10.12  Polishing Your Interviewing Skills: A Word to ESL Candidates

Communication in an interview is about many things - among them - body language, clear speaking, and appropriate behavior. What you know is very important in interviewing but if the person interviewing you has difficulty understanding you or if you offend them unknowingly, you are not going to get the job.

Content, delivery, and form are all essential elements for interview success. Your resume, expertise, and company knowledge might get you an interview but it will not get you the job.

Your form matters as much as your content. You send your message with facial cues and body language. You will have to give good answers and deliver those answers effectively to get yourself hired. Fail in the delivery and you will be denied the opportunity to show the employer just how good you are – how technically proficient you are.

Confidence plays a big part in delivering answers effectively. You will be meeting the people you hope will hire you for the first time and you must impress flawlessly. You want to be confident that you know the material and confident that you know proper protocol.

Over the years, I have worked with a number of individuals for whom English is their second language, frequently having moved to the United States as young adults. (English can be a second language for some of the engineers that I work with too…)

Interviewing can be doubly stressful and much more challenging for the non native born because the cultural norms for formal behavior differ from country to country.

This section is designed to help people for whom English is a second language interview more effectively. You will find practical strategies that will help you deliver optimal American English communication during interviews. We will discuss body language; rate, volume and intonation of speech; pronouncing English sounds and words correctly; and warm-up exercises for the best voice and pronunciation.

Dr. Celeste Roseberry-McKibbin, Professor of Speech Pathology and Audiology at CSU Sacramento, has generously given her permission for the use of her notes on how to improve communication skills in interview situations. She has worked in educational and medical settings with a wide variety of clients.

Dr. Roseberry-McKibbin’s primary research interests are in the areas of assessment and treatment of multicultural students with communication disorders as well as service delivery to children from low-income backgrounds. She has over 50 publications, including 6 books, and has made over 270 presentations at the local, state, national, and international levels. Dr. Roseberry-McKibbin is a Fellow of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, and won the Upton Sinclair Outstanding Educator Award for her service to children in poverty. She is a Fellow of the California Speech and Hearing Association, and received the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association's Certificate of Recognition for Contributions in Multicultural Affairs.