What Languages (Besides English) Do You Know?


Job Interview Question & Answer: Do You Have any Language Abilities?

The Reason for the Question

Employees who speak multiple languages are a huge plus for many companies. Hiring managers might ask a job interview question like, “Do you know any other languages?” to see if you can successfully communicate with people from different cultures. Additionally, speaking more than one language can help you stand out among other applicants.

How to Respond

If you do have additional language abilities, answer and elaborate on your experience. If you do not speak another language, expressing a desire to learn one can impress managers. A willingness to work despite possible language barriers shows you are open to acquiring new skills.

Due to discrimination laws, interviewers cannot ask direct questions such as “What’s your native language?” or “Are you a native U.S. citizen?” You are not required to answer these queries at an interview, so only provide information you are comfortable sharing.

Responses to Avoid

Honesty is essential during a job interview, so avoid lying about your fluency with another language. Also, avoid refusing or showing resistance to learning new language skills. Employers are looking for applicants who can adapt to fit unique job circumstances, so it’s important to have an open mind.

Sample Responses To “Do You Have any Language Abilities?”

Spend some time thinking about your level of fluency with a second language. An accurate assessment of your language abilities can help you answer the job interview question more effectively. Consider the following sample answers to help you develop your response:

Sample Answer 1 – Cruise Ship Deckhand

“I speak a few additional languages. I took Spanish and French in college, and I’ve also gone on several international trips with my parents. My exposure to different cultures has allowed me to communicate with a variety of people effectively.”

Sample Answer 2 – Hotel Receptionist

“I worked the front desk at my last hotel job and found it to be a great learning experience. Many of our staff spoke different languages, and since we were in the middle of a big city, people of various backgrounds often stayed with us. While I’m not perfectly fluent in any one language besides English, I feel confident when communicating with people from different countries.”

Sample Answer 3 – Restaurant Server

“While I don’t have any additional language abilities, I am open to learning. I’ve always been fascinated with other cultures, and I can pick new things up quickly. I welcome the opportunity to meet and assist customers from different parts of the world.”

Things to Keep in Mind

Some jobs involve communicating with people from different cultures, and knowing an additional language can impress managers during an interview. Even if you do not speak more than one language, employers appreciate job hopefuls who show an interest in learning one.

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