The Job Market in Buenos Aires: How is training yourself to speak English for a job interview different from speaking English in everyday life ?

This article is part of our section “inglés in company” which provides help for Argentine professionals working in English. Click here to know more abour our offers or workshops (Next workshops : Tuesdays 17 y 24 of April, “inglés en el entorno laboral”)

Do you feel comfortable speaking English in a relaxed atmosphere, or casual work conversation? That’s great! But don’t get confused… That doesn’t mean you are ready for a job interview in ENGLISH! Today we will talk precisely about these differences to help you land your next English-speaking job!

In the third quarter of 2017, Argentina had a 15,4% rate of employed looking for work (u.e. the percentage between the employeed population looking for a job and the economically active population), of which 12,1% are located in the Greater Buenos Area. Looking for a job in Buenos Aires is not something so uncommon. Let’s assume you are looking for a job yourself : you might have to train for a job interview in English as the number of jobs for English speaking professionals is growing in Buenos Aires.

We can assume it was an easy job to do your resume or CV in English (if you need some tips, here are good links of Infoempleo or The Entrepreneur – links in Spanish). You now know the vocabulary you used in your resume. You may feel ready to do the interview in English.

Why is it a mistaken thought many people have?
Why is English for interviews different?

There is a big difference between speaking English in a relaxed atmosphere, or casual work conversation – and speaking English while being at a job interview. Avoid making the mistake of thinking you are ready for a job interview because you are good at speaking English in informal settings.

Why?

  • Because the skills you will have to demonstrate, and thus the vocabulary, are not the same
  • Because the way to introduce things, concepts, ideas, are different in English than in Spanish.
  • Because you will need the confidence and attitude you would have in Spanish in English

Let’s break down these three ideas to see which area you should dig into to prepare yourself successfully:

1.The skills you will have to demonstrate – and thus the vocabulary- are not the same.

The HR and person conducting the interview will generally start by asking questions about yourself. The question “Tell me about yourself” can be a bit tricky because it’s easy to get lost into details “I went to school here, and I worked here for 2 years and there for 3 years”. Skip what’s not essential and try to talk in terms of skills learned. An example would be:

I went to school there – where I developed a strong capacity to teamwork. I further enhanced that skill while working at (name of the company). I was regularly working on projects involving international teams. However, in my second job, I developed other skills such as (name the skills). Today, I believe my profile is a mix of (name 3 essential skills/knowledge you have).

You might also be asked to conduct reflexion upon yourself with questions such as “What weakness can you convert into a strength?”. Think thoroughly of your weaknesses and strengths and how one can be turned into the other. For example, you might be inflexible sometimes -weakness- but that makes you an organized person capable of leading a group -strenght-. A very good reference on this topic of weakness-strenght conversion is this infographic.

Another question might be a reflection on your future : “Where do you see yourself in five years”. To answer that question, take the time to reflect on what you want to improve and for what work purpose. Don’t think it in terms of position but in terms of skills. It might be developing your management skills to be able to manage a team in the next years. Show your interlocutor that you want to learn and improve! The sky is the limit!

Finally, another type of question you might deal with is reflecting about you vs others. You might face questions such as “ What can you do better in this position that others can’t” or “How did you deal with past conflict situations with your bosses/colleagues”. Always think over it in term of positive outcomes and without criticizing others.

2. Because the way to introduce things, concepts, ideas, are different in English than in Spanish

In this paragraph, we wanted to emphasize what you have to do, absolutely have to do, in an interview in English. It doesn’t mean that you don’t have to do it in Spanish, but you might have to do it MORE in English 😉

First, stating that you’ve developed a skill without giving a supporting example will not make your point. For example; if you’ve learnt team management, you can give an example of a situation in which you had to take the lead. How did you do it and how did it result? A good way to make sure that you explain your thought through and in a relevant manner is to use the STAR method. The idea is to support your idea (“I learnt team management”) with an example structured in the way “Situation, Task, Action, Result”. An article that explains it thoroughly is this one (link in Spanish).

Secondly, try to use connectors and introduction words. Linking phrases together is nicer to hear and follow. For example, you could say : “I have 2 years of experience working in your sector. Furthermore/ On top of that, I believe I have the skills and attitude necessary to fit into the role and contribute to the thrive of the activity”. It give strength to your speech!

Finally, the salary topic. It might be sensitive and you might not want to talk about it during your first (or second interview). You can read on Glassdoor what people comment about the average salary. It will give you an idea of what to answer if the question comes up.

3. Because you will need the confidence and attitude you would have in Spanish in English

Well, for this one, it all comes down to one thing : practice, practice, practice.
We want to emphasize on this one, especially because group interviews get more and more common nowadays. What does it mean? That you’ll need the confidence to know you’ll be able to speak English in front of people – and maybe not just a HR.

What can you do at home to train ?
Wy is it worth it for you to train ?

No need to panic. It just takes practice.
How can we advise you to train beyond preparing your answers (following the advices we suggested above 😉 ) ?

Practice, practice, practice

In front of the mirror. With an English-speaking friend. If you want to practice with a native and you don’t have an English-speaking native friend, Conversation Exchange platforms are for you. This article lists some good ones!
However, to be honest, it will always be better to train face-to-face with a native. In lvstudio, that’s what we do in many different formats! Come for conversation class, take an individual class focusing on interview training or join one of our workshops!

Listen to podcasts

Below, we suggest some podcasts related to job interviews or the workplace in general:

> ESLPOD : Getting an interview (podcast)
> ESLPOD : Hiring for a Job (podcast)
> ESLPOD : Nervous at interview (podcast)

Any other suggestions? Let us know!

Record yourself

Record yourself with a camera while doing the interview. Watch it and notice your weak spots, where you have difficulties and why. Watch out your body language, which is as important as the spoken language. Here is a good article about it (link in Spanish). Try to correct your vocabulary/sentences when they seem too complicated and confusing. Make them shorter, clearer – and don’t forget to smile!

4. Do personality tests

Do some personality tests to know more about your work behavior. These tests will give you hints about your weaknesses and strengths at work, your way to deal with pressure and workload, how you communicate with others or your relationship to hierarchy. Of course, a free test on internet is never 100% accurate but it might give you some ideas, which you can develop with examples. By personalizing the analysis of your answers, you will get useful ideas to answer interviewers’ questions about yourself. Here are links to some well-known tests: DISC test or the MBTI test.

5. Do a worskhop

At lvstudio incompany, we propose some workshops for people looking for a job or employees looking for training in English. The ideas we proposed above will never be better than a face-to-face and personalized guidance! Our workshops leaders are native teachers with teaching and working experience, who will help you to be comfortable during the interview and to show the most out of your strenghts in English.
Want more info on our workshops? Click here!

OUR NEXT WORKSHOPS

  • Duración: 2 días, 4 horas en total
  • Dirección: Palermo

Workshop 1: Inglés en el entorno laboral
Días: Martes 17/04( 19.00hs-21.00hs), Martes 24/04: (19hs-21.00hs)
Precio: $700 (hasta el 01/04)

Workshop 2: Inglés para la búsqueda de trabajo
Días:Martes 08/05( 19.00hs-21.00hs), Martes 15/05: (19hs-21.00hs)
Precio: $600 (hasta el 22/04)

MORE INFO HERE! or send us an email at info@lvstudioweb.com

 

Thanks a lot for taking the time to read! Do you have any other suggestions on how to train for an English-speaking interview? Let us know!

Claire,
lvstudio in-company

 

20 marzo, 2018

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