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English for job interviews – for candidates

Preparing for a job interview in English is not as difficult as you might think.

But there is a mix-up of language and content – you need to work on your English as well as on “good” answers.

What are “good” answers? I think HR people might say that being authentic is the most important thing today.

Here are my tips for you.

You need the past tense to talk about all past jobs:

In my last job I successfully WORKED in cross-functional, international teams.

I WORKED at Bayer for 20 years. Then I LEFT to work as an HR manager at Merck.

I GOT my university entrance qualifications in 2000, but before I STUDIED, I TOOK a year off and TRAVELED the US.

Point out what you learnt from this or what skills this proves:

Because of this I am now fluent in English.

It was a great opportunity to develop my people skills.

During that time, I was able to develop my leadership skills.

When you talk about your current position, the grammar not the past tense. Watch out!

I HAVE BEEN WORKING in HR for 20 years (still true now)

I HAVE never WORKED with a large team. (still true now)

I HAVE BEEN WORKING at Bayer for 10 years (still working there now)

I HAVE not HANDED in my notice yet. (means I still have to observe the full notice period)

I HAVE already HANDED in my notice, so I can start on 1 December.

Use enthusiastic language (I know it feels strange to some Germans):

The project was a HUGE success.

My method worked AMAZINGLY well and we had a GREAT result.

I ABSOLUTELY LOVE working with people.


Last but not least: Do you know which parts of a “traditional” German CV are not needed in an international/Anglo-Saxon one?

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