Would you get angry if…?

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WOULD YOU GET ANGRY IF YOU GOT E-MAILS WITH LOTS OF CAPITAL LETTERS?

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A New Zealand boss saw red after one of his employees used block capitals in e-mails to colleagues. Vicki Walker, an accountant in Auckland, was fired after her co-workers complained about her use of caps. Members of staff at ProCare Health were angry with Ms. Walker for constantly filling her mails with sentences in capital letters, bold and red text. They said they found the e-mails “confrontational”. Bosses at ProCare dismissed Ms Walker for causing “disharmony” in the workplace. Walker took the company to court and sued for unfair dismissal. She won the case and ProCare had to pay her US$11,500 in damages and lost pay.

According to the New Zealand Herald newspaper, Ms Walker is still not happy. She plans to appeal for further compensation. She also wants to speak out for greater protection for office workers when they are in disputes with big companies. Walker said too many white-collar workers feel helpless when large employers fire them. She says many people are not prepared to fight their bosses because of the financial and mental stresses involved. She used her own experience as an example, saying: «I am a single woman with a mortgage, and I had to re-mortgage my home and borrow money…to make it through. They nearly ruined my life.» Walker’s case highlights a widespread uncertainty regarding “netiquette” and e-mails.

audio http://files.mail.ru/D665RO

RED IDIOMS: With your partner(s), find the meanings of these ‘red’ idioms.

see red   / catch the red-eye   /   catch someone red-handed   /   paint the town red  /

red-carpet treatment   /   red herring   /   roll out the red carpet   /   red tape   /   in the red

1. TRUE / FALSE: Read the headline. Guess if a-h below are true (T) or false (F).
a.
A woman in New Zealand lost her job for speaking in capital letter
T / F
b.
The woman’s co-workers complained about her many hats.
T / F
c.
Her colleagues said her e-mail style wasn’t good for office harmony.
T / F
d.
The woman lost a court case when she sued her company.
T / F
e.
The woman is planning on taking further court action.
T / F
f.
She thinks office workers should be stronger against big companies.
T / F
g.
The woman had to refinance her housing loan because she was fired.
T / F
h.
The article suggests most people know the rules of writing e-mails.
T / F
2. SYNONYM MATCH: Match the following synonyms from the article.
1.
saw red
a.
protested
2
fired
b.
destroyed
3.
constantly
c.
salary
4.
complained
d.
arguments
5.
pay
e.
got angry
6.
appeal
f.
dismissed
7.
further
g.
housing loan
8.
disputes
h.
call
9.
mortgage
i.
always
10.
ruined
j.
more
3. PHRASE MATCH: (Sometimes more than one choice is possible.)
1.
A New Zealand boss saw
a.
for unfair dismissal
2
her co-workers complained about
b.
my life
3.
filling her mails with sentences
c.
further compensation
4.
took the company to court and sued
d.
and e-mails
5.
pay her US$11,500 in damages
e.
red
6.
She plans to appeal for
f.
her use of caps
7.
too many white-collar
g.
stresses
8.
financial and mental
h.
and lost pay
9.
They nearly ruined
i.
workers feel helpless
10.
widespread uncertainty regarding “netiquette”
j.
in capital letters
GAP FILL: Put the words into the gaps in the text.
WOULD YOU GET ANGRY IF YOU GOT E-MAILS WITH LOTS OF CAPITAL LETTERS? A New Zealand ____________ saw red after one of his employees used block capitals in e-mails to ____________. Vicki Walker, an accountant in Auckland, was ____________ after her co-workers complained about her ____________ of caps. Members of staff at ProCare Health were angry with Ms. Walker for constantly filling her mails with sentences in capital letters, ____________ and red text. They said they found the e-mails “confrontational”. Bosses at ProCare dismissed Ms Walker for ____________ “disharmony” in the workplace. Walker took the company to court and ____________ for unfair dismissal. She won the case and ProCare had to pay her US$11,500 in ____________ and lost pay.
bold
fired
sued
boss
use
damages
colleagues
causing
According to the New Zealand Herald newspaper, Ms Walker is ____________ not happy. She plans to ____________ for further compensation. She also wants to speak out for greater protection for office workers when they are in ____________ with big companies. Walker said too many white-collar workers feel ____________ when large employers fire them. She says many people are not prepared to fight their bosses because of the financial and mental ____________ involved. She used her own ____________ as an example, saying: «I am a single woman with a mortgage, and I had to re-mortgage my home and ____________ money…to make it through. They nearly ruined my life.» Walker’s case ____________ a widespread uncertainty regarding “netiquette” and e-mails.
experience
disputes
borrow
helpless
still
highlights
appeal
stresses
WOULD YOU GET ANGRY IF YOU GOT E-MAILS WITH LOTS OF CAPITAL LETTERS? A New Zealand boss saw (1) ____ after one of his employees used block capitals in e-mails to colleagues. Vicki Walker, an accountant in Auckland, was (2) ____ after her co-workers complained about her use of (3) ____. Members of staff at ProCare Health were angry with Ms. Walker for constantly filling her mails with sentences in capital letters, (4) ____ and red text. They said they found the e-mails “confrontational”. Bosses at ProCare (5) ____ Ms Walker for causing “disharmony” in the workplace. Walker took the company to court and sued for unfair dismissal. She won the case and ProCare had to pay her US$11,500 in (6) ____ and lost pay.
According to the New Zealand Herald newspaper, Ms Walker is still not happy. She plans to appeal (7) ____ further compensation. She also wants to speak out for greater protection for office workers when they are in disputes (8) ____ big companies. Walker said too many white-collar workers feel helpless when large employers fire them. She says many people are not prepared (9) ____ fight their bosses because of the financial and mental stresses involved. She used her own experience (10) ____ an example, saying: «I am a (11) ____ woman with a mortgage, and I had to re-mortgage my home and borrow money…to make it through. They nearly ruined my life.» Walker’s case highlights a (12) ____ uncertainty regarding “netiquette” and e-mails.
Put the correct words from the table below in the above article.
1.
(a)
reds
(b)
reddish
(c)
redness
(d)
red
2.
(a)
heated
(b)
fired
(c)
burned
(d)
barbecued
3.
(a)
caps
(b)
hats
(c)
capital
(d)
alphabet
4.
(a)
cold
(b)
old
(c)
bold
(d)
told
5.
(a)
dismiss
(b)
dismissal
(c)
dismissed
(d)
dismissing
6.
(a)
damaged
(b)
damages
(c)
damage
(d)
damaging
7.
(a)
for
(b)
at
(c)
by
(d)
on
8.
(a)
together
(b)
all
(c)
every
(d)
with
9.
(a)
at
(b)
to
(c)
on
(d)
in
10.
(a)
was
(b)
has
(c)
be
(d)
as
11.
(a)
singular
(b)
singles
(c)
single
(d)
singled
12.
(a)
widespread
(b)
width
(c)
widely
(d)
widen

