We won’t just tell you not to sweat it — when you have high hopes, it can be hard not to stress over an interview. Instead, we’ll break down a few ways to prepare, so by the time you interview you feel a bit more relaxed.
First things first: Make sure you’ve got your interview on the books, whether that’s a planner, an online calendar, or your phone. Confirm your interview date and time a few days in advance, especially if you and your interviewer are in different time zones. Figure out either the technology (if interviewing virtually) or directions and transportation (for in-person meetings) in advance, and plan to be there early!
Even if you have a gift for speaking off the cuff, and even if the job you’re after values that skill…why walk into an interview blind? Use your past experience (plus some research) to come up with some of the most common questions you can anticipate (e.g., tell us about yourself). Write out your answers in detail, referencing your cover letter and résumé to jog your memory. Then practice — ideally with a friend or family member — until the answers roll off your tongue. This step is extra helpful if you’ll be interviewing in a non-native language.
An interview is an opportunity to see whether a job and company are a good fit for you. Base your questions on your personal preferences and your research. Has this position been posted three times in the past six months? Ask why! An employer who shirks from answering reasonable questions is one you might have challenges working with in the future.
Language industry professionals are notorious for their attention to detail and, in many cases, perfectionism. Don’t let these traits keep you up night after night once your interview is over. It never hurts to send a thank you note (or email), and, if truly necessary, you can include a brief line to clarify one of your answers.
Remember: There’s no such thing as a dream job, even if the ad seems to describe yours. Play the long game and keep in mind that where one door closes, another opens.