If you are proficient in at least one foreign language, then you have a clear competitive advantage in the job market. Studies have shown that bilingual people have an annual income that is $10,000 higher than those who only speak English.
However, when you compete against others with the same qualities, things tend to get a bit more complicated. Your language skills alone won’t help you stand out from other candidates.
So, how can you impress the recruiters during a bilingual job interview?
Well, the first thing you need to do is to make sure you are familiar with the steps for a regular interview. Even if this is a bilingual interview, the structure is usually similar. So, it can be very helpful to know what to expect.
However, there are a few things that differentiate a bilingual interview from a regular one. Here’s what you need to know to prepare for one:
- Do Your Homework
Take the time to research the company and the recruiter if you know who will be interviewing you. You should know what the company does, who its target audience is, the markets they operate in, and everything that might help you understand your role in the organization.
Another important aspect you need to determine is if you should learn some business-specific terms or if the bilingual job you are applying for is customer oriented.
Researching the company and the job position can help you understand their expectation better. That way, you can determine if you should use a certain style of speaking or practice a particular dialect.
Keep in mind that your research shouldn’t begin when you score an interview and end once the evaluation is over. You should actively look for job offers that suit not only your skills but your personality too. For example, there are plenty of companies looking to place talent like you in the right place. Whether you speak German, French, Spanish, Japanese or any other language, there will always be room for you on the market. You just need to know how to find it.
- Prepare Yourself
Practice makes perfect. Once you know what their expectations are, try to evaluate your skills. Take a refresher course or study on your own. Listen to speeches, music, and debates in that language.
Try to put yourself in any situations that require you to practice. You can talk online with native speaker, or you can read books or go to stores/restaurants where you know you can find others who speak your secondary language.
- Make a List
One useful tip is making a list of questions that the recruiters usually ask during bilingual interviews. That way, you won’t be taken by surprise when they ask you to describe what you would do in a certain situation, for instance.
Make sure you rehearse your answers so that when the moment comes, you have a clear understanding of the points you want to get across.
- Don’t Forget to Follow-up After the Interview
Don’t assume that your job is done after the interview is over. Instead of just sitting and waiting for an answer from the company, be proactive and send them a follow-up e-mail. Not only that it’s a sign of professionalism and responsibility, but it also shows the recruiters that you are really interested in the job.
Being bilingual can be a real boost for your career. However, just because you speak a foreign language doesn’t necessarily mean that people will automatically hire you. Keep these tips in mind if you want to impress recruiters during your next bilingual interview.