Interviews… just the word makes us nervous. Interviews can be really difficult, especially in your second language. Today, follow along as we simulate a typical English interview. Of course, we know every single interview is different, but pay attention to the typical questions Paige asks and the general format of Mariah’s responses. We hope that our voices are in your head next time you have an English interview (although that’s a little creepy… sorry).
Paige: You are listening to Coffee with Gringos. I’m Paige Sutherland.
Mariah: And I’m Mariah Wika. Today’s topic is something that many of us have done and makes 100% of us very nervous. We’re talking about interviews. Whether you’re applying for a job at a language institute in Santiago, Chile. For example, Dynamic English… check em’ out, or any other job, your interview is your foot in the door. It’s your chance to make an impression and hopefully get a job.
Paige: And nowadays, more than ever, sometimes when you apply for jobs… they require that you speak more than one language. So, besides being nervous about being in an interview, you might have to do it in a language that isn’t your native tongue.
Mariah: Right, so for example, for a lot of you, you’re English language learners. We’re guessing that the majority of our listeners, except for our moms, are English language learners. And so, today we want to give you an example of an interview that will help you for that next interview that you have.
Paige: So, listen in, take some notes, and remember - if you get lost, the transcript and vocabulary guide will be online at dynamicenglish.cl. So, now, I am going to interview Mariah for Coffee with Gringos’ next host position.
Mariah: So excited. I want this opportunity so badly.
Paige: Let’s see how she does.
Paige: Hi Mariah! Thanks for being here. It’s so nice to meet you.
Mariah: Thank you so much for having me. I’m really excited about interviewing for this position.
Paige: I hope that you got to the office okay. No trouble?
Mariah: I found it perfectly, thank you so much.
Paige: Okay! Well, sit down. Do you want a glass of water or something to drink?
Mariah: No, I’m alright. Thank you!
Paige: Okay! Well, we’ll start then. So, first question: just tell me a little bit about yourself.
Mariah: Yeah! My name is Mariah, and I’ve been living in Santiago, Chile for a little over a year now, but before that I lived in Minnesota in the United States, and I worked in marketing and social media. But, I’ve been a teacher for about a year here, and I definitely have an interest in podcasting, in media, in marketing… and that’s why I’m here today.
Paige: And so I have to ask - how did you hear about the position?
Mariah: I heard about Coffee with Gringos through my language institute. So, of course, Coffee with Gringos is housed by Dynamic English, and I’ve been a teacher with Dynamic for a while now. I’m really passionate about education, and I love working in the classroom, but I also love the idea of creating resources that my students can use when we’re not together… when they’re out of the classroom. And so I heard about it through the institute, and it sounded like an opportunity I’d really like to give a try.
Paige: Absolutely. Well, why do you think you would be a good fit for the position?
Mariah: That’s a good question. I think that my past experience in marketing and media combined with my passion for education make me a really good fit for an educational podcast. In addition, I’m pretty social, and I like interacting with folks and talking. This is a conversational podcast, and I feel like I have the right personality for the job.
Paige: And have you done any radio in the past? Any experience with that format?
Mariah: To be honest, I haven’t done radio in the past. This would be a new opportunity for me. But, I’m a fast learner, and I’m not afraid of stepping out of my comfort zone. In the past, I did theater, and I did performance, and I know what it’s like to speak to an audience. So, while I haven’t done radio, I have other experiences that make me a good candidate for this position.
Paige: Yeah, I must say for someone who has no radio experience, you have quite a voice for it. So, you have that going for you, Mariah.
Mariah: Thank you! I appreciate that.
Paige: As is tradition, for this interview, what is your biggest strength, professionally?
Mariah: Yeah, I think that I’m a really strong communicator, and that stretches across different modes of communication. So, I make sure to communicate clearly in person, and I also am able to communicate really, really efficiently and reliably over e-mail. I use social media. And so, being a strong and reliable communicator is one of my best strengths. And I know that when it comes to being a host for a radio show, it’s not just about the time on air, it’s also about the time that goes into preparing and editing and working with your co-host to create a good product. Communication is key for a project like that.
Paige: No, it completely is, and it seems like through your teaching experience, you’ve definitely acquired that. What about your weaknesses? What do you think is your biggest professional weakness?
Mariah: I would say that my inexperience in radio is my greatest weakness when it comes to this position. I know that there are probably other candidates that have been working in radio for a long time, but what I bring to this position is an eagerness to learn and a lot of other strengths and tools that I’ll be able to use to overcome that weakness.
