Want to ace your job interview in English? Let us help!
So…, the long awaited time is here!
You finally got a call to attend a job interview!
But wait! The interview will be conducted in English!
Indeed, in this ever increasingly globalised world, more and more companies are encouraging their employees to have at least some English fluency. Not to mention that there are also many start-ups and international companies which conduct their day to day work completely in English!
It’s no wonder that nowadays many companies decide to do their interviews in English. They want to assess your English ability and make sure you have what it takes to communicate with confidence and fluency!
If you’re looking for ways to impress your interviewer, you’ve come to the right place! Today, we will give you the tips and tricks you need to ace your job interview starting with tip number one….
1. First impressions matter!
This is a no brainer, yet, some people seem to still ignore this!
Before you even speak, you are already being assessed in some ways.
So, make sure you come on time, you wear appropriate attire, and you are well groomed.
Here’s the thing: some hiring managers might decide to reject you solely based on a poor first impression, such as showing up late or wearing something too casual. For example, if you’re applying to a bank or other formal companies, always wear formal clothes!
Be courteous to everyone, including security or receptionist who might be your first contact when you arrive at the building. Sometimes, the hiring manager might ask them for their impression when they first met you.
2. Greet the interviewer
If you’re doing an in-person interview, chances are you will have to wait a bit in a waiting room, then you will be escorted to an interview room. Even though the interviewer knows who you are (surely they call you because they have looked at your resume!) It is recommended to introduce yourself again. Aside from being polite and courteous, the interviewer might also have to interview several other people, so it’s a good idea to remind them who you are.
You can simply say
I am Jane Smith. It’s a pleasure to meet you.
If you’re doing an online interview using video conferencing apps such as zoom or google meet, it’s a good idea to be ready slightly early so you can make sure that everything is working in order. Arriving late will surely spoil your interviewer’s impression of you!
A well-known business guru once said “10 minutes early is on time, being on time is late!”
Sit in a well-lit area and look straight at the camera, that way you can mimic eye contact like when you are doing a face to face interview. Usually, the interviewer will introduce him or herself first. Afterward, you can introduce yourself by saying
I am Jane Smith. Thank you for taking the time to speak with me today.
- It’s a pleasure to meet you (senang bertemu dengan Anda)
- Thank you for taking the time to speak with me today (terima kasih telah meluangkan waktu Anda untuk berbicara dengan saya hari ini)
3. Prepare yourself for some opening questions
Most often, the interviewer will open the interview by asking
So, tell me about yourself
Many applicants seem to hate this question. It might sound vague so applicants aren’t sure how exactly to answer this question.
Remember, this is NOT an invitation to talk about your entire life story. Keep it relevant and concise. Give an overview of why you would be the best fit for the role. You can do so by discussing which of your interests are related to the position and why your background makes you a great candidate.
This is NOT to say that you should recite your resume, as many applicants tend to do. If you recite your resume, it can lead into a lengthy monologue, and you might also speak about irrelevant experiences, and your interviewer might lose interest.
To answer this question, you can start by saying who you are:
I am an English literature graduate with 3 years experience of working as a content writer in x company, during which I was responsible for doing various aspects of marketing.
See? Clear and concise!
Then, you should highlight your expertise:
During my time in x company, I was primarily responsible in developing creative concept briefs, researching digital marketing and social media trends, and producing written contents including blog articles, ad copies, sales page, and email marketing campaigns. I integrate SEO to drive website visibility and increase leads. The company saw a 128% increase in social media followers and 42% increase in sales during my time there.
This answer emphasises your experience and gives proof of performance. It’s always a good idea to highlight your achievements in numbers.
Finally, tell them why you’re here
Although I love my current job, I believe I am now ready for a more challenging role, and I think this position is a great opportunity for me to develop my skills.
Clear and positive!
- Fresh Graduate: baru lulus kuliah
- Experience: pengalaman
- Responsible for: bertanggung jawab atas
- Various aspects: berbagai aspek
- Primary responsibility: tugas utama
- The company saw 12% increase in profits: keuntungan perusahaan meningkat sebesar 12%
- I am interested in a more challenging role: saya tertarik dengan posisi yang lebih menantang
- Develop my skills: meningkatkan keterampilan saya
- Bachelor’s degree: S1/sarjana
- Master’s degree: S2/magister
- Doctoral degree: S3/doktor
- Associate degree: D1/D2/D3
4. Prepare for follow-up questions!
The interviewer is very likely to ask some follow-up questions based on your previous answers. For example, based on the answers above, some follow-up questions you might get include:
- What do you do to research target audience?
- How do you decide on what topic/subject to write about?
- How do you decide the tone of your writing?
- How do you integrate SEO into your content?
- What content management systems are you familiar with?
Prepare the answers to possible follow-up questions so you can answer these questions with ease during your interview.
