Getting Through A Job Interview In A Foreign Country

For many people, going through an interview is one of the hardest stages in the process of getting a job. An interview is, of course, even harder when conducted in a foreign country and perhaps also a foreign language. The good news is though, that being invited to an interview means that your job application, or CV, must have made a good impression on the prospective employer. Now you really need to prepare yourself for the interview to maximise your chances of getting a job offer. The interview procedure varies from one country to another and from job to job. But there are some universal rules that you need to be aware of going to an interview in a foreign country:


This is probably the most crucial point. You need to familiarize yourself with the norms of etiquette valid in your chosen country in order to avoid committing a cultural faux pas during the interview stage. Pay particular attention to gender differences, wprking culture, and what behaviours are perceived as inappropriate in both men and women.


A friend of mine, whose job is to interview candidates on behalf of various companies told me, that in her work experience she came across individuals who didn’t have anything to say to the question ‘What do you know about our company?’ or’ Why do you want to work for us?’ These are standard questions, and there is no excuse or explanation for a lack of answers. Research your perspective employer online, or in the local press and even industry magazines.


Sometimes people try to hard to impress, and they fail. Recently, my friend, who is a fashion designer, was invited to an interview by a prestigious fashion agency. She arrived dressed in a big purple coat with a fur white collar, and lots of make-up on. She undoubtedly made a striking impression, but not in the way the perspective wanted.. It is always better to play safe with your appearance, regardless of a job type. Having the most impressive job history or a rich background will not guarantee you’ll get the job you applied for. These aspects often account for only half of any successful employment, the other half is often down to the first impression you’ll make. And you will never get a second chance to make that first impression.


Even if you are told that an interview will have an informal character, prepare yourself like you would do going to a formal meeting. Once, I was invited to have, as I was told, an informal chat, before any official assessment would take place. In fact, and to my horror, I ended up being cross-examined by three individuals in very intimidating settings. Needless to say, I didn’t have much to say, and consequently never got the job.


One of the problems with being interviewed in a foreign language is the language itself. Don’t forget that, although you will have to demonstrate your competency in the language,   an interviewer also will try to find out who you are, and if you can really do what you claimed in your application. So just be yourself, speak clearly, and give the right answers that are right for you. I know of a guy who arrived in the UK speaking quite poor English. But with his self-belief, confidence, and ability to prove that he knew the job, he was offered a fantastic post right away, purely down to his enthusiasm and genuine personality.

Interviews are tough for most of us, and even native speakers struggle to pass through the stage. But with a sound preparation and a positive attitude you may well get your job! After all, the fact that you are someone brave enough to try life in a new country speaks volume in itself. Good luck!

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