STUDENT A’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student B)
a)
What did you think when you read the headline?
b)
What springs to mind when you hear the word ‘e-mail’?
c)
Describe your e-mail writing habits?
d)
Which are better, e-mails or real letters?
e)
What do you think of text with lots of capital letters?
f)
What kinds of mails make you angry?
g)
Do you understand why ProCare bosses fired Vicki Walker?
h)
How could ProCare bosses have resolved this situation in a better way?
i)
Have you ever sent an e-mail you regretted?
j)
Do you think Ms Walker got the right amount of damages?
STUDENT B’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student A)
a)
Did you like reading this article?
b)
When do you type everything in caps?
c)
If you were Ms Walker, would you continue to fight in the courts?
d)
What was the last mail you got that made you angry?
e)
Do you think workers are helpless against big companies?
f)
What do you think of e-mails full of emoticons and shortened English (e.g. cu l8r for see you later)?
g)
Are e-mails written in your language different from those written in English?
h)
Do you know any “rules” when writing e-mails?
i)
What do your teachers tell you about writing e-mails?
j)
What questions would you like to ask Vicki Walker?
Write five GOOD questions about capital letters in the table. Do this in pairs. Each student must write the questions on his / her own paper.
Make a poster about how to write good e-mails. Include the do’s and don’ts of e-mail writing. Show your work to your classmates in the next lesson. Did you all have similar things?
UNFAIR DISMISSAL: Write a magazine article about the unfair dismissal of Vicki Walker Include imaginary interviews with Vicki, her boss and an unhappy colleague.
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Abbreviations

