Job Interview Was Too Short? That’s Probably a Bad News for You.

Oleksandr Shelegéda, currently a controlling specialist in financial services, is our interviewee at One on One column today. Oleksandr has 7+ years of experience in finance and change management. After obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in foreign languages and interpreting in Kharkiv Technical University, Oleksandr continued his education and obtained a Master’s degree in Project Management. One of his most memorable experiences is working for OSCE observing missions. To learn more about him, visit Oleksandr’s LinkedIn page.

Rina: How long have you been studying English? When did you first realize that you can communicate in it fluently and well enough to be able to live and work in the English language environment?

Oleksandr: I set off on my way of learning English when I was 6 y.o. It was in a small town in the Western part of Ukraine, in a small school, and with a new teacher every couple of years. There was more fun than learning in it to me. Probably, the first time I started to believe that I could speak and understand English was on the day of 9.11.2001. On that day, one of the TV channels was going live without translation and I was interpreting all that to my family.

Rina: Can you recall your first job interview?

Oleksandr: I’ve been on interviews since my University times so I can’t remember the very one. My personal attitude towards interviews in general is that you should go there quite often, just in case. Even if your job is good and you don’t want to change it in the next year. Just try to analyze the information you get there. This skill will only come if you practice a lot.

Rina: Of all the interviews you have been through, what question do you always find the trickiest and the most difficult to answer?

Oleksandr: Once you’ve had enough experience, everything becomes normal for you. You should never be afraid of saying no or I don’t know during interviews. The hardest thing for me now is to keep myself from laughing when I hear some old fashioned questions, like Where do you see yourself in 5 years? or What are your biggest strengths and weaknesses?

Rina: Have you ever had to answer absolutely unexpected questions that took you by surprise? How did you answer them?

Oleksandr: Sometimes recruiters would like to find a person with excellent knowledge of specific areas and they ask you questions out of your working field, like, What kinds of books for kids do you prefer? when you are applying to be an accountant.

Rina: Are you always nervous during the interviews? Does your emotional state during the interview affect your presentation in English? If yes, in what way? How do you prepare for your interviews every time when you get an appointment?

Oleksandr: I would say that it is normal to be a bit nervous before or even during interviews. To me, it really helps when I realize that I am also here to check how good is the company for me, and is it not only them who are in charge of the interview. Also, it always helps to think about possible ways of communication with interviewers beforehand. In this case, you will always have something to say and you won’t be scared.

Rina: How long do your interviews normally last? Do you feel more confident in the beginning or in the end of an interview?

Oleksandr: I would say that usually it takes from 30 to 60 min for a good interview. If it is too short, that’s probably a bad news for you. If it is too long, it may mean that the interviewers are nervous themselves or are unprepared, and then you can’t understand what are they looking for. You should probably forget about them and switch to other opportunities.

Rina: Can you remember any situations of using (not using) particular English words/phrases that influenced your communication with the interviewer? Were there any situations of misunderstanding because of misused words or mistakes made by you or by interviewers? Share any stories you can remember.

Oleksandr: It is always great when you know the necessary terminology in English. Sometimes it can also help when you give an explanation to the interviewers about a specific topic in order to sync with them. That helps in both ways – they can see that you know the topic, and you are not afraid that you are being wrong with your answers.

Rina: What is the best way to refresh your English communication skills before a job interview? How do you usually prepare for coming interviews? How much time does it usually take you?

Oleksandr: It is really hard to prepare yourself for this before the interview, especially when you have another job and the only time you have is a time for commuting between 2 locations. SO the only piece of advice here is to have a good rest on the night before the interview, and then to stay positive and fresh – that helps a lot.

Rina: Have you ever failed a job interview? If yes, what lesson(s) did you learn after it?

Oleksandr: It is not hard to receive a ‘no’ from recruiters. It is hard when they just ignore you and do not write back to you after the interview, not even a short message. Unfortunately, this may happen, so be prepared to send a note to them after some time if they don’t write back – and then, put them on your black list and try to forget about that interview, ASAP!

Sometimes, the recruiters provide you a feedback along with the rejection; it will help you to understand your weak points and to see what you need to learn for the future.

Rina: What kind of advice would you like to give to the young people who are about to have the first interviews of their lives?

Oleksandr: Lots of advice you can see above, so just to summarize a bit –

  • Don’t be too afraid;
  • Remember that you are going to that interview to take a look at the company and your potential manager;
  • Try to take some notes during interview, especially the names, and maybe some key questions;
  • Don’t be afraid to write back to them after a while if they never contacted you; and
  • Ask some questions, especially about general topics like their working atmosphere, their attitude towards working hours, and about payment, and about your possible colleagues and managers. This will help you make up your own opinion regarding the company.

Another Book Has Been Born

English for Your Job Interview

English for Your Job Interview is a preparation guide for a job interview in English. Its 51 units cover the most frequently asked interview questions and offer multiple training exercises and useful tips to help the job candidates communicate effectively with hiring managers during the interview.

The book is perfect for everyone whose English level is Intermediate or higher. It is indispensable for non-native speakers of English, who are seeking employment in international companies at the start of their careers.

Most importantly, English for Your Job Interview offers a way how to develop the skill of acting and communicating confidently during the interview. This book has already helped dozens of young professionals find their dream jobs.

