Free Resources for Students and Teachers of English as a Foreign Language in China - by Paul Sparks

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Paul Sparks - Online English Lesson Plans, Lesson Material and Ideas for Oral English (Speaking Lessons) from Hunan University of Science and Technology...



ORAL ENGLISH: "The World of Work"

Class Debate: Should Students have Part-time Jobs?

Role-Play: Job Interviews

Lessons Objectives: This lesson is designed to identify students speaking ability and identify any areas of weakness for future lessons. This lesson uses a combination of  individual speaking, group speaking and debates which is also useful in improving students general speaking ability and confidence.

Lesson Activities: The lesson will begin with guided class discussion about whether it is a good idea for students to have part-time jobs. The class will then be split into groups to perform a debate on the subject. The second part of the lesson is about job interviews. After a short discussion about job interviews, the students will work in small groups to prepare and perform a role play of a job interview.

Class Discussion & Debate:

Should Students have Part-Time Jobs? It very common in some countries for students to work part-time while studying. It is not very common in China, but recently some students have thought that it would be a good idea to try to find a part-time job. What are the arguments for, and against students having jobs? (list arguments and counter-arguments on the board)

Class Discussion & Role-Play:

General Job Interview Advice: Before a job interview it is a good idea to find out as much as you can about the company (for example read their annual report), read through your application form again, thinking about the questions they might ask you. You should also prepare some questions to ask the interviewer. To do well at the interview you will need to convince the interviewer you are qualified to do the job. You will also need to show that you are sufficiently motivated to get the job done well and that you will fit in with the company and the team in which you will work.

You should dress appropriately for the interview and should leave home earlier than you need to on the day of the interview - you may be delayed by traffic or for other reasons. Be polite to all employees of the company. At the interview itself you must be positive about yourself and your abilities.

Questions you may want to ask an interviewer: The interview is a two-way process. The company interviewing you will want to find out whether you are suitable for the position and you will want to find out if the company and position are right for you. You should therefore ensure that you have enough information to make up your mind whether you want the job. For example:

  • What will my responsibilities be?

  • Who will I report to? (who is the manager?)

  • Who will report to me? How experienced are they? (will any people work for you?) 

  • What do you expect me to do in the first 6 months?

  • Who are the customers? 

  • What are the company plans for the future? (Expansion plans, new markets etc.) 

  • What are the chances of promotion in this position? When? 

  • What will be my salary, benefits and bonuses? 

  • Will travelling be required in this position?

  • What training do you provide? 

Group Interviews:
Group interviews are used by an employer to see how you react in a group. They will want to see if you help or hinder the group reach its objectives. An observer will be watching to see how you take criticism, whether you take on leadership roles and involve less communicative group members. If you chair the meeting the observer will be checking on how you plan and keep control of the meeting. If you are leading a group activity the observer will be interested in seeing how good you are at delegating tasks and how much of the work you keep for yourself.

Panel Interviews: Most people dislike these sort of interviews, where there are three or more people who interview you together. To do well you will need to identify the important figures on the panel and which role each person has. The chairperson is easy to identify as they will generally make the introductions. When you are talking to the panel, remember that you are talking to all of them and not just the person who posed a particular question - your answer has to be the correct one for each panel member!

Job Interview Body Language: When you are being interviewed it is very important that you give out the right signals. You should always look interested - so do not slouch in your chair. Never lie to anyone in an interview, your body language and tone of voice or the words you use will probably give you away - classic body language giveaways include scratching your nose and not looking directly at the other person when you are speaking to them.

Factors that can stop you getting the job:

  • Being unprepared for the interview. 

  • Poor handshake. 

  • Saying unfavourable things about previous employers. 

  • Not being able to communicate clearly and effectively. 

  • Being aggressive or acting in a superior way. 

  • Making excuses for failings.

Interview questions you may be asked:
Before attending an interview you should think about your responses to the following questions. Your answers may depend on the job or company in question, so you should go through your responses just before each interview.

  • Why do you want this job? Think carefully about this question. Talk about the positive aspects which have attracted you to applying for this position. Do not mention the negative aspects of your current job or the job in question.

  • What qualities do you think will be required for this job? The advertisement for the job may help you a little bit, but you should also think of the other qualities that may be required. These may include leadership ability, supervisory skills, communication skills, interpersonal skills, problem solving, analytical skills, etc.

  • Why do you want to work for our company? Emphasise the positive reasons why you want to join their company, but avoid aspects such as more money or shorter hours.

  • What do you know about this company? This is your chance to impress the interviewer with your knowledge of their company. Give them a run down of their products or services, sales figures, news, company figures, customers, etc.

  • You have not done this sort of job before, how will you cope/succeed? Say that you are the sort of person who aims to succeed at everything you do and that you are very determined and will do whatever it takes to get the job done.

  • Why should we employ you? The answer to this question will be based on your previous experience and achievements which relate to the company. At the end you could add that you think there is a good fit between you and the job, and do ask the interviewer for their opinion.

  • How ambitious are you? Depending on the position you are applying for you may want to sound fairly ambitious, but do not look as if you are after the interviewer's position.

  • Do you prefer to work in a small, medium or large company? If the company interviewing you is a small to medium sized company say that you enjoy a close atmosphere with a good team spirit. At a large company say that you enjoy the stability of working for a large and established company.

  • How would you describe yourself? / How would others describe you? Pick your best attributes and achievements from your career, education etc.

  • Do you mind working for someone older than yourself? / Younger than you? / Of the opposite sex? Here you can say that you are prepared to work with anyone

  • What interests do you have outside work? Your hobbies and interests can tell an employer a lot about you, including whether you are sociable, and whether you can take on 'leadership' roles. So you should think about which interests will paint the right picture of you given the position you are discussing.


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