Tick the correct answer
1             R.S.V.P.
                                               as soon as possible
                                               please reply
                                               per week
                                               value added tax
                                               paid
2             qty
                                               as soon as possible
                                               please reply
                                               please
                                               quantity
                                               paid
3             thx
                                               thanks
                                               please reply
                                               please
                                               quantity
                                               with reference to
4             E.T.A.
                                               thanks
                                               for the attention of
                                               estimated time of arrival
                                               quantity
                                               with reference to
5             pls cfm
                                               thanks
                                               for the attention of
                                               estimated time of arrival
                                               number
                                               please confirm
6             @
                                               at
                                               for the attention of
                                               estimated time of arrival
                                               number
                                               please confirm
7             a/c
                                               at
                                               account
                                               estimated time of arrival
                                               number
                                               please confirm
8             A.G.M.
                                               at
                                               account
                                               annual general meeting
                                               number
                                               please confirm
9             A.O.B.
                                               at
                                               account
                                               annual general meeting
                                               any other business
                                               please confirm
10           attn
                                               thanks
                                               for the attention of
                                               please
                                               quantity
                                               with reference to
11           I.P.O.
                                               copies to
                                               Chief Executive Officer
                                               initial public offer
                                               any other business
                                               approximately
12           ASAP
                                               as soon as possible
                                               please turn over
                                               per week
                                               value added tax
                                               paid
13           re
                                               as soon as possible
                                               please reply
                                               please
                                               quantity
                                               with reference to
14           C.O.D.
                                               copies to
                                               Chief Executive Officer
                                               initial purchase offer
                                               cash on delivery
                                               approximately
15           approx
                                               at
                                               account
                                               annual general meeting
                                               any other business
                                               approximately
16           E.G.M.
                                               copies to
                                               Chief Executive Officer
                                               initial purchase offer
                                               cash on delivery
                                               extraordinary general meeting
17           G.D.P.
                                               gross domestic product
                                               Chief Executive Officer
                                               initial purchase offer
                                               cash on delivery
                                               extraordinary general meeting
18           G.N.P.
                                               gross domestic product
                                               gross national product
                                               initial purchase offer
                                               cash on delivery
                                               extraordinary general meeting
19           pls
                                               as soon as possible
                                               please reply
                                               please
                                               value added tax
                                               paid
20           no.
                                               thanks
                                               for the attention of
                                               estimated time of arrival
                                               number
                                               with reference to
21           lb
                                               public limited company
                                               gross national product
                                               pound (weight)
                                               incorporated
                                               limited company
22           C.E.O.
                                               copies to
                                               Chief Executive Officer
                                               annual general meeting
                                               any other business
                                               approximately
23           I.O.U.
                                               public limited company
                                               I owe you
                                               pound (weight)
                                               incorporated
                                               limited company
24           Jr.
                                               public limited company
                                               I owe you
                                               pound (weight)
                                               junior
                                               limited company
25           mo.
                                               public limited company
                                               I owe you
                                               pound (weight)
                                               junior
                                               month
26           mth
                                               public limited company
                                               I owe you
                                               pound (weight)
                                               junior
                                               month
27           Inc.
                                               gross domestic product
                                               gross national product
                                               hire purchase
                                               incorporated
                                               extraordinary general meeting
28           H.P.
                                               gross domestic product
                                               gross national product
                                               hire purchase
                                               cash on delivery
                                               extraordinary general meeting
29           VAT
                                               public relations
                                               please turn over
                                               per week
                                               value added tax
                                               paid
30           N/A
                                               not applicable
                                               I owe you
                                               pound (weight)
                                               junior
                                               month
31           p.w.
                                               public relations
                                               please turn over
                                               per week
                                               per annum
                                               paid
32           Nb
                                               not applicable
                                               pay attention to this
                                               pound (weight)
                                               junior
                                               month
33           plc
                                               public limited company
                                               gross national product
                                               hire purchase
                                               incorporated
                                               limited company
34           PA
                                               not applicable
                                               pay attention to this
                                               personal assistant
                                               junior
                                               month
35           p.a.
                                               not applicable
                                               pay attention to this
                                               personal assistant
                                               per annum
                                               month
36           Ltd.
                                               gross domestic product
                                               gross national product
                                               hire purchase
                                               incorporated
                                               limited company
37           pd.
                                               not applicable
                                               pay attention to this
                                               personal assistant
                                               per annum
                                               paid
38           PR
                                               public relations
                                               pay attention to this
                                               personal assistant
                                               per annum
                                               paid
39           cc
                                               copies to
                                               account
                                               annual general meeting
                                               any other business
                                               approximately
40           PTO
                                               public relations
                                               please turn over
                                               personal assistant
                                               per annum
                                               paid

