What to say at your job interview (all my BEST phrases and tips!)


Hi, everyone. I'm Jade. What we're talking about today is job interview English. So,

in this lesson, I'm going to give you some phrases that you can use in a job interview,

and I'll also be giving you... We'll also be looking at what grammar you should be using

to answer common job interview questions. So I'm going to break it down so you know

what to expect when you have that job interview in English, maybe for the first time, or maybe

you've already had a couple of interviews in English but you just want to improve your performance.

So let's start by talking about before the interview. So when you get there, there's

always, like, that bit of small talk. Maybe you find it awkward, maybe you're a pro at

small talk, but I thought I'd just give you some phrases so that you've got something

to say, at least. So, when you get there, it's polite to say something like:

"Thanks for inviting me to interview." If you feel like initiating small talk, you could say

something like: "Is the position based in this office?" or "building", wherever you

are. You might also want to say: "Oh, how many people work here?" Just sort of general

things, nothing personal going on there.

Or you might make an observation about what you see about the building or the workplace.

You could say: "The offices are impressive." Now, clearly, if the building isn't very nice,

and there isn't anything remarkable about it, then I probably wouldn't say something

like this. It's better to make no observation than say one that's not true, or one that

sounds a bit strange because the place is a real dump. You don't want to say it's great

in your phrase. But maybe the area's nice, so then you could say: "What a great location!"

This is an exclamation. You say it with some kind of enthusiasm. Or you might say, as you're

walking to the interview room: "Ah, I see you have an open plan office." That means

where everybody works together in the same room. Or you might say:

"I see you have a staff canteen."

That's where you get your food. Okay? So,

all suggestions for general small talk.

The interviewer may, however, initiate small talk with you, in which case, general things

they like to talk about in England... Our... Our favourite topics of small talk are the

weather, so you could say something like: "It's chilly today." That means it's a bit

cold. Or mild. "Mild" is... "Mild" is when the weather is better than you would expect

for that time of year. So if it's winter and it's mild, it's not as cold as you would expect

it to be. Yep. So we love to talk about the weather, you know that about British people.

Did you also know we like to talk about the traffic or the tube delays and things like

that? So, perhaps they'll say: "How was the traffic? How was your journey here?" You can

tell them about your journey. Say: -"Oh, it wasn't bad." -"How was your journey?" -"Not bad."

That means it was okay. Or you could say: "It didn't take me too long." It didn't

take me too long. Now, just a tip: You don't want to say: "It was a nightmare; it took

me hours", because they'll probably want to employ someone who can get to the job easily.

And maybe they'd also make conversation about where you've travelled from.

"Oh, where is it you live? Oh, I know that place. My cousin lives there", blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

They... They might also be interested to know where you're from, your country. So maybe

they'll do some small talk about where you're from as well, whatever that country is. When

we come back, we're going to look at specific job interview questions, and I'm going to

break it down for you, and give you phrases and grammar tips so that you know what to

say in different parts of your interview.

Let's have a look at some common interview questions, and I'll give you some phrases,

and we'll mention grammar, where necessary. So, a common interview question is when they

say: "Tell me about your experience." Here, they want you to summarize what you've been

doing. And I'm going to give you some tips for that, because if you just start summarizing

your experience, and you start with your first job ever, and then you go forward, sometimes,

this has happened before, the interviewer will say: "Okay, that's enough." So, stop.

So, you've just told them about all the stuff that happened ages ago, which isn't relevant

to the job, so you've really missed out on your opportunity to sell yourself, there.

So what you should do is you should mention your most relevant experience first, that's

usually your most recent job, and then go backwards. So, start with the most recent

job, and then go backwards. And what's also helpful to do is... Maybe you don't want to

talk about all your jobs. You could say something like:

"I want to tell you about my two most recent positions."

So when you say that at the beginning of your answer, the interviewer

knows: "Oh, how long do I have to listen for, and what am I to expect, here?" Because if

you just sometimes start talking, start talking, start talking, they, again, might cut short

your answer because they don't know how much you're going to talk about. And this is a

way to make sure that you say what you need to say.

You say what's going to make you look good.

Use this question to sell yourself. Tell them about what have you've done in your experience

or your education that fits the job, so don't talk about things that aren't relevant. Mention

your achievements as well, so that means: What successes did you actually have in those

jobs? Make sure that they know about it. You can mention figures, how much money, how many,

how big the teams were, things like that. So really try to paint a picture and tell

a story of what you did, because the interviewer's just not going to know unless you tell them

and make it easy for them.

Here... Here's a big gap, but under the gap, here's a phrase. You could say:

"I currently work as..." You could also use the continuous: "I'm currently working as..." blah, blah,

blah, your job. And you can go into talk about your job. If you're talking about a past job,

you could say: "From 2005 to 2009, I worked as a technician at"-blah, blah, blah-"place".

And then you can talk more about the job. Or, you could use a present perfect, if it's

a job that you're still in now. So you could say:

"I've been working as an engineer for company for three years. Let me tell you more about that job."

