How to Interview Effectively


Before reading the information about job interviews, read the following dialogue and find tips on how to interview successfully.

Fay needs advice from Jerry on how to succeed at a job interview in English

Fay: Hi Jerry. I'm thinking of applying for a job with a multinational company, but I'm worried about having an interview in English. Can you give me any good tips?

Jerry: Hmmm. That's a tough one. I guess the first thing is to try to make a good impression. We often say, "you never get a second chance to make a first impression". You really need to get off to a good start.

Fay: That sounds like good advice. Maybe I could sing and dance for them, ha ha ha! Then they'd really be impressed! But seriously, how do I make a good first impression?

Jerry: To begin with, you should firmly shake the interviewer's hand while greeting him or her with a smile. Be sure to keep eye contact, especially when listening to the interviewer.

Fay: Ah, "body language" is really important, isn't it?

Jerry: Yes, it is. The second thing is to have confidence. You get confidence from being prepared. You should learn a little bit about the company before the interview. Find out what they do, how long they've been in business, what their business motto is, that kind of thing. You should also anticipate possible questions, and think about how you will answer.

Fay: Should I memorize my answers beforehand?

Jerry: No! Definitely not! That sounds very mechanical. You should be natural when you speak. Just think about how you want to answer, and choose the right words at the time of the interview. That way, you can use the interviewer's own words in your answer, which shows you've been listening. Then you're sure to make a good impression.

Fay: I never thought about that before. You're really smart, Jerry! But what should I do if I can't remember an English word when I'm answering a question?

Jerry: In that case, you have to paraphrase. In other words, you have to explain what you want to say. For example, if you forget the word "manufacturing", you can say "making a product" instead. Or instead of "statistics" you could say "using many big numbers to describe something".

Fay: That's very helpful, Jerry. Thanks so much. Ah, one more thing. Should I ask about the salary during the interview?

Jerry: No, either let them bring up the topic of money, or else wait for a second interview. If you prepare well, make a good first impression, have confidence, and use English naturally, you're almost certain to be interviewed again. Good luck!


What other pieces of advice can you add?


Now read the given information and find answers to the following questions:

1. What is a job interview?

2. What is the purpose of a job interview?

3. Is a job interview an objective or a subjective process?

4. What are the keys to success in a job interview?


The job interview is a strategic conversation with a purpose. Your goal is to persuade the employer that you have the skills, background, and ability to do the job and that you can comfortably fit into his/her organization. At the same interview, you s hould also be gathering information about the job, future career opportunities and the organization to determine if the position and work environment are right for you.

You can strongly influence the interview outcome if you realize that an interview is not an objective process in which the employer offers the job to the best candidate based on merit alone. But rather, an interview is a highly subjective encounter in whi ch the interviewer offers the job to the qualified person whom he/she likes best. Personality, confidence, enthusiasm, a positive outlook and excellent interpersonal and communication skills count heavily.

One key to success is to use every means at your disposal to develop effective interviewing skills: selective presentation of your background, thoughtful answers to interview questions, well researched questions about the organization, and an effective s trategy to market yourself. There is no magic to interviewing: it is a skill that can be learned and improved upon with practice.

A second key to success is careful research about the job and the organization, agency, or company with whom you are having the interview. Knowing about the job will help you prepare a list of your qualifications so that yo u can show, point by point, why you are the best candidate. Knowing about the employer will help you prepare an interview strategy and appropriate questions and points to emphasize.


The objective of the job interview is to prove that youre the best person for the job. So, how can you be the BEST, the person who gets the job?

Through PREPARATION: Finding out about the company, the job, and then thinking about and planning how you're going to answer those interview questions

Researching Employers

Why Research Information on Employers?

There are two basic reasons to research employers: 1) to aid you in your job search; and 2) to help prepare you for your interview.

One approach to finding a job is to use a hierarchical strategy:

1. Find industries that meet your needs.

2. Locate employers within your targeted industries.

3. Research information on executives.

Preparing for an interview is essential for success! Before meeting your potential employer it is essential to know what they do; how they do it; their financial state (if they are expanding or downsizing); expectations of potential employees in terms of skill, education, and previous experience; and what you can offer them.

Where Do You Find Information on Employers?

The following types of resources should prove useful in your research.