Преподавателям ВУЗов по-прежнему платят мало

Преподаватели

Министерство образования и науки провело проверку и отчиталось о том, как работает новая система оплаты труда в вузах. Исследование показало, что денег в высшей школе стало больше, но получили их главным образом ректоры и административный персонал. Тогда как зарплаты преподавателей, в том числе, профессоров, часто оказываются ниже, чем у коллег из школ.

Новая система оплаты труда в вузах была введена в 2008 году. Ее главным достижением считается отмена тарифной сетки. Вместо этой, оставшейся еще с советских времен системы стимулирования работников, вузам предложили самостоятельно определять, как и в каком размере следует поощрять своих работников. Для этого в фонде оплаты труда предусмотрели стимулирующую часть, которая дополнила неизменную базовую часть.

По новым правилам, ректоры вузов получили возможность самостоятельно принимать решения: доплачивать сотрудникам за интенсивность работы, ее высокие результаты и даже за внедрение инноваций в образовательный процесс. Перечень выплат стал определять сам вуз. Единственное условие — размер стимулирующих выплат должен составлять не менее 30% от средств на оплату труда, формируемых за счет федерального бюджета.

По данным Минобрнауки, средняя зарплата преподавателей после введения новой системы оплаты труда возросла к сегодняшнему дню в 1,7 раза, с 19,1 тыс. рублей до 31,7 тыс. рублей. При этом все остальные сотрудники вузов стали получать больше в 2,2 раза (сейчас 23,8 тыс. рублей — против 10,8 тыс. в 2008 году).

По мнению чиновников, рост оказался недостаточным для существенного улучшения материального положения преподавателей, и к тому же не совсем справедливым. Свобода, которую получили вузы в формировании собственных систем оплаты труда, оказалась в первую очередь на руку самим ректорам вузов. «Несмотря на принимаемые Минобрнауки меры по уменьшению социальной напряженности из-за большой дифференциации зарплаты ректоров и преподавателей вузов… по-прежнему есть большое число вузов, в которых этот разрыв велик», — констатировало министерство.

По итогам 2011 года средняя зарплата ректора российского вуза составила 195,6 тыс. рублей, в то время как преподаватель получал в среднем 23 тыс. рублей, то есть в 8,5 раз меньше. В то же время, по замыслу министерства, зарплата ректоров в 2011 году не должна была превышать зарплату основного персонала в 4 раза.  Особенно отличился Южный федеральный университет, ректор которого в среднем получал 395,5 тыс. рублей, а преподаватель примерно в 20 раз меньше — 17 тыс. рублей. Примерной оказалась Высшая школа народных искусств, где среднемесячная зарплата ректора составила 138,8 тыс. рублей, а преподаватель в среднем получал 75,2 тыс. рублей.

Несмотря на общий рост средних зарплат преподавателей, в половине вузов страны она не дотянула до средней зарплаты по экономике региона. Во многих вузах зарплата не превысила 70% от среднерегиональной. В четверти вузов зарплата преподавателей и остального персонала за год снизилась.

— В целом по России ситуация такова, что педагог высшей школы в большинстве регионов получает меньше, чем средняя зарплата по региону. В Москве средняя по региону колеблется — 44-47 тыс. Очень немного вузов, может быть, три-пять в Москве, у которых средняя зарплата основного персонала — профессорско-преподавательского — равна или чуть выше средней по Москве, — рассказывал накануне журналистам ректор МГУ Виктор Садовничий.

Хуже всего, судя по отчету Минобрнауки, дела обстоят в Московском государственном вечернем металлургическом институте. Среднемесячная зарплата преподавателей здесь составила 15,3 тыс. рублей, что почти в три раза меньше, чем среднерегиональная зарплата. Проблема в самой системе поощрения и несправедливых показателях, которые должны выполнять вузы для получения финансирования, считает ректор этого вуза, профессор Алексей Коростелев:

— Возможность получения денег основана на непонятных нормативах. Например, среди них есть «средний бал за ЕГЭ». У нас большая часть поступающих, окончили школу до 2009 года, либо после колледжа — они сдают вступительный экзамен (а не ЕГЭ — авт.), и мы сразу проигрываем. Есть такой норматив, как «дополнительные стипендии». У нас стипендий нет вообще, мы опять по нулям. Есть критерий «возраст преподавателей» — мы отстаем на 10 лет от среднего по России. Разве это на качество образования влияет?