So moving on from summarizing your experience, another common interview question is where

they ask you to imagine a situation, situation that might happen in the job at... At the

place. You don't work there yet, but they just want to know what you would do in this

situation. So, let's say you want to apply for a job in a... In a store, in a retailer.

They might say: "Tell me about how you would deal with a customer complaint. Customer complaint.

What would you do in this situation?" So you need to imagine that situation, and the grammar

you need to use is "would", hypothetical "would". That shows that you're using your imagination.

So you could say... Keep moving. "First of all, I would apologize to the customer", and

then you can continue to tell us more about what you would do in the situation. "Would"

shows that you're talking about that hypothetical situation. It's not a real situation; it's

one that you're imagining in your head.

Or, maybe you want to talk about something from your personal experience. I also recommend

this. So you could say: "Let me tell you about... Let me tell you about a time when I successfully

dealt with a customer complaint. It happened because the customer bought... Bought a jumper,

and the jumper had a hole in it, and when she came back, she was... She was very angry

and emotional, because there was a hole in her jumper. So first of all, I apologized

to the customer, and I said: 'I'll do whatever I can. Let me see if we've got another jumper

in your size.' I went to find the jumper, and the customer was very, very happy. And

to my surprise, she wrote a thank you letter and sent it to the store after, because she

said I dealt with her in her distress very well." So things like that, you know? Showing

how you do a little bit extra in your job, and showing how amazing you are, basically,

when you tell stories. So when we come back, we're going to look at more common interview

questions. And again, I'll give you some phrases, and I'll give you the grammar that you need

to use to answer these questions.

Okay, next we're going to talk about that interview question that everybody knows about,

and it's always asked, but nobody really knows how to answer. Talking about your strengths

and your weaknesses, or maybe your strength and your weakness. That's something for perfectionists

to be aware of, because when I've worked for people before and doing interview practice

and I asked this question, the perfectionist will just start with, you know, one weakness.

"Oh, I'm not very good at," you know, this. But then they'll give, like, they'll just

keep going. They'll try to give two or three other weaknesses, when the point is: just

say one. Okay? Don't tell them more than you need to. And, yeah, somebody who's not a perfectionist,

who probably doesn't analyze themselves very deeply, is a person likely to give a better

answer to this question, because they don't really think that they're that bad at anything,

and this is a much better interview technique to have, because you really should be selling

yourself rather than saying what's bad about you.

So anyway, the secret of answering this question is to mention a "learning". And some of you

might not like this word, because it's not yet a real word in English, but people are

using it. And what I mean by it is: When you're telling your answer about what you're good

at and what you're not so good at, make sure that you involve an example of what you've

learnt. If you're going to say that something's bad about yourself, make sure that you convey

that you've changed that already, or you've learnt from the... From your past mistakes,

and that makes it a good answer.

You can't just learn an answer to this question, because it really depends on the job that

you're applying for. So let's imagine that you are applying for a job, something to do

with events. Okay? Because when you work in events, there's a lot of planning involved,

okay, but there's also a lot of unpredictable things that happen. So, this could be a good

answer for that kind of job: "I make a lot of plans and lists." Planning.

"But often, the plan goes out the window, and I think on my feet."

If something goes out the window,

that's an idiom for you don't... You don't follow the plan anymore. You forget about

the plan. And when you think on your feet, you're improvising; you're doing something

without... Without having prepared for it. So that's a good answer for that kind of job,

but it wouldn't be appropriate for a lot of other jobs. Yep.

What about...? What about this one, then:

"I used to check and double check the work of my staff obsessively.

As I climbed the career ladder, I've had to learn to trust others to do their jobs."

So, this could be an answer for a manger or someone like that,

someone who has a real eye for detail and really, really cares about things being done

well. But someone who also knows that there's just not enough hours in the day to do everything,

so I need to also trust my staff to do their things. That's potentially a good answer for

you, if you're in a similar situation.

Yeah, so just remember that although you need to reveal something that's not so good about

yourself, in this case, maybe it's not good that you don't follow your lists, but it is

good because in a job like planning events, you can't always follow the plan, because

life's not like that. You'll be given unexpected situations sometimes. And also, if you're...

If you're a manager, perhaps that's a good thing that you've overcome being obsessive,

but were you obsessive about the right things? Well, you were making sure that the job was

done well, so maybe that's a good thing, too.

Moving on. You'll often get asked in the interview: "So, why do you want to work for us?" When

you get this question, it's a really good idea to not just talk about the company. You're

drawn to that brand or that company, like for example:

"Oh, I really want to work at Google or Microsoft, because..."

Say more than just about the company, where you show

what you know about the company. You should talk about the actual position, the job that

you'd be doing. You need to show that as well as being interested in the company, you would

actually like to do that job. So here are some phrases you could use:

"I see myself as...", "I want to work here because I see myself as an events manager in the bar industry,

and I really like your bar concept", for example. Or you could say:

"It's my ambition to be a manager in a corporation like this, a global corporation like this one."

