How to Answer 3 Common Interview Questions in English

Are you preparing for English job interviews? If so, you've probably wondered how to answer questions like "What are your salary expectations?" or "Where do you see yourself in 5 years?"

Today, we'll introduce tips and expressions for responding to three of the most popular interview questions in English.

1. Tell us a bit about yourself.

Start by talking about your present and past experiences.

  • I've been an accountant for seven years.
  • I work in marketing.
  • I'm responsible for managing our company's finances.
  • I'm in charge of a team of four people.
  • Before this, I worked for a law firm.

Next, talk about how these experiences helped you gain new skills or knowledge that you can use in your next job.

  • My experience as a nurse taught me how to work under pressure.
  • Through this role, I learned the importance of time management.
  • Working in a large law firm equipped me with knowledge of many different industries.

Finally, briefly talk about why you're applying for the position.

  • I've grown in my current role, but I'd like to apply my experiences to a different industry.
  • Your company caught my attention, because of its excellent reputation.

Here's a sample response that uses these expressions:

I've been a marketing manager for three years. I'm responsible for our company's email campaigns, social media accounts, and blogs. Before this, I worked in customer service at a bank and a hotel, where I was in charge of bookings and reservations.

My time in customer service and marketing have taught me how important it is to properly manage relationships with customers – and also how much I enjoy this aspect of business. So I started looking for other opportunities in this field and your company caught my attention because you focus specifically on solutions for customer relationship management.

2. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

This question asks you to talk about how you'd like to grow professionally – and how this growth might benefit the company.

Here are expressions you can use to talk about professional growth.

  • I'd like to increase my industry knowledge by attending conferences.
  • I'd love to further develop my graphic design skills.
  • I would take advantage of the company's internal training and mentoring programs.

Here are expressions for talking about future hopes and goals.

  • In five years, I will hopefully have become an expert in branding.
  • In five years, I’d like to have worked with some big clients.
  • One of my goals is to become a certified public accountant.
  • I’m excited by the prospect of being sent overseas.

You might also mention that you're interested in leadership roles in the future.

  • I'd like to take the lead in projects involving big clients.
  • I'd love to have the opportunity to lead a team and learn some management skills.
  • If I have the chance, I'd love to be considered for a management role.

As an entry level employee, I'm mainly interested in learning, so I definitely want to increase my industry knowledge and take advantage of the company's training programs to further develop my project management skills.

Also, since my last company served mainly start-ups, I'm excited about the prospect of working with large corporate clients. In five years, I'll hopefully have taken the lead in a few big projects. I'd also love to be considered for a leadership position on the team, if the opportunity arises.

3. What are your salary expectations?

There's a budget for every role, so interviewers ask this question to make sure the company can afford you.

You can respond to this question with a range. Keep in mind that in most English-speaking countries, salaries are discussed as a yearly sum.

  • I'm expecting a salary in the range of $45,000 and $60,000.
  • I'm looking to make around £30,000 to £35,000.

You may also want to briefly explain your reasoning.

  • With my skills/experience/qualifications/certifications, I'd expect a salary of around $45,000 to $50,000.
  • Based on my research/knowledge of the industry, positions like this pay in the range of £30,000 to £32,000.

Sometimes this question comes up too early in the interview. In this case, you'll need more information to provide an accurate range.

  • I'd prefer discussing specific numbers after we've discussed the details of the position.
  • I'd like to learn more about what the position entails. From there, we can decide on a fair salary. 
  • Could I first ask a few questions about the responsibilities of this role? I'll be able to provide a more accurate range that way.
  • Can I ask what salary range you have in mind for this position?

Finally, you can mention if there's anything else that might affect your expectations.

  • Could you tell me about your employee benefits? I heard that your benefits include a gym subscription as well as pet insurance. Benefits like this could allow me to be more flexible with salary.
  • I would like to work remotely from my hometown in Brazil two months every year. If something like that could be arranged, I'd be open to negotiating my salary.
  • My salary is negotiable depending on the overall compensation package. In particular, I'd like to learn more about stock options and bonuses.

Here's a sample response:

Based on my knowledge of the industry, similar positions in this region pay in the range of $50,000 to $60,000. With my qualifications, I'd expect a salary in the upper part of that range, so somewhere between $57,000 and $60,000.

However, I'd like to learn more about what the position entails as well as the overall compensation package, including bonuses and equity. From there, I'm sure we can figure out something we can both agree on.

Practice Your Interviews With a Coach

Would you like to practice interviews from the comfort of your own home? If so, book an online lesson with a professional English tutor. At Engoo, we have many tutors who have experience preparing students for job interviews. Learn more about us here.