Top 5 mistakes when looking for a job in a foreign language

An interview in a foreign language is another challenge for the applicant. After all, at such an interview, it is necessary to show not only your working skills, but also your knowledge of the language.

Many recruiters tolerate small mistakes if the job is not directly related to communicating with native speakers or writing texts. But there are also some mistakes that “do not forgive”.

But forewarned is forearmed: read and restrain.

Mistake 1. Talking to the clerk

Let’s just say that for some professions, knowledge of a foreign language is mandatory. For example, this is necessary for lawyers or financiers who work with documents in a foreign language.

But here the thing is that no one speaks as a clerk in colloquial speech. Each furious phrase has its own simple and understandable analogue .

For example:

I look forward to working in your company. – I look forward to working for your company.

This phrase can be said much easier. Moreover, there is more than one option:

I’d like to work in your company. – I would like to work in your company.

Can’t wait to start working in your company. – Can’t wait to start working in your company.

The use of clericalisms in colloquial speech will mean that the applicant does not speak the language well enough. He may be a genius at drafting contracts, but the recruiter will evaluate the spoken language.

Keep it simple. For example, foreign HR specialists advise job seekers to master phrasal verbs. They help to simplify the language, and the applicant does not have to frantically remember the desired word.

But at the same time “simple” does not mean “primitive”. You do not need to be limited only to Present Simple and simple sentences with one grammatical basis. You just need to not over-complicate the language.

Mistake 2. Use narrow-profile slang and unusual phrases

In some situations, this is completely justified. For example, if you are interviewing for a Java Middle Developer vacancy and the interview itself is being conducted by a Java Team Lead and Senior Java Developer.

In this case, you can show your proficiency in specialized slang in all its glory. After all, you will have specialists who fully understand it.

But much more often it happens that the first interview is conducted by a recruiter who is rather mediocre in the nuances of the specialty. He needs to assess your general level of English and specific competencies.

Let’s take an example:

I’m good in optimization of Java hooker codes .

Hooker code is an idiom for poorly written code that generally works, but can cause instability in your application. This is a slang phrase that experts know and understand.

If you know professional slang, that’s great. But you need to use it right where you are sure that it will be understood correctly . Otherwise, it could cost you a promising job.

Mistake 3. Speaking a foreign language

This error is quite common. The level of teaching a foreign language in schools is quite low, so often the phrases “student” remain in active speech.

The most common mistake is “Let me introduce myself”. Formally, this is not an error; the sentence is grammatically correct. But the phrase immediately shows that the level of foreign language of the applicant is quite average. Native speakers don’t speak so easily.

You can immediately introduce yourself and start a monologue about yourself. That is, starting a dialogue with the words “My name is …” is okay. But it’s better if you use filler words wisely. They will dilute the speech, making it more natural. A variety of well, okay, by the way, so, to be honest, basically and other fillers provide two benefits at once:

  1. First, they bring speech closer to natural sounding – native speakers often use fillers.
  2. Secondly, during the monologue, you get a split second to think through the next phrase. Fillers can help reduce awkward pauses when you remember a word or try to construct a sentence correctly.

Mistake 4. Too often use idioms and phraseological units

Imagine what the recruiter would think if the interviewee starts talking proverbs? It is unlikely that such an original will have a high chance of getting a job.

That is why idioms and phraseological units should be used to a minimum .

Great if you know them. It’s great if your level of language allows you to use them appropriately. But don’t do it in the interview. Let us explain why.

An attempt by the recruiter to impress a recruiter with deep knowledge of the language looks like bragging. This means that the specialist is prone to narcissism and is unlikely to be a good team player.

One useful rule of thumb is: Don’t complicate your language for the sake of complication.

If something can be said easier, speak it easier. In legal contracts, complication is a way to ensure the only possible interpretation of the text. And in oral everyday speech – this is an excess.

For example:

  • I’m a dab hand at C ++ developing. – I ate a dog in C ++ programming.
  • But you can say much simpler:
  • I’m good at C ++ developing.
  • I have wide experience in C ++ developing.
  • And everything will be clear.

You don’t need to complicate your language to show off. Rest assured, it will not be appreciated. After all, language is a means of communication, not self-expression. And the recruiter will be interested in whether you can understand foreign colleagues and communicate in a foreign language as part of the workflow. In this communication, you will not need many idioms.

Mistake 5. Learning individual phrases by heart

Preparing for the interview is a must. But many do not just think over the answers to common questions, but memorize the answers to them.

You can understand the applicants. After all, if you learn the answer to a question, then there is less chance of confusing somewhere.

But there is another side to the coin. A learned foreign language sounds very artificial. Believe me, the recruiter will notice after a few sentences that you say memorable phrases. And be sure that after that, he will try to ask a question to which you will definitely not have a ready answer. In this case, the interview may fail.

We recommend doing it differently. Now you can find a whole list of common questions recruiters ask in interviews.

Here are some of these questions:

  • What are your strengths and weaknesses? – What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • Why are you leaving your current job? – Why are you leaving your current job?
  • Why should we hire you? – Why should we hire you?
  • What are your goals for the future? – What are your goals for the future?
  • What are your salary expectations? – What are your salary expectations?

You need to prepare for them. You can even write the answers on a notepad or on your phone. But you should answer in your own words.

The recruiter strives to assess your real level of language proficiency. Do not try to embellish it with tricks . This will not help, but will only worsen your position in the eyes of an HR specialist.

In our experience, you can successfully pass an interview at the Intermediate language level. Just train your speaking and communication skills with the vocabulary you have now. The realization that you can communicate in a foreign language, even with a fairly modest vocabulary, often inspires you to improve the language and learn it more deeply.

There are no difficulties with interviewing in a foreign language. In this case, the same principles are used as when conducting an interview in your native language.

So do not try to cheat – show your real level of language. In a specialty where a foreign language is only needed to communicate with the team, employees are often hired from Intermediate. The main thing is that they can express their thoughts and understand others.