5. Prepare for common interview questions
There are many common interview questions that you are likely to encounter, such as:
5.1 What are your strengths and weaknesses?
It might sound easy to talk about strengths – you’ve probably already read hundreds of sample answers for that, or perhaps you’ve crafted your own. Just be careful to not be super cliche, tailor your answer to the position you’re applying for, and support it with relevant example(s). For example, you can say:
I work well with others. I’ve always loved working in a team and I would say that it’s one of my strongest attributes. In my former position as a marketing research analyst, I was responsible for overseeing a project that encompassed a wide range of stakeholders. Through this project I learned about my ability to inspire others in stressful situations. Our recommendations helped the customer develop a product that was both environmentally friendly and cost-effective.
A template you can follow to answer this question is
I am …. . In my current/previous role I was responsible for …. Which required me to… so that has taught me a lot about…
Example of strengths and important vocabulary
- Detail-oriented: teliti
- Collaborative / work well with others / ability to work in a team: bisa bekerja dengan tim
- Leadership: berjiwa pemimpin
- Positive / can do attitude: punya outlook positif/optimis
- Adaptability: mudah beradaptasi
- Creativity: kreatif
- Proficient in x software: paham dan lancar dalam penggunaan software x
- Critical thinking: mampu berpikir kritis
- Self-management: mampu me-manage diri, bisa jadi selalu memanage diri untuk tepat waktu, terorganisir, bisa memprioritaskan tugas mana yang paling penting dan harus didahulukan, dan lain-lain.
- In my current role: di posisi saya sekarang
- In my previous role: di posisi terakhir saya
- I was responsible for… which required me to…: Saya bertanggung jawab atas… sehingga saya harus…
- That has taught me a lot about: hal itu telah banyak mengajarkan saya tentang…
Talking about your weakness tends to be trickier – some people go the I-don’t-have-any-weakness route, they may say something along the lines of “I can be a perfectionist” or “I can be an overachiever”. This is an absolute no no! Rather than showing that you’re a perfect person, it just shows that you lack awareness and critical thinking skills to assess your weaknesses.
The best approach to answer this question is to acknowledge your genuine weakness and how you have worked to resolve them and let your interviewer know that this weakness won’t interfere with your capability to do the job.
For example, you can say:
When faced with a challenge, I tend to believe that I can handle it all on my own. This led me to have difficulties delegating tasks to other team members. However, when I was promoted to manager in my most recent position, it became crucial that I learn how to delegate responsibilities. As a way to keep tabs with projects’ progress, I implemented a project management system. This system helped me enhance my ability to delegate tasks efficiently.
This response demonstrates your capacity to seek a new skill when a position demands it and implies you’re capable of flexibility, which is essential for long-term development. Your answer also implies that you show initiative and leadership by mentioning the successful implementation of a new system that helped you to excel in your previous position despite your weakness.
Example of weaknesses and important vocabulary
- Public speaking: berbicara di depan umum
- Inability to delegate / lack of delegation skills: kurang bisa membagi tugas
- Indecisive: kurang pendirian
- Not assertive: terlalu sungkan (misalnya dalam memberikan kritik atau feedback ke kolega)
- Disorganised: kurang terorganisir (misalnya tidak bisa memprioritaskan tugas mana yang paling penting dan harus didahulukan)
- Struggle to ask for help: sulit untuk meminta arahan/bantuan
- Lack of tactfulness / blunt: terlalu jujur dalam berkomunikasi sehingga terkadang kamu jadi terdengar tidak sensitif atau tidak sopan
- Inexperienced in x software: kurang familiar dengan software x
- Procrastination: suka menunda-nunda
- When faced with a challenge: ketika dihadapkan dengan suatu tantangan
- Crucial: penting
- Implemented: mengaplikasikan
- Helped me enhance my ability: membantu saya meningkatkan kemampuan saya
- I tend to think / I tend to believe: saya cenderung berpikir / saya cenderung percaya
5.2 Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
When an interviewer asks you this question, they are trying to assess whether you’ve done some self-assessment and career planning. Essentially, they are asking “is this position even remotely close to your long-term career goals? Are you just applying for this job because you need something? Have you considered your long-term professional goals? Are your long-term career goals compatible with what we see for this role?” They want to know your commitment to the company and the industry.
Obviously, it is not a good idea to answer with “I don’t know”.
The best way to approach this question is to let the interviewer know that you would like to have moved up the ladder at this company and perhaps move up to a managerial position. You should also mention that your goal is to grow and develop along with the company.
It is NOT a good idea to imply that you’re only applying for this job as a stepping stone. The interviewer is unlikely to let you pass through the next hiring process if they sense that you are not committed to the role.
