The 3 Biggest Mistakes for ESL Job Applicants at Interviews
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The 3 Biggest Mistakes for ESL Job Applicants at Interviews

Most of the professional ESL clients that I have worked with have an advanced level of English; but lack oral standards of clarity because of pronunciation, speech rhythm, or grammar.  Generally, all of these can be improved upon. It’s prudent for you as a professional to have a mentor or trainer to work with you for your job interview, because it can make or break receiving the final offer of employment.  However, it’s the little things that will have the biggest effect on the oral presentation at job interviews. The three essential elements that should be developed further include: articles, prepositions,and plurals.
First, missing articles (a, an, the) are the most common and obvious clue to listeners that you are not a native English speaker. For example, “We trust bank” should be: “We trust the bank. For such tiny words they make a loud impact on the listener’s ear.
Second, using prepositions (of, to, in, under,for, from, and many more examples) are another group of small words that are problematic for English speakers of a second language.  They must always be used in a phrase: under the bed, in the closet, during the week are examples. Most ESL job candidates will miss out on this use.
Third, the differences in using singular and plural forms of our English words are awkward to both native English speakers and second language English speakers.There are further rules which deal with count and non-count words, such as it being incorrect and frustrating to state 2 furnitures. Orally, these little errors sound like big mistakes.
A discrepancy in communication in most cases is minimal except when it requires clarity for safety concerns or for employment.  Job interviews can be more effective if a non-native English speaker takes the time and training to practise interviews, videotaping, and receiving feedback on mock interviews. Further practice on articulation, pronunciation, projection of voice, and body language will impress the interviewer of the applicant’s clarity and competency. Therefore, the candidate can be confident that he or she has a fair chance in acquiring employment.
Please comment on your interview experiences as an ESL candidate.
And be sure to view our ESL for professionals page at for a complete training package, or our quick training tailored to mastering your job interview as soon as possible.