I don't speak Spanish, how do I handle that in a job interview?

I have a job interview this week at a retail store. I live in a city with a high population of Spanish speakers with many who only speak Spanish. I have worked retail here before and it was definitely a hindrance. That employer never asked if i spoke Spanish however, assuming I did since I’m Hispanic.

I’m concerned this employer will ask however. If they do ask, how can I respond in a way that makes it seem like less of a handicap?


  1. What you could do is make an effort to learn some helpful conversational phrases. You might consider going out and getting a beginner’s book and trying to teach yourself a little bit. Not only would it come in handy on the job, but if it is brought up during your interview, you can honestly say that you’ve just begun the process of trying to learn. Not only does that show that you care about serving customers effectively, but it would show that you take initiative and go above and beyond.

  2. That’s too bad. It’s sad that so many foreigners are in our country that the native population is put at a disadvantage. If he asks, tell him that you shouldn’t have to know spanish because this is America, not Mexico and we speak english here.
    If they turn you down for not knowing spanish, it could be grounds for a discrimination law suite.

  3. If you absolutely do not understand or speak spanish & they ask you, you will have to be honest. Becase if you are not, you will quickly find yourself in a situation you will be unable to handle–and that will look more deceitful.

    Diane A
  4. I always say “I have a working knowledge of the Spanish language”
    That works every time.
    You definately have to elude to the fact you can speak Spanish otherwise you wont get a job here in “Hispania”


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