TAGS: Bay AreaCaliforniaEnglishEnglish as a foreign languageenglish as a second languageESLESL EnglishESL Interviewesl tipsIICIIC ESLIIC San FranciscoIIC StudentsIntercultural Institute of CaliforniainterviewInterview in Englishinterview tipslearn englishSan Francisco

1) Practice

Ask a friend or teacher (it is better to ask a native English speaker) to practice your interview with you. Practice saying everything you would say in the interview. Talk about your work history, experience, and skills, so that if there is any vocabulary you are not sure of, you have time to get prepared.


2) Study

Pretend you are the interviewer: what questions would you ask? Make sure you research the company before your interview. Know their mission, who their CEO is, what position your interviewer holds, what their recent developments are, etc. During the interview, try and mention some of these facts so that the interviewer knows you have researched their company.


3) Listen

Take notes during the interview so that you don’t forget to answer all parts of the questions.


4) Have opening phrases ready

It is a good idea to have some lines prepared before your interview: a greeting, a few transitions, etc. Some examples are: “Thank you very much for the opportunity to speak with you”, “It is a pleasure to speak with you”, “Thank you so much for taking the time to meet with me”…

Click here for more helpful phrases


5) The interviewer may not know about your university or the education system in your country

Tell the interviewer about the ranking of your university in your home country, particularly if it ranks high!


6) Learn the words associated to the field

If you are interviewing for a job in finance, for example, be sure to familiarize yourself with important words related to finance, banking, business, economics, etc.


7) If you don’t understand, say so

It is better to ask the interviewer to repeat the question or explain it in another way than to answer inappropriately. You can ask: “Could you please clarify your question?” Or “Could you please re-phrase the question?”


8) Don’t apologize for your accent

If the interviewer has trouble understanding you because of your accent, just try again. The fact that you are applying for a job in a native English setting is amazing. Do not say sorry. Maybe try using different words.


9) Sell the fact that you are international!

Because your background is so different than that of an American, you can be very appealing to an employer. Be sure to talk about your professional experiences from back home and how you will be a great fit for the job. Many companies look for diversity of thought, languages, and experience, and that is just what you have!


10) Follow up with the employer after the interview

So the hardest part is over. However, you are not done yet. After going home, send an email to the interviewer, thanking them for the opportunity to meet with them and reminding them again why you are such a great fit for the job—keep it short though! The thank you email helps them remember who you are and makes you stand out from the rest of the interviewees.



  • interviewer: the person in charge of the interview; the person asking the questions
  • interviewee: the person applying for the job; the person answering the questions
  • mission: what the company hopes to gain; what they believe in; where they hope to be
  • CEO: the boss
  • developments: activity, progress, work they have done
  • phrase: sentence
  • keyword: important words
  • associated: related to, have to do with, to be about
  • clarification: to make less confusing, to make clear/understandable
  • apologetic: to be sorry
  • employer: the company
  • employee: the person who works for a company


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