have used memrise to learn

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I am not fully qualified to answer this: I am only fluent in my native language, English, but I have studied several languages: French, Latin, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, researched some linguistics, and created my own languages ​​for fun. So I know how NOT to learn a language.

I would venture to say that they are excellent complements or parts of learning a language, but actually learning a language requires reading, speaking, listening and writing. Actually, I just need to be able to listen and speak. Reading and writing are independent, but useful.

I have used memrise to learn HSK 1 vocabulary so far for Chinese. It didn't stick as well in my head as when I started using skritter to write them; this could be the way my memory is trained or the fact that the act of writing is adding more pathways in the brain to cement memories. . Still, it's been VERY helpful for recognition, but since each character is separate, there seems to be very little correlation between individual vocabulary and language in general. I find phrase learning very effective. We don't think word for word, we think and understand in bigger blocks.

I added online training, a university class, and interaction in Mandarin with people online, as well as people in person (many native speakers where I work). The only thing missing is a forced dive.

With Duolingo I learned a lot of French (but I had 9 years of schooling in it, although at that time it was not interesting for a child forced to learn it). Duolingo taught me a lot of grammar and vocabulary, my reading was excellent, but I still have incredible difficulty understanding the spoken word at a native rhythm, and without continued practice after a few months it is already fading, I will go back to that. It's not ideal, but even going back a few years later reawakens your memory a little faster than a blank slate.

Regular practice in general makes the most sense. A little bit might be enough if you're casual, but I'd say an hour a day minimum, USING THE RIGHT TACTICS for you, including all of the aforementioned methods, but you will probably find that some work better for you at certain times. I would say: for the first time I am not afraid to try to talk to the natives and be ashamed, I am wrong. Once I wanted to refer to the sun, and instead I spoke about sex because of a tone or slang that I did not know, quite embarrassing. Fortunately, we laughed because she was a good friend and was learning English herself. I have made more progress with Mandarin in a few months as a result of accepting that I will make mistakes than with any other language, despite having a much larger vocabulary in some of them.

I would say that the last point applies to any skill where you have to interact with people: acting, language, public speaking. You have to accept that you will make a fool of yourself. After a while, you may take the apparent laughter and criticism for what it really is - helpful fixes.

Two things besides: Do you enjoy the learning process and don't mistakes and difficulties discourage or even motivate you? Or do you HAVE to learn it, because that's the only way to communicate? Those are really important factors in staying motivated, and Memrise and Duolingo will really help, but not on their own. Keep it diverse and consistent.

Here are some tips:

Remember that the people who are interviewing you are also people with the same doubts and fears as you. You couldn't have been so bad if they wanted you to come back for a second interview.

Dress neat and conservative for your meeting. Keep your hair neat, clean your nails, brush your teeth, and use antiperspirants. Clean and polished shoes, etc. (Appearances matter, but more importantly, the effort you put into the interview shows that you are excited about the job.)

Before your interview, do a little more research about the company and the job you are applying for.

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Here are some tips:

Remember that the people who are interviewing you are also people with the same doubts and fears as you. You couldn't have been so bad if they wanted you to come back for a second interview.

Dress neat and conservative for your meeting. Keep your hair neat, clean your nails, brush your teeth, and use antiperspirants. Clean and polished shoes, etc. (Appearances matter, but more importantly, the effort you put into the interview shows that you are excited about the job.)

Before your interview, do a little more research about the company and the job you are applying for. Remember the names of anyone who is introduced to you and USE THEIR NAME at least once when speaking to them. (That shows you pay attention.)

At first, tell the interviewers that you are feeling very nervous, but that you have researched the company and are looking forward to working there.

Listen carefully to what they ask you and answer honestly. Do not stray from the path.

If you don't have a skill they require, do the opposite of what you probably feel ... Look (and feel) excited and say that you've been looking forward to the opportunity to learn about it and that you love learning new things.

At some point in the interview tell them that you are (or will be) punctual, scrupulously honest, discreet and loyal to the company. (If you get the job, be true to those things.)

If you're unsuccessful, don't be discouraged, treat it as an important learning opportunity for your next job application. Ask them if they will keep your name on their records in case something comes up in your company (or whoever gets the job doesn't work out).

Good luck.

A job interview in a foreign language requires additional preparation.

There are basically two sides of the interview that you can prepare for: your profile and the company profile.

Let's take a look at your profile: Many interviewers start the conversation with "Tell me about yourself." Prepare a short but interesting answer to this question in the language in question. Make sure you know the vocabulary you will need to talk about your experience, your personality, and your motivation for working at this company. You could review your CV and try to talk about each stage in the foreign language. Th

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A job interview in a foreign language requires additional preparation.

There are basically two sides of the interview that you can prepare for: your profile and the company profile.