Paige: Yeah, no, and I think that as you said, you might not have the experience that some of the other candidates have, but it seems like you’re a quick learner and y’know having the teaching experience you have here in the city under your belt is definitely a positive.
Mariah: I do my best. And I’m passionate about education, and I want to bring this information to the learners at Dynamic English.
Paige: Well, I think going through your resume and talking with you today, I think you are more than qualified for the position. And like I said, you have the social skills, the personality, and quite the voice for a show like this. So, I really wanna thank you for coming in today and having the interview with us. Do you have any questions that you wanna ask?
Mariah: I do have a couple questions! So, one of my first questions is: what is the general schedule for Coffee with Gringos? I know that this is a side project at the institute, and so it’s a different set-up than teaching. So, what does scheduling look like?
Paige: That’s a really good question, Mariah. It’s very dependent on your co-host. It’s very flexible scheduling, where you work it out with the other host and kind of fit it into your teaching schedule. And when it comes to the topics and that kind of stuff, it’s very independent, where the hosts get a lot of the decision making.
Mariah: Perfect. That sounds great. I’m definitely the type of person that works really well with a flexible schedule, as compared to a really rigid one, and so it’s nice to hear that this is a flexible and independent role.
Paige: Well, again, thank you for coming in today. It was such a pleasure to meet you. I hope that you have a good rest of the week, and we will be in touch soon!
Mariah: Thank you so much! When can I expect to hear about the next round of the process?
Paige: Of course. We will send you an email in the next couple of days.
Mariah: Perfect. I’ll look forward to hearing from you. Thank you so much for your time. It was a pleasure to meet you.
Paige: Of course. Nice to meet you as well!
Mariah. Yeah, take care. Bye!
Paige: So, that is what a normal interview looks like. The basic “Tell me about yourself,” “Why are you a fit for this position?”
Mariah: “Why do you want this job?” “What are your strengths?” “What are your weaknesses?” And of course, interviews are never completely comfortable, right? It’s normal to feel nervous - especially if you’re interviewing in your second language. But, remember. Be articulate. Do your best to communicate the point as clearly as you can using the vocabulary that you know, and we’re sure that you’ll do a great job.
Paige: Yeah, and I think that the big thing is to try to keep it short. I know that in your native language, you want to say a million things, but I think that focus on saying the most important things and keeping it concise so that you won’t overwhelm yourself because like Mariah said, interviewing is stressful, no matter what language you’re doing it in. But when it’s your second language, it really adds another layer.
Mariah: Yeah, a whole new layer. So, we hope that this has been useful for you and that next time you’re interviewing, especially if it’s an interview in English, you’ll be able to use some of the vocabulary and ideas from this episode. Thanks so much for listening, and we’ll talk to you soon.
KEY VOCABULARY, PHRASES, AND SLANG
Check em’ out (slang) - look at, consider them
Example: Are you looking for a language institute? We’ve heard Dynamic English is great. Check em’ out.
Foot in the door (idiom) - an initial step that creates potential for more opportunities
Example: For any job you’re applying for, the interview is your foot in the door.
Nowadays (adverb) - at the present time
Example: Nowadays, some jobs require that you speak two languages.
Native tongue (noun) - your first language
Example: It’s possible that someday you’ll have to do an interview in a language that isn’t your native tongue.
Podcast host (noun) - a person who talks during a podcast, the position Mariah is interviewing for in this episode
Example: Mariah, why do you think you would be a great host for this podcast?
Thank you for having me (phrase) - thank you for inviting me, welcoming me
Example: Thank you for having me! I’m really excited to interview for this position.
Housed by (phrasal verb) - to be part of the space, included
Example: Coffee with Gringos is housed by the institute, Dynamic English.
Good fit (noun) - to have the right skills and qualifications for a position
Example: I think that my past experience in marketing and media combined with my passion for education make me a really good fit for an educational podcast.
Step out of one’s comfort zone (phrase) - to take risks and do different things
Example: I don’t have experience in radio, but I’m willing to step out of my comfort zone and try something new.
Strengths (noun) - your best qualities, tasks or actions that you do very well
Example: One of my strengths is that I’m a strong communicator.
Weaknesses (noun) - your disadvantages, tasks or actions that you don’t do very well
Example: One of my major weaknesses is that I don’t have experience working in radio.
Concise (adjective) - short and clear
Example: It’s important to be concise in an interview. I know it’s tempting to talk a lot, but our answers are clearer when we speak concisely.