7 Tips in 7 Seconds: How to Ace An Interview in English (or any language!)

Entretien embaucheAre you trying to improve your English for professional purposes? Many people in the world today are adding English to their list of professional skills, because English is the most widely spoken business language today.

But interviewing in English –or any foreign language for that matter—can be a very intimidating experience. What if you make a mistake? What if you can’t remember a word? How can you manage an interview if your English isn’t perfect?

Interviewing for a new job can be very stressful. Add to that a second or third language, and you’ve got a recipe for a high stress level—and that can harm your performance in your interview!

So how can you keep your cool and make a great first impression?

Experts say we make a first impression within the first 7 seconds of meeting someone. There are hundreds of non-verbal cues that people pick up on, whether they realize it or not, when they see someone– even if only for a few seconds. This first impression stays with us, and serves as the basis of others’ judgements of us, whether they are accurate or not!

Some of the elements that factor into the first impression include: the way we are dressed, our tone of voice, our facial expression, our hairstyle, the firmness of our handshake, the way we walk, and our general posture.

These details indicate things like: trustworthiness, aggressiveness, confidence, competence, motivation (or lack thereof), kindness, intelligence, income level, education, and many other very important personal traits and details. And all of these details come into play even before we begin speaking!

Some experts argue that the first impression and these nonverbal cues are 4 times more important than what we say when we meet someone!!

And that’s good news for you English (and other language) students! You can make a lasting positive impression on your future employer, despite any mistakes you might make when you speak a second language.



Try These Tips To Make The Best First Impression Possible—without speaking! :

  • Smile. When we smile, our entire face changes. We send a signal of openness, kindness, and warmth. We make ourselves approachable and positive.

  • Make eye contact. One trick here is to try and notice the eye color of the person you are meeting. Eye contact transmits your personal “vibe” and indicates that you are sincere and interested in the other person.

  • Have good posture. Two things that are conveyed with our posture are status and power, which equals confidence and competence. Stand tall, with your shoulders back and your head high! Don’t slouch, look at the floor, or fidget with your clothes, hair or belongings.

  • Raise your eyebrows. Be careful not to overdo this effective technique! When you make eye contact with someone, raise your eyebrows slightly. This indicates familiarity and recognition.

  • Shake hands. One of the oldest nonverbal signals in the book, handshakes are still an important way to establish a rapport with someone new. This socially acceptable physical contact between strangers transmits not only our energy, but says a lot about our level of personal confidence.

  • Lean in slightly. As you listen and speak to your interviewer, show interest and respect by keeping a distance of about 2 feet (just under a meter), but lean in towards the conversation. This shows you are a keen listener who is motivated and alert.

  • Adjust your attitude. Arguably the most important of these 7 nonverbal cues, people can pick up on your attitude almost more quickly than you can. Before you enter a room or meet someone for the first time, take a moment to be conscious of your attitude, and change it if necessary. To do this, think of a time when you were proud of yourself or had a successful moment with a project; walk into the room with the memory of that feeling in mind!

If you can master these nonverbal messages, you will make a positive first impression, despite any language barriers, in any situation!

 Of course improving your English and speaking well could also play an important part in landing your dream job, but if your employer sees someone who is motivated, intelligent and trustworthy, they will be more likely to overlook any shortcomings you may have. Remember, a little personality can go a long way… and in the meantime, you’ll have time to work on those English lessons!



Do you think first impressions are accurate?

What can you tell about a person in the first 7 seconds of meeting them?

Do you agree with experts that nonverbal cues are more important than what you say?

Share your comments with us, we love to hear about your experiences learning English!


Image Sources: 1, 2, 3



April is an e-marketing specialist, English instructor and freelance writer living in Grenoble, France.
  1. MUSTAFA Reply

    I would like to join you.

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