Interviews in Korea: Getting that part-time job you really want

Category : International Students
Dec 08, 2014
I think that if you are an international student and you are planning to spend a long time in Korea, learning Korean will be one of the wisest things you'll do. Not only will this make your life easier and make you enjoy your Korean life more, but it will open you doors to many opportunities to make some extra income every now and then.
As you will realize as you spend more time in Korea, many international students get a part-time job or internship at some point during college. As you may imagine getting any of these, always involves going through a selection process that will be in Korean most of the time. Although my first interview in Korean was not the best one ever (I wasnt prepared as I mentioned in one of my previous entries), learning how to do an interview successfully in Korean has got me several part-time jobs and internships throughout these years. Let me share in this post some of the most useful things Ive learned about this in Korea:
1. Why you?
During the last years, I have been in several interviews where the first question that comes out is: Why you? Although this is a very simple question, you should be really careful when you answer it. Korean companies that offer interviews to foreigners are not interested in who you are, or where you have studied but rather in how you can help them to improve their company. As a result of that, when they ask you this question dont spend a great deal of time talking about how cool you are but rather talk about how your educational background/experience is something that their company needs. Keep in mind that when a Korean company gives you an interview they expect you to be thankful for having the opportunity of being interviewed by them. It doesnt work the other way around.
2. Why are you in Korea?
This question will not only come out in any interview but will come out in any conversation while you stay in Korea. Be sure you think about the answer to this question in advance, and you have something specific to answer every time people ask you this. Dont just say that you are in Korea because youre studying, but explain them in detail why you decided to come to Korea instead of going to any other country in the world. Remember that most Koreans deeply love their country and they will be happy to know that you too.
3. Why our company?
This question is an extension of the previous one, and it always comes after the previous one. Make sure you do some research on the company and the job position you are interested in before stepping into your interview. It is very important that you know what the company does, what the employees believe, and what the company plans to do in the future. Dont you ever mention that you are interested on getting the job because of how much they pay. That wont take you anywhere.
4. All or nothing.
You might be wondering whether it is important that you do your interview in Korean or not, and Ill tell you the truth: Theres no right answer. In my case, I prefer to do all my interviews in Korean because I want the interviewer to fully understand how I feel and what I want to say. At the same time, if I can chose between English or Korean, I always make a decision before I step into any interview: Will I do it all in Korean or will I do it all in English? Although many people like mixing English and Korean when they talk, doing this when youre having an interview might not be a good idea and you may end up getting your interviewer confused. Be careful!
Finally when it comes to interviews, it is a good idea that you try to learn as much as you can from each of them. As you will realize later on, interviews are never the same, and if you are willing to learn from your mistakes you will always be successful. 

Sergio Flores