Master Your English Interview
Master Your English Interview
  • Yoo Kang Hyun-ji
  • 승인 2007.09.11 15:09
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Suppose that you are taking an oral test in English before a native interviewer.  First, could you speak up and introduce yourself briefly?  “Hello, my name is Kim Mina. And…”  And what?  There is a common belief that Koreans and Japanese can’t speak English well. This doesn’t seem to be totally wrong. 

Kang(47) said, “When I took the company recruitment exam after I graduated from my school, English speaking ability didn’t have much importance except in special areas.  Test score is everything.  I felt sorry for many university students who temporarily cut classes at school, to study English privately.  While I watch my daughter practicing to speak English every night, I feel the importance of spoken English directly.” 

The many Aspects of the English Interview

Your fluent Korean stops before your interviewer.  How are your English speaking skills?  It isn’t your mother tongue so isn’t there an evident limit for you?  Some things in English are considered rude, but Korean people often ignore this point, with saying, “English language has no respectful form.”  However, you need to keep in mind that English is not just language, but also one means of conversation.  In addition, words relying on situation are needed for English interview.  For example, if you ask “Why?” or flat out say “No,” or you say, “You must…,”to a stranger, it is disrespectful and shows poor manners in English.

Largely, English interviews are divided into three types: group interview, one to one interview, and panel interview.  Now, most Korean big businesses use a group interview style in which one team is interviewed by before two interviewers (one native speaker and one Korean.)  Mostly, the team is composed of three or six interviewees.  The salient aspect of this interview is that interviewees are asked to debate each other on a topic or have discussion which is then processed by the interviewees. You should express active, but modest thoughts during this interview.  Second, there is the one-to-one interview. 

You will be very nervous or upset by the slightest slip in the interview, but you need to stare at an interviewer’s eyes and keep in mind that you have more opportunities appealing to him than in other forms of interviews.  In other words, this is the chance for you to make the best use of the point that you’re with only one interviewer.  Finally, a panel interview is often used to pick out specialists or experienced employees rather than the previous examples.  In this interview, your professional answers are expected in most cases, and you should pay attention to all interviewers.  You need to be the focal point of attention of the interviewers. 

Nowadays, stressful English interviews are inevitable for applicants but a frequent form of interview.  For example, “Your major seems to be far from our department,” or “You don’t have experience in this area, do you think you can do it well?” “You received very poor grades in school.”  Don’t be emotional, and cope with the tough question logically.  You can probably keep your composure if you think that other people also experience this mental anguish.  Phone interviews are also a new form of English interviews in Korea. 

As you cannot show your gesture or anything except for your voice, you need to keep a positive and enthusiastic voice.  Above all, you need to prepare abundant materials in order to clearly and rapidly answer the questions in the interview. In addition, why don’t you wear a nice suit and practice smiling to create the ambience as real interview?

Other’s Opinion

If you are concerned about choosing between the study of English Interview and English Conversation skills, let Pillip say a few things about English Interviews. Pillip is the principal of Pillip’s Club, an academy for English job interview. He said, “If you do not have the higher grades or enthusiasm to study for employment, advance preparation for your English interview is needed.  Interviews are composed of questions and answers.  Even if the company you applied for is not a large enterprise, many Korean companies as well as foreign companies, are choosing English interviews more and more. 

On the average, at least 6~7 out of 10 university students should plan to have an English job interview. Actually, all students need to prepare for an English interview.  If you apply for the job in the service sector or the airline industry, you should know more professional information before your interview.  Finally, if you are doing an interview well, you do not need to worry about your English conversation skills.”

Yoo(51), working at the “K” airline said, “I envy you guys and congratulate you.  I know all of you do speak English very well.  You’re so great even if I don’t know the ratio of successful to total applicants,” while having a drink with an incoming employee.  Kim(24), a worker in Biology, said, “English interviews are important. But, you also have to know this form is depending on each company.  In addition, though one company I applied for didn’t have English interview formally, but interviewers questioned to me in English and wanted the answer in English.” 

Jason(30), working in a marketing department, poured out his words, “TOEIC (Test Of English for International Communication) is just a minimum standards for testing one person’s English ability.  I also took the oral test in English.  In most companies that offer English oral test, the interview takes three steps, largely.  The process might be stepped orderly, introduce oneself, how the company would benefit by hiring me, and professional questions about the job I’m applying for.  And the test, I think, the form of English Interview, will increase more and more.”

Many people say, “English is a global world language.”  If you are for or against it, it is clear that English is used throughout the world.  English will never be everywhere, but many parts of the world are communicating by English.  One teacher said to students, “I can speak English so I enjoy two communities, Korea and many other countries using English, freely.  But if you don’t use English, you only enjoy one community, Korean-used society.” 

 In SMU, GEP (General English Program) exists as a required subject. Sookmyungians often take the MATE (Multimedia Assisted Test of English) in order to graduate.  Actually, an English interview is not different from this program or test. 

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