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Parlez moi de vous !*

My perfectly ironed beige blouse touching my neck is tight.

Nano droplets form around my mouth.

My heart races.

My red lips crack.

In a flash, I see my French teacher, marking up in red my essay with grammar mistakes and George Sand’s face in the “Ce que Disent les Fleurs” required reading.

I am ice. Partially thawed, my lips form a tiny hole, emitting steam. No more George Sand. It’s the smiling face of the Franco-English recruiter waiting for a response while looking at his shiny Rolex watch. I swear I hear the tick-tock…

So, my instinct kicks in, and I start talking about myself, my motivation, my hobbies, my TCK life. In Franglish.

As you may have guessed, the interview ends cordially, and the recruiter never calls back. What happened?

Well, my education gave me the tools, but I had no experience on how to use it in real life. Once out of my comfort zone and with limited information from my surroundings, the interview can simply derail.

That’s what happened to me.

12 times.

I then decided to take matters into my own hands.

Does this sound like you? You have the basics of A language! Are you preparing for a job interview in a foreign language? Well, congratulations! You’re IN.

Now what?

Here are 5 sure ways to protect yourself against looking freaked out by your sweat.

  1. Prepare answers to common questions: What I mean is that you need to write your answers in a format that explains you and your PROFESSIONAL experience. What you did, the results and how you helped the company’s overall performance.
  2. Practice with a patient and kind friend: Now that you’ve noted your answers, practice, practice, practice. It makes it permanent! I remember repeating my answers during my runs and walks with my neighbor. I noticed that even under slight stress, I was able to come back and answer correctly.
  3. Wiggle your toes when your interviewer asks a question: it may sound funny, but it’s a personal trick that helped me keep stress at bay. Why? When you move them, it anchors your stress and brings you back to the present and the situation with the recruiter.
  4. Ask at least two questions: Questions show interest and professionalism, so they are a natural way to showcase your motivation. Doubts? Here are some safe questions in a formal and hierarchical culture: What are the next steps? The company’s future projects? Ongoing projects? How do you like your work?
  5. Virtual Interview: Set up soft light in front of you, align your head-camera position, and DO NOT READ your answer. There’s nothing worse than seeing a neck overexposed while the sun is coming from behind. It can make you looks scary. With a double chin… oops, take 2 please?

Wherever you are, know that YOU have THE base.  Practice helps you be the professional you are and get that job. And you can do this, really! Try it and let us know what you think.

P.S. A big thank you to my clients and my personal experiences.


* (Translation: Please, tell me about yourself)