How to Prepare for a Bilingual Job Interview

How to Prepare for a Bilingual Job Interview

So you’ve applied for a job that allows you to use your language skills! But now you’re not sure how to prepare for a bilingual job interview… Jobs requiring bilingual language skills are high in demand, and for this reason, you should be best prepared for an interview that may be in your non-native language, or even in more than one language. Here you find the most common practices recruiters will follow during a bilingual interview.

You will need to prove your language skills


Do not lie or overestimate your fluency proficiency in your second language. This is tricky, but in many cases, if you are applying for a job where the required language is not your first language, you will need to prove your fluency level. This could be through testing or through speaking with a native speaker to evaluate your language abilities. Since you’re selling yourself, make sure you do it honestly.

This doesn’t mean underestimate your ability to communicate in that language, but rather make sure you are being truthful. Even if a company doesn’t check your level, why would you want a job where you are required to primarily speak a language that you aren’t completely comfortable in?

Explain how you learned that language


Are you a native speaker? Is it your mother tongue? Hiring managers or recruiters aren’t mind readers. They don’t know everything about your personal or family history. Did you grow up bilingual? Is one of your parents fluent in another language? Was there a different language spoken in your home when you were growing up? Did you learn another language for love? Did you want to be able to communicate with your significant other or impress a potential date? You might feel like you’re oversharing, but these are all things that can help build your credibility for fluency in a language.

If you’ve lived/worked/studied in another country for a few years and learned the language fluently or conversationally, explain where your vocabulary density lies. Are you more confident in professional or conversational language?

Are you applying for an English speaking role?

Only list English as your most fluent language if it actually is, and if it is the language you desire to work with. Won’t listing a language other than English as my native language on my CV put me at a disadvantage if the role I am seeking is an English-speaking role?

It shouldn’t! If English isn’t your mother tongue, but is native/near native, or even your most fluent language; list it as that! All you are doing is giving recruiters and companies more information that can make you a more competitive candidate. Simply consider your second language another skill!

Just make sure that however you are marketing yourself, you are being thorough and accurate. If you list English as your most fluent language but your CV is riddled with consistent spelling and grammatical errors, that might make a hiring manager wonder how truthful you’re being on other aspects of your CV as well. A quick google search can determine whether or not you’re using the correct word, or have it spelled correctly. Make sure you’re selling yourself as the complete package!

TOP TIP: Use Grammarly to check your grammar!

Companies are not only hiring you for your language skills…


Do not think that just because you are native or fluent in an in-demand language that you will be hired simply for that. A company is hiring you, not just your language skills. You must still remember to show up and nail the interview. Even though having a second language may be a bonus or requirement for the role, it is not the only aspect of the job. Make sure the rest of your qualifications line up with the position and that you are prepared for the interview.

Your language skills are valuable


Jobs seeking multilingual candidates is a market trend that is rapidly growing as well as your opportunities to get a bilingual job using your language skills. Just like familiarity with Microsoft office products, administration skills, or programming skills, language skills can be another way to market yourself to hiring managers and recruiters. Don’t sell yourself short: make sure you highlight your abilities on your CV.

Are you ready to have a bilingual interview? Check out our multilingual jobs!


Author: Nicole