With the number of multinational companies opening in Japan, it is increasingly common for certain roles to have multilingual requirements. Companies see employees with the ability to speak multiple languages as an asset to their teams and business.
If you are multilingual it can be a major draw on your resume and job application. It also means you could find yourself in a situation where you need to prepare for an English job interview due to a number of reasons: your role may require a large amount of English-speaking work or travel, you may work with English-speaking suppliers or subordinates, or the company itself uses English as its official language if Japan is not its headquarters.
Job interviews can be stressful at the best of times, but conducting an interview in a language that isn’t your first, can be intimidating and overwhelming.
Here’s how to prepare for an English job interview:
1. Keep your audience in mind
If the hiring manager is Japanese or based in Japan, adhere to regular Japanese customs and job interview etiquette. If you are interviewing with a hiring manager from an English-speaking country such as America or Australia, you may find that their style of job interview is structured differently to those in Japan based on cultural differences and ways of doing business. You may consider adjusting your style based on this.
2. Start your preparation as early as possible
Remove the pressure you feel when you prepare for an English job interview by practicing a lot, practicing frequently, and practicing as soon as you know the interview is coming up. Ideally, you already have the opportunity to use English, but if you don’t, don’t fret. You can be interview-ready and comfortable by setting a plan and following through on it.
3. Do your research in English
Equipping yourself with knowledge of the company, mission and goals, latest news, and the role you are applying for in English will help you to converse in the job interview in English. It will help you familiarize yourself with key phrases and terms that are relevant for the job and allow you to feel a greater level of comfort and confidence when using them in the interview. If there are English versions of your potential company’s website and job description, use those as your reference, otherwise translate them as part of your preparation for your interview. Research common interview questions in English.
4. Practice, practice, practice
The best way to prepare for an English job interview is to do the interview over and over again. Whilst you might only get one shot on the day, you can ensure that it’s the best version of the interview you can give by practicing with mock interviews, role-playing common interview questions in English, conversing with English-speaking friends or colleagues and getting their feedback, or recording yourself and listening back in order to know which areas you need to improve.
5. Remember that it’s not just about the language you speak
Whilst it is important to demonstrate the level of fluency required for the role, you should consider you body language when you prepare for an English job interview. You may feel nervous about the interview or question your English-speaking abilities, but walking into the job interview with confidence and a strong, solid stance will help you to make a good first impression. If you need to ask the interviewer to repeat what they say or to reword a question, or you need to take a second to think about how you will respond to them, it is ok. Ensuring your answers and conversation is clear and easy to understand is important. Take your time, but don’t underestimate how you hold yourself through these situations will impact how you are perceived.
Ensure you set yourself up for success when you prepare for an English job interview by considering the above points. You will likely feel more relaxed and confident in doing so.