You can say something like
I want to be the best at what I do and I want to work in a company where I can grow my skills and knowledge. Over the next five years, I would like to take on challenging projects and work with people I can learn from. I have done some research of this company and noticed that some of the most innovative thinkers in this industry work here so I would love to build my career here and learn from the best. At some point, I’d also like to be considered for a supervisory or managerial level position
This is a great answer because it shows ambition and commitment to learning and professional development. In addition, the answer also compliments the company and its reputation for hiring quality employees. The phrase “build my career here” indicates that the applicant intends to work in the company long term.
- I want to work in a company where I can grow my skills and knowledge: saya ingin bekerja di perusahaan di mana saya bisa mengembangkan pengetahuan dan keterampilan saya
- Over the next five years: dalam jangka 5 tahun ke depan
- I would like to take on challenging projects: saya ingin berpartisipasi dalam projek menantang
- I would love to build my career here: saya akan senang sekali untuk membangun karir saya di sini
- I want to continue to deepen my x skills: saya ingin terus menambah keterampilan saya di bidang x
- At some point, I’d like to be considered for a supervisory or managerial level position: suatu saat, saya ingin dipertimbangkan untuk posisi supervisor atau manager
5.3 Why are you leaving your current job?
The interviewer wants to know your motivation to leave your current job. Are you an opportunist looking for more money? Are you looking for a career change that is different from your last job? Are you looking to find a job that can turn into a career, or is this just a stepping stone?
The best approach is to discuss the positives that you get from your current/most recent job and explain why you think the current position offered would be a great fit for you.
Again, stay positive! Don’t dwell on the negative. If you don’t like your current boss, don’t badmouth him or her, just say that you did not see eye to eye or have different work philosophies. If you think your current job is boring, say you are ready to tackle a more challenging role.
We do understand that this can be an especially difficult question, especially if you have been fired, laid off, or you have resigned. But don’t worry, you can use these answers below and modify it to suit your situation.
If you were fired
Unfortunately, my expertise was not a suitable fit for my prior employer’s needs. They believed they needed someone with my skill set when they recruited me. However, after being hired, we discovered they need someone with experience in that particular industry. I just lacked the qualifications they required for the position. We felt it was better to split ways after a year.
This is a great answer because it emphasises that the applicant left the job more because of a mutual agreement rather than getting fired for unsatisfactory work performance. It also shows maturity as the applicant acknowledged that their expertise was not a great match for their last role.
If you were laid off
Unfortunately, I was impacted by the corporate reorganisation that occurred following Company A’s acquisition by Company B. The new management chose to move all technical support personnel to the new company headquarters in Semarang, Central Java. Those who refused to relocate were laid off. I evaluated my options and chose to seek a local opportunity that would allow me to use my 10 years of expertise as a team leader and XYZ technology specialist.
People get laid off for a variety of reasons – economic recession, downsizing, losing a key client or contract, restructuring, acquiring or merging with another company, and so on and so forth. Hiring managers are aware that none of these reasons have anything to do with your abilities or worth as a professional. If they’ve had to let go of important team members in the past, they may even be empathetic.
Make sure to address why you were laid off very clearly. Make a point of highlighting your achievements and contributions to the company.
If you resigned
I had a wonderful time working for Company X. I gained a great deal of knowledge particularly in accounting and process improvement. I loved working with my coworkers and bosses, I had learned a lot from them over the past 5 years. However, I resigned from my previous position because I want to improve accounting processes from within the company rather than as a consultant. Unfortunately, the opportunity just didn’t exist in company X. I was also aware that the company was approaching its busiest season of the year. It wouldn’t be fair for me to make myself accessible just to leave as soon as I secured another job. As a result, I decided to leave before it happened.
This is a great answer because it clearly addresses why the applicant left their job and shows their long-term goal. The answer also implies that the applicant showed consideration towards their last company by leaving before the busy season approaches so the company can perhaps find a replacement or adjust the amount of clients.
- Expertise: keahlian
- Not suitable: tidak sesuai
- Laid off: PHK / Pemutusan Hubungan Kerja
- Gained a great deal of knowledge: banyak belajar / banyak mendapat ilmu
- Required: dibutuhkan
- I evaluated my options: saya menimbangkan pilihan saya
- Previous role / position: posisi / pekerjaan sebelumnya
- Headquarter: kantor pusat
- Branch office: kantor cabang
5.4 Why should we hire you over other candidates?
I am a creative problem solver looking to join a team that creates exceptional branding campaigns. I’ve worked on various marketing campaigns as part of class projects and during a prior internship, so I’m aware of the challenges I’ll experience in this position and know how to deal with them. I bring three qualities to the table that most candidates do not: My problem-solving skills, which I’ve utilised to increase campaign performance, extensive understanding of social media strategy, and familiarity with email marketing. With my combined knowledge and passion for this industry, I am confident that I would be an excellent fit for this position.
This is a great answer because it highlights expertise and directly addresses how the applicant is better over other candidates. Demonstrating that you know the company’s needs and showing that you are well-equipped to handle them will definitely go a long way to get you ahead of the competition!
- Exceptional: luar biasa
- Internship: magang
- Extensive understanding: pengetahuan mendalam
- I bring three qualities to the table that most candidates do not: saya memiliki tiga keahlian yang jarang dimiliki pelamar lain
- With my combined knowledge and passion: dengan gabungan pengetahuan dan semangat saya
5.5 What is your salary expectation?
Before answering this question, there are some things that you must research and consider:
- Research the salary for the role you are applying for
To give you an understanding about how much you can expect to make, it is a good idea to research the typical salary of the role you are applying for. Of course, factor in your unique status (e.g., are you a fresh graduate? Have 1-2 years experience? Have 5+ years of experience?). Also, don’t forget to factor in where you live as different cities have different minimum wage / UMR (Upah Minimum Regional) and have different living costs. You can also compare it with your last salary if you have worked or are working in the same position.
- Choose a salary range
Typically it is a good idea to give a salary range instead of an exact number. However, you also shouldn’t make your salary range very wide. For example, if you are looking to make IDR 7.5 million, a good range to offer would be between 7 to 8 million IDR.
- Research and ask other form of benefits
Many companies offer benefits outside of salary, such as employee discounts and private health insurance which sometimes also include health insurance for your spouse and children, paid vacation, and equity in the company. Do factor in these benefits. Not having to worry about paying medical fees out of pocket is definitely a plus and paid vacation or time off means you will get a better work-life balance.
- Avoid answering this question when your role and job description have not been clearly explained
Some interviewers ask this question early in the hiring process before you have the chance to fully understand the scope of your job description. While eventually you would have to talk about your salary expectation, you can deflect answering this question until you are ready by using the following answer
Before I can provide an answer, I would like to be better acquainted with the role and the scope of my responsibilities so I can provide you with a better estimate of my desired salary
Alright, as usual, we will give you a sample answer that you can modify to suit your needs and situation, You can answer the question above with
While I’d like to get more familiar with the responsibilities this position entails– which is what I hope to do during the interview – I am aware that similar positions to the one I’m looking for pay between IDR 8.5-10 million. Given my experience, knowledge, and expertise, I would expect to receive a salary within that range.
- Salary range: rentang gaji
- Paid time off / paid vacation: cuti dibayar
- I would like to be better acquainted with the role and scope of my responsibilities: saya ingin lebih tahu lebih dalam mengenai tugas dan tanggung jawab saya di pekerjaan ini
- Desired salary: gaji yang diinginkan
- Employee discount: diskon kursus karyawan
- Equity in the company: ekuitas di perusahaan
- Prepare to wrap up the interview
Last but certainly not least, it is also important to finish your interview with a bang!
There are several ways you can finish an interview and it’s a good idea to mix these:
- Thanking the interviewer for their time
Thank you for your time, it was a pleasure speaking with you. I am looking forward to hearing from you. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact me should you need any additional information or have any concerns.
- Reiterating why you are the best candidate for the job
I am qualified for the role of human resources assistant because of my timeliness and problem – solving skills. As an intern at a media outlet, I was in charge of making presentations for executives and planning meetings with prominent public figures. During my time there, I helped the department task completion by 15%, and I believe I can do the same at this organisation.
- Reiterating your passion for the job
I am really keen to work in this organisation. I have always wanted to work in a non-profit organisation and I have my eyes on this particular organisation due to its focus on environmental preservation while also giving underprivileged women the opportunity to work and gain living wages, all while sustaining the traditional craftsmanship to dye clothes. I hope I can grow with this organisation.
- Ask questions – this show initiative and interest
May I ask when I can hear back about the next hiring process?
What types of professional development opportunities do the company offer?
Can you share more about the typical day-to-day responsibilities of this role?
How does this company conduct performance reviews and at what intervals?
Is on the job training provided for this position?
- If you are feeling bold, ask the job directly
Is there anything preventing you from giving me an offer today?
However, do use caution with the last one. We don’t advise on that unless you are sure the interview went exceptionally well and you have experiences and qualifications to back your candidacy.
- It was a pleasure speaking with you: senang berbicara dengan Anda
- I am looking forward to hearing from you: saya menantikan kabar dari Anda
- Please do not hesitate to contact me: jangan ragu menghubungi saya
- I am in charge: saya bertugas
- Performance review: ulasan kinerja
- Professional development:
Phew! This was a long one! Congratulations on making it this far and we wish you the best of luck for your job interview! :)
If you still feel underprepared, don’t worry, we are here to help! We offer adults courses as well as business English courses. So, give us a call and schedule a free consultation to see how we can help you!
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