I have been applying for internships in China for the last few months and have gone through several interviews, both all in Chinese and part English part Chinese. I thought I could share my interview experiences with you all. I am by no means an expert on interviewing in Chinese, but I thought we could all benefit from a discussion about what to expect in these interviews. Some background, I have been interviewing at marketing agencies so if you are looking for another position it will likely have some differences in interview style.
Like interviews even in English speaking countries, the obvious first part of the interview is a 个人介绍 personal intro, I suggest getting this part down, not only for interviews but just in general. Think of it as a speed dating pitch that tells someone all the important details about yourself. I realize this is probably obvious, but getting your intro down is the first step in not just an interview but also in striking up a conversation with new Chinese friends. You should practice until you can call it up on a whim, a good list of facts about yourself and maybe some interesting stories should be at the top of your repertoire.
Specifically for interviews, if your Chinese still isn’t at a completely fluent level, I suggest looking up lists of interview questions and answering them in Chinese, write out notes for yourself (make sure it isn’t a complete script, as most people can tell when you have rehearsed too much), and get one of your Chinese friends/tutors/teachers to look at your notes and correct them. If you have the chance do some mock interviews and try to think of many different scenarios. Preparing for an interview in another language will require much more practice than in English, obviously.
It depends on the job you are applying for, but if you want to try to find a job in China, then you will probably want to have a Chinese resume. Now the advice I have gotten on this might not be applicable to everyone, but what I have gathered is that some key differences in a Chinese resume versus an English one are:
- Having a part of your resume that functions somewhat like a cover letter, a portion where you write about your interests and let the person that will be interviewing you know a bit more about you, and not necessarily all professional information. The way this was explained to me was that Chinese companies don’t do as many interviews as American ones, so they want to know a little bit about you, however if you have any different thoughts on the subject please let me know!
- Another thing that has been going away somewhat, but that I still put on my Chinese resume is a photo of yourself. Usually a small photo in the top corner of your resume is all that is required.
- While in America, younger people usually try to keep their resumes to one page, this rule doesn’t usually apply to Chinese resumes, just go ahead and fill it up with all the information you find relevant. My resume is about a page and a half, with the last half page being my 个人介绍. I realize some of you more experienced people have English resumes upwards of 3 or more pages, so this tip really only applies to people coming out of college with little on the job experience.
So if any of you have had experiences with interviews in Chinese, questions for me, or have comments on what I have written, please let me know and I can add it. Good luck everyone!