Эксперты считают, что сам принцип формирования фондов оплаты труда в вузах, правильный.

— Против общей идеи возражений не было. Но одна из серьезных проблем системы — глубокая дифференциация и непрозрачность. Прозрачной системы сложить не удалось: никто не знает доходов ректоров вузов, потому что к госслужащим они не относятся, — говорит руководитель Института развития образования Высшей школы экономики Ирина Абанкина.

По словам Абанкиной, особенно широкие возможности для дифференциации зарплаты ректоров с остальной частью работников, открылись после того, как зарплату руководителей вузов решили сделать кратной 5 средним зарплатам по вузу. Но в этой зарплате не учитывались все доплаты с договоров: «В практике многих вузов ректор числится руководителем абсолютно всех научно исследовательских работ. Все выплаты по договорам, от платных студентов распределяются крайне неравномерно и, мягко говоря, бесконтрольно».

Get ready for a job interview (Part 5)

Some extra tips..

Peter: When thinking of an upcoming interview, I am really scared.My english is not good enough,and I don’t know how to behave when being interviewed.

Jack: Before going to the interview, try to get information about the company or the job you would like to get into. For example, if you have an interview at a large electronics firm,you will make a better impression when you are familiar with articles about that company. Doing anything well takes some information.That implies to job hunting too.Any good library has books which will tell you the names of companies in industries of interest to you,as well as the names of people representing those companies.

Peter: You are perfectly right, Jack.But how can I overcome my nervousness?

Jack: If you are well informed your confidence is up. You are familiar with the American terminology in your field. You are an experienced specialist.People can tell when you are well prepared. You will be asked questions that you can answer easily.You won’t be nervous in an upcoming interview.Your best guide is to rely on your own common sense.There are,however, some common rules for the interviews.

Peter: Could you give me some examples?

Jack: When greeting the representative of the company, wait until he moves to shake hands. You should also wait until he offers you a seat.

Peter: But what about the usual questions people are asked in an interview?

Jack: The most common questions are, for instance: Why are you interested in joining our company?-Why do you feel qualified for this job?-What do you know about the company?-Do you enjoy working with others? — Are you willing to work overtime? -Tell me about your experience. -What can I do for you?

Peter: Are there any surprise questions?

Jack: You should anticipate questions as: Why should I hire you? -What are your three greatest strengths for this job?

Peter: I see.These are rather tricky questions.Are there any topics I should avoid discussing with the interviewer?

Jack: In discussing your previos job, avoid criticizing former employers or fellow workers.Don’t discuss your personal,domestic or financial problems unless you are specifically asked about them.

Peter: If I am offered a job,is it appropriate to ask questions referring to the salary?

Jack: Absolutely. You can state the salary you want,but not until the employer has introduced the subject.

Peter:I greatly appreciate your giving me this valuable information.

Get ready for a job interview (Part 4)

Useful vocabulary

Achievement

Behavior and creativity

Education and Qualification

Experience

Goals on life

Interests

Knowledge of Company

Leadership and competition at work

Compensation and money matters

Personal Relations and Loyalty

Progression and Career path

Travel/Location

Analytical Thinking

Benefit to Company

Sales Ability

Tough Questions

Stress/Environment

Position research

Salary, Pays and Benefits

Phone interview

Chronological interviews

Competency-based interviews

Technical interviews

Case study interviews

Interview Confirmation

Thanks for Interview

Cover Letters for Resumes

CV completion

Preparing for oral presentation of personal CV

Communicating information about yourself

Emphasizing your strengths

Giving examples of the projects which have been successfully completed

Convincing employer about your qualification and experience

Being able to present your background in chronological order

Describing professional skills

Introducing your background

Explaining the previous dismissalleave

Presenting responsibilities of your job

Talking about career path and long standing goals

Being able to present interesting fact while talking

Discussing pay and other remuneration issues

Speaking about rewards at previous job

Explaining motivating factors

Answering direct questions concerning expected salary

Greeting people and introducing them to each other

Discussing personnel policies