Let's take a look at your profile: Many interviewers start the conversation with "Tell me about yourself." Prepare a short but interesting answer to this question in the language in question. Make sure you know the vocabulary you will need to talk about your experience, your personality, and your motivation for working at this company. You could review your CV and try to talk about each stage in the foreign language. Think about the answers to questions like, What have you learned during this and that role? What were the biggest challenges? Why did you make certain decisions? Why do you want to work in this company? This last question brings us to the second part of your preparation: The company profile.

Research the company and read resources about it in the language in question. Make sure you understand the most important vocabulary involved. Try to formulate what you like about the company and why you would like to work there.

Think of some questions you could ask the interviewer about the company, something that you did not find on the Internet and that shows the interviewer that you have given some thought to the vision and mission of the company.

With this preparation you should have collected all the necessary vocabulary. But an interview is always spontaneous and there can always be questions that you are not prepared for or words that you are missing at the moment. Try to think of and practice some phrases that you could use for those situations, which come naturally. It is normal that sometimes you have doubts, you also do it in your mother tongue and you also forget words even in your mother tongue; so don't panic when that happens to you in the foreign language during the interview. Focus more on the content you want to broadcast and not so much on the form. The interviewer wants to see that you are able to talk about important topics and does not care much if they are not 100% correct. Practice your answers in front of a mirror every morning, say the words out loud, so that you get used to speaking the language. Try to find some professional advice videos on youtube in the language you are interviewing in.

Every job interview is an opportunity to practice to sell yourself, if the interview is in a foreign language, that is an added value for your practice, so wait for this opportunity!

This ended up being the majority of my interviews.

In general, employment should be seen as a two-way street, particularly with many (software development) stores desperate to have quality people to work for them.

Ending a job you hate is not a victory for you or your new employer; it's a waste of time for both of you; at best, a temporary way to cover your rent / mortgage. At worst, it's a black mark on your career if things turn out badly between you and the company.

Interviewing interviewers is also a decent interview strategy; Most interviewers want to hear good questions from you, questions that

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This ended up being the majority of my interviews.

In general, employment should be seen as a two-way street, particularly with many (software development) stores desperate to have quality people to work for them.

Ending a job you hate is not a victory for you or your new employer; it's a waste of time for both of you; at best, a temporary way to cover your rent / mortgage. At worst, it's a black mark on your career if things turn out badly between you and the company.

Interviewing interviewers is also a decent interview strategy; Most interviewers want to hear good questions from you, questions that show that you have done proper research on the company you are courting.

Thinking of the interview as if they needed to sell to me, as much as I needed to sell to them, made this seem more like a negotiation process. For various reasons, that tended to relax me and boost my confidence.

When I was involved in hiring people (and making announcements / posts for the position), I also saw things the same way, that is, as a bit of courtship, I was not looking for warm bodies. I was looking for the type of candidates who would enjoy what we do, how we work and what our culture was.

Think of talking as primarily related to communication. Even with very little knowledge of a language, you can communicate on basic things. You can say something like latte, please, and people will probably understand that you want latte. Or maybe coffee with a lot of milk yesterday; coffee today not much milk please, and they will understand that yesterday's coffee had too much milk for you, although the grammar is completely wrong. You can point to things (but not people, which is impolite in most of the world) and say what is it? or how much?

Every time you are successful in the community

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Think of talking as primarily related to communication. Even with very little knowledge of a language, you can communicate on basic things. You can say something like latte, please, and people will probably understand that you want latte. Or maybe coffee with a lot of milk yesterday; coffee today not much milk please, and they will understand that yesterday's coffee had too much milk for you, although the grammar is completely wrong. You can point to things (but not people, which is impolite in most of the world) and say what is it? or how much?

Every time you manage to communicate, you must gain confidence. But of course, you shouldn't stop there. At the end of the day, try to remember the things you have said and try to figure out how to say them correctly, with a combination of dictionaries, grammars, websites like reverse, language learning communities, etc. Or decide to use a new vocabulary or a new construction for the next day.

It doesn't have to be perfect, just better. So maybe the next day, I'll try to use "too much" and "less": coffee yesterday too much milk; coffee less milk today please (in the end, you may not get milk ☺). And listen carefully to the answer. The waiter can answer a little less milk today than yesterday, I have it. At first, you might be confused by the funny word abitless (I asked for less milk; why are you giving me abitless?), But will eventually pick it up again. I could even say I have it, a cappuccino, not a caffèllatte, which will sound like gibberish at first. It may take weeks or months before you get a perfectly fluent, polite and idiomatic version, but that's okay - I wonder if you could make my coffee with a little less milk than yesterday, thank you! Or maybe just good morning!

Every time you apply something new that you have learned, you must gain confidence. Every time you correct a mistake you have made, you must gain confidence. Sure, you can make the same mistake more than once before getting it right, but you'll eventually internalize the correct version.

If you interact with some people often, whether they are friends or coworkers or even the bartender where you eat breakfast in the morning, you should encourage them to correct you when you make mistakes. Ask if there is a better way to say that.

(Inspired by Morris Swadesh's conversational Chinese classic for beginners, which was written for the American military in China during WWII.)

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