Annual Reports These reports and other materials are available from an organization's public relations/information office. Most large organizations produce a report, which presents an outline of the organization's successes, growth, history, goals, and financial status.

Directories These are geographic, business, occupational, professional, industry, and financial status directories available in your library. These directories may provide information about an organization's products or services, number of employees, principal executives, and location(s).

Trade Associations These organizations produce membership directories, journals (which provide information about trends and issues in the field), and information briefs. They also hold annual conferences for your networking, information gathering, and professional development purposes.

Newspapers The business section of most papers contain numerous articles about local companies and their executives. Articles about non-profit organizations often appear in a newspaper's local interest section.

Fellow Professionals Other professionals in the field can provide "word-of-mouth" information about organizations of interest.

Competitors Often an organization's competitors offer excellent insight about the inner working of that organization.

Public Documents Government and quasi-government organizations have records that must be made available to the public.

Computer Databases.

Career fares.

Interview Questions

There have been interviews as long as there have been jobs needing to be filled. This means that virtually any question you might be asked at an interview can be predicted and an answer prepared.

REMEMBER! Being prepared doesn't mean memorising an exact set of answers. A question only has to be asked in a slightly unexpected way, and you won't be able to answer the way you planned. What you need to do is think about all the questions you might be asked. Then you won't be taken by surprise and so won't seem less confident because you hesitate when you answer.


Most questions fall into two categories: factual and human.


Factual questions

Testing out the information written on your application form or trying to find out more information about areas that the interviewer is concerned about or wants to know more about.

These questions aim to:

check your educational background

get more information about your interests, hobbies and non-educational experience

find out what you were doing during 'time gaps', such as between school and university, or between jobs.


REMEMBER! Keep copies of all the paperwork you've sent in. It'll help you remember what you wrote, so that you can say the same thing in the interview. You can often tell what questions they might ask looking at what you wrote. In the same way, note what you said in any phone call.


Human questions

Trying to identify what type of person you are. Often the questions start 'why' (why did you decide to study those subjects?) or 'what' (what do you see yourself doing in five years' time?). They deal with matters of personal preference, attitude and opinion.

These questions:

explore your attitudes and opinions and your approach to work and to life

find out what your social and communication skills are like

ask why you did things or took decisions, where you see your career going, what you want out of life.

These question aim to find out you will fit in to the job and the workplace. So think about what job you're trying to get:

Will it require knowledge you haven't got yet? If so, be ready to explain your willingness and ability to learn or be trained.

Does it involve talking to people or working in groups? Then an interviewer may want to find out about your interpersonal skills.

These questions are asked in one of two ways open or closed.

Open questions(An open question is likely to receive a long answer and reveals opinions and feelings.)

Why do you think you'll like working here?

What experience have you had of this sort of work?

What sports do you play?

What was in the advert that you found interesting?

Why do you think you could do this job?

What qualities do you think you have to offer which will help you in this job?

What is your ultimate ambition? Where do you want to be in five years time?

What do you do in your spare time?

Have you read any particular book lately? (Be prepared to talk in some detail about this and explain why you enjoyed them, outline the story, and comment on the quality of the author.)

What newspapers do you read? (Be prepared to be questioned on some aspect of current affairs if you claim to read any newspaper regularly.)

What are the most satisfying aspects of your present job?

Is there anything that particularly frustrates you in your present job?

Can you tell us about any incident at work when you have felt particularly effective? Or ineffective?

Tell me something about your present bosses. What kind of people are they? (Be careful not to be tricked into making sweeping criticism or appearing to gripe about previous colleagues.)


Beware!Some open questions can sound like closed ones:

"'Would you tell me a little more about your last job?"

You don't just say YES or NO to this The interviewer is really asking you to tell him or her about your last job. They just asked a bad (closed) question.


Closed questions(A closed question can be answered with either a single word or a short phrase or simply with either 'yes' or 'no'. It gives facts.)

Do you think you'll like working here?

Have you done much work of this sort before?

Do you play any sports?

Did you apply for the job because the advert was interesting?

Do you believe you can do this job?



Good interviewers generally only use open questions. If you're faced with an interviewer who's not particularly good, you need to take control.


Task 1. Interview Questions

Answer the interview questions given in this section.

Think of five more questions you can be asked during the interview.

Job Interview


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