Or you could say:

"I've always been really interested in marketing, and what I know about your company, I'm really

interested in the new approaches you have for marketing." So you could use any of these

phrases and make it your own.

What I also want to talk about now is when I'm doing interview training with people,

sometimes their language is revealing doubt, self-doubt in their answers, and they're not

even aware. It's not about them being able to speak English correctly, but they're just

speaking in a hesitant way, which I don't think is good for a job interview answer.

So let me show you what I mean. If you're... If you're answering the question:

"Why do you want to work for us?" A good, strong, active response is:

"I want to work here because..."

When you say "want" you're certain, and it has... Yeah, it just has a degree of forcefulness

to it. If you say: "I would like... I would like to work here because..." that's a bit

soft. It's not so... It's not so... It's not somebody who... Yeah, okay, it's polite English,

but it's not so... It's not so confident. And I think that's what job interviews are

about, most of the time: showing how confident and how great we are.

A similar example: Why...? Oh, it's not really related to the question. When talking about

yourself, you could say:

"I'm good at marketing, because I'm really good with people, and I can manage to persuade them to join my ideas."

But if you say: "I feel I'm good at marketing, because",

blah, blah, blah, same answer, the extra verb can give it a little... I'll cross

it out. Can give it a feeling of... Of less certainty, there. So the extra verb's not

helpful. You feel that you're good at that, but maybe other people don't agree, so it's

better not to say it at all.

And what about this: -"Why do you want to work for us?" -"I always wanted to be a software

engineer, because", blah, blah, blah, blah, is much better than... Oh, this is the wrong

example. Always try... Okay, let me give you a different example. You're talking about

your job. If you say: "When I'm at work, I always try to do my best." You try to. Sometimes

you fail. Sometimes you're not very good. You try to do your best, but we're all human;

we make mistakes sometimes, so "try to" is not good. In fact, using "try" anywhere in

the interview-I'm going to make a big claim here-is just not a good word for interviews.

"Try to". So, if you're going to say something about yourself, make it a bold, bold statement:

"When I'm at work, I always do my best." You're strong and you're confident now. So, in the

last part of the lesson, we're just going to look at the... The final part that always

comes up in job interviews.

Okay, so number five, you get this at the end of your job interview. You need to ask

a question about the job or the company, so you should prepare this before. Some personality

types are people who always have lots of questions: "I want to know this, I want to know this,

I want to know this, I want to know this", all in detail. And then other personality

types, more like me, just kind of prefer to find out when it happens, maybe with a job

it's a little bit more important, sometimes you want to know the salary or whatever. But

just, generally, maybe I don't always have questions; I'll find out when it happens.

But it is true that people expect you to have a question. The interviewer will expect you

to have a question, and they tend to think that if you don't ask a question, that you're

not really that interested in it, which, you know, is probably not true. You did go there

for the interview. So, I really strongly suggest that you prepare something to say, so that

when you get to that part of the interview, you have a question.

So, you could say: "Does the salary come with any perks or bonuses?" These are, you know,

extra things not to do with the job. "Perks" could be something like a gym membership,

something like that. A "bonus" could be if you reach certain targets when you're doing

your job, you'll be awarded financially if you do well. So this, asking this kind of

question shows that you care about the money: "Tell me. Tell me about the money." That's

not a bad thing. If you go to the interview and don't say anything about the money, and

they don't tell you how much it is, maybe you seem a little bit desperate, and you'll

take any job. So it's not good to be desperate, either.

Here's another question: "What's the working culture of the company like?" Perhaps you're

interested to know: Do people socialize together? What's the...? What's the mood of the company?

And this... This is a good question to ask if you haven't managed to get a sense of that

yet, because, you know, it's supposed to be-isn't always like this-but an interview is a two-way

process, because remember you are deciding whether you want to work there, too. Maybe

not so much sometimes now, but that's the way it used to be, and that's the way it could

be sometimes. So, yeah. You could ask that kind of question.

Or how about this? I think this kind of question is quite clever, because the question isn't

about the actual job or how it's going to be, or blah, blah, blah. This kind of question

could potentially start an interesting conversation for you, if you're actually interested in

the industry, or the company, or the area. And you might be the only kind... The only

person asking this kind of question out of all the... All the people they interview.

So you could say: "Hmm. Yes, thanks for inviting me to interview, but how do you see social

media developing in the next five years?" Stroking your beard. Because, you know, this

shows that maybe you're just interested more generally in the field, or the area, or the

industry that you are hoping to work in in the future.

So, what you can do now is apply all this knowledge on the engVid website by doing the quiz.

I'd also like you to subscribe to me here on this channel. Also, my private channel,

my personal channel... Private channel? Personal channel. I've got two... Two, not four. I've

got two channels, so I'd really appreciate you to subscribe to me. And I'm finished now,

so good luck in your interviews. And when you do get that job, come back here and leave

little comments to say how much these little phrases and top tips for you have helped you.

And come and see me again. Okay, bye-bye. Bye!