Interview Tips around the World

Cultural mores can vary vastly from country to country.What might be a friendly gesture in Sweden can be grounds for a fight in Greece. Now if you’re looking to find work, knowing how not to accidentally cause offence is a must. Interviews are a hugely important opportunity to make a good first impression, so knowing a little bit of cultural background can go a long way. We’ve assembled a little primer of interview tips for various countries to give you an idea of how you can best go about maximising your first impression.

Russia – Don’t mix up your Onegin and your Oblomov!

Russian patriotism is often more culturally-focused than might be expected. They are justifiably proud of Russia’s many great composers and writers and will expect you to have a similar level of knowledge about your own country’s artistic heroes. At the same time, a little knowledge of Russian history and culture can give your interview performance a nice little boost, so dust off that copy of The Brothers Karamazov!

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Saudi Arabia – Put their minds at ease.

Saudi employers are well aware that their country is a great deal more conservative and restrictive than most countries in the West. Even knowing this, they don’t want to hire teachers who will pack up and head for home because they can’t live within the acceptable codes of behaviour. Assure your interviewer that you know what you’re getting yourself into, and that you have a genuine desire to stay and make the most of your time in the Kingdom.

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Brazil – For goodness’ sake, you aren’t just there for Carnaval!

Brazil has a not completely unjustified reputation for being a chilled-out, laid-back culture. The strongest cultural associations most of us have of Brazil involve Carnaval, the Copacabana and Caipirinha! However, Brazil’s language schools pride themselves on being business-like, efficient and professional. You will have to use your interview to show that you are here to do a job, and not just to lounge around drinking cocktails on the beach!

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Japan – Mind your manners!

Japan is famous for its multifarious and byzantine rules of politeness. As a foreigner, you aren’t expected to know all of these, but a little knowledge can go a long way. When the interviewer enters the room, be sure to stand and give a clear, formal greeting. When you leave, remember to give a small bow, tuck your chair in behind you, and part on a nice, friendly smile

As mentioned above, your interviewer will likely make allowances for the fact that you aren’t a local, and shouldn’t be expected to know every little in and out of the local culture. That said, what better way to give your chances of success a shot in the arm than by surprising them with a nice show of cultural sensitivity? Any thoughts or tips of your own? Comment below!

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