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Paul Sparks, Sino-Canadian International College, Guangxi University, Nanning.
Plans for "Watch, Listen & Speak"
Listening & Speaking, Job Interview Role Play
Lessons Objectives: To
improve students spoken English and communication skills. Review and
use what has been learned in previous lessons (direct/indirect speech,
clarification, intent, body language etc.)
with guided class discussion about job interviews, then the students
will work in small groups to prepare and perform a role play of a
panel interview as practice for their group assignment and
Class Discussion - General Job Interview
Advice: Before your interview find out
everything 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 them. 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 smartly 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 - but do not waffle.
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 be
Where will I
fit into the overall organisational structure?
Who will I
he/she fit in the structure?
report to me? How experienced are they?
What do you
expect me to do in the first 6 months?
What level of
performance do you expect from me?
Who are your
Where is the
company going? Upwards? Expansion plans?
What are the
chances of advancement/promotion in this position? When?
What will be
my salary, benefits and bonuses?
travelling be required in this position?
relocation be required now or in the future?
do you provide?
When will you
decide on the appointment?
What is the
tests: Group tests 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 hate these sort of interviews. 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. You will also need to identify the person whom you
will be working for directly - make sure you give them plenty of eye
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! If there
is one particular panel member who everyone else seems to agree with,
you should make sure you impress him or her.
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
Factors that can
stop you getting the job:
unprepared for the interview.
unfavourable things about previous employers.
Not being able
to communicate clearly and effectively.
aggressive or acting in a superior way.
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
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.
do you think will be required for this job? Their 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 this 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 about our products (or service)? Again, your research into the
company should aid you in answering this question.
What can we
(the new company) offer that your previous company cannot offer?
Do not mention money. Talk about opportunities for personal
growth, new challenges, 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
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.
What do you
like and dislike about the job we are discussing? Likes: stress
things such as a new challenge or the opportunity to bring fresh
experience to the company. Dislikes: Imply there is nothing to
dislike about the job, which is why you are so interested.
Do you prefer
to work in a small, medium or large company? Remember where you
are! 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.
considering any other positions at the moment? If you are
considering other jobs, say yes, but do not give too many details
away - it will weaken your negotiating position later. If you do
not have any other job offers at the moment just say that you are
How would you
describe yourself? (OR... How would others describe you?) Pick
your best attributes and achievements from your career, education
What was your
greatest success? How did you achieve it? You should pick an
achievement which is related to their needs.
How do you
handle criticism? Your answer should be along the following lines:
"I always think that it is important to get feedback on how I
am performing so that I can improve any areas which my
manager/supervisor highlights. Do you have regular staff
appraisals and a staff development plan?"
Do you work
well with others? Or are you a loner? Some jobs mean that you have
to work very closely with other people whilst other jobs mean that
you are largely working on your own, so you need to say that you
are happy in both situations.
you? Our suggestions are career growth, opportunity to learn new
skills, good co-workers, etc.
Do you know
how to motivate other people? Hopefully you can say
"Yes", and say that you have to find out what motivates
a person and give them recognition for a job well done. You should
always give them encouragement and help them when required.
competitive? Your answer depend on the sort of job you are doing.
If you will be working as part of a team you will need to show
that you can work in the best interests of the team and not just
for your own benefit.
Can you work
under pressure? You need to say that you can. You could ask how
much pressure the job involves.
How many hours
are you prepared to work? You would be prepared to work the
necessary hours to get the job done on time.
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
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.
Are you too
young for this job? "No, I do not think so!" is the
answer you should give and then state the reason why you are not
too young. If you have a lot of experience gained in a short time,