How To Read Faces in a Job Interview

The boy was wearing a snow-while shirt and an elegant grey suit, definitely from a very expensive store or fashion atelier. When he entered the classroom, I noticed that his shining black shoes were a bit too narrow to be comfortable (right in agreement with the latest fashion), so I could not help thinking that he possibly did what we — women — use to do: brought the shoes in a plastic bag and put them on right before the exam. No, those shoes weren’t made for walking, they were designed to impress, and a guy wearing such shoes should not be sitting in front of an examination commission: he would look more in the right place half lying behind a huge oak desk, with his legs on the table, showing the soles of those shoes to his visitors.

I think I grinned to the thought, because the boy glanced at me with blatant complacency, frowned, and immediately looked away. At that very moment an urgent phone call made me excuse myself and leave the room for a couple of minutes.

When I returned, the boy was still sitting across the table from my colleagues, but my first thought was that it was possibly a different student. The snow-white shirt, heavy of sweat, got stuck to his chest in a few places; the nifty grey jacket slid to the side: my foppish boy was desperately looking for words trying to say something in English. His eyes were traveling about the opposite wall, while his arms , strong and fleshy, were hanging on the sides as if they were made of rope; He made a grammar mistake, then another, and one more, and finally, having noticed that teachers began to exchange glances, he fell silent a all.

Read more about it here

As a university teacher with decades of experience behind my shoulders, I have seen similar scenes many times. They are, by the way, very close to what hiring managers see during job interviews. The one being tested can either earn himself a good grade by displaying the right behavior or plunge into the abyss of self-deprecation and spoil the impression about himself once and for all. Below in this article, I have listed a few notes about the right behavior in responsible moments of life: during tests, exams or job interviews. Try to remember them when you face an important moment in life.

YOUR HEAD

If you are sitting in front of an interviewer (and in majority of situations you are), the most prominent part of your body that is openly displayed to the interviewer is your head. Try using it in your favor, not against yourself.

  • When your head is slightly tilted, this displays your interest and empathy;
  • Direct eye contact shows confidence, trust and interest; do not forget to look right into the eyes of your interviewer and do your best to do this without tension;
  • Smile. Put yourself in a positive frame of mind before the interview and try to keep this mood till the very end of the event;
  • Try to control the movements of your eyebrows. Too many changes on your face may cause unnecessary thoughts in the interviewer’s mind.

YOUR ARMS AND HANDS

First of all, control their movements all the time. Too much of gesticulation will tire your interviewer. Just move as much as you need to look natural. Your shoulders and arms should be wide open; this usually means that the person is relaxed and open to discussing ideas. Crossed arms are usually an obvious indication of being unengaged and uncomfortable.

YOUR POSTURE

Posture is one of the most reliable indicators of how someone feels. Always pay special attention to the way you sit, stand or walk, because your posture is a piece of your body language puzzle. For example,

  • a straight and open torso indicates that you are at ease and confident;
  • conversely, hunched shoulders and back can indicate a defensive, or weary state of mind;
  • leaning towards the interviewer will make you appear interested in the content of the interview;
  • at the same time, mirroring the interviewer’s body posture indicates an alignment of views, as well as comfort and connection. Do not forget to do this, if you feel it might work in your favor.

YOUR LEGS AND FEET

Quite often, they are difficult to see, but, surprisingly, they are a good indicator of how someone is feeling towards you. So keep yours under control and if possible, throw a glance at the inreviewer’s.

  • when both of their feet are pointing towards you, this indicates interest and an openness to connection;
  • a foot pointed out or away means a desire to wrap up the talk and leave;
  • crossed legs usually give out a defensive or closed off person;
  • shifting weight from side to side or a leg twitching shows that the person is anxious or stressed;
  • sitting comfortably, with a straight back and both feet pointed towards the interviewer would be the best solution for you. Even in a phone/ video interview when your lower half can’t be seen, if you act as you would in an in-person interview, you will come across as enthusiastic.

Finally, it is good to remember that we are all people. We have our lives and quite often, the most important career-breaking day for you is just another boring day of work for your interviewer. Do not try to guess what they are thinking during the interview (it may be something not related to the interview at all); just try to look confident and friendly and learn to control all parts of your body to make them work in your favor.

Good luck!

English for Your Job Interview is available on Amazon now

Dear Friends and Visitors,

I am happy to share with you that English for Your Job Interview, a guide to an excelent self-presentation in a job interview, is now available on Amazon. It is not a fiction book, so it was released under my real name, Iryna Tymchenko.

The book is a complete interview preparation guide for those who are seeking employment at the start of their careers. It is indispensable for international learners of English whose level is Intermediate or higher. If you are about to face a job interview soon, read the book with special attention: it will protect you against making upsetting mistakes and teach you how to answer the trickiest interviewers’ questions in a business-like, professional way.

English for Your Job Interview has 51 units, which cover the most frequently asked interview questions and offer useful tips to ensure your effective communication with hiring managers. Every unit of the book contains examples of succesful interview presentations, which are followed by multiple language training exercises designed to help you memorize dozens of useful English words and phrases.

English for Your Job Interview

Most importantly, the book is going to show you a way how to act and communicate confidently in English. This book has already helped dozens of young professionals find their dream jobs. Our most successful readers did a unit a day and say that the exercises contained in the book helped them upgrade their English and prepare for successful self-presentations in job interviews.

Shelf Love

live mines and duds: the reading life

May The Best Book Win!

librocubicularist | nonfiction | moonlights as the host of Silent Book Club Kota Kinabalu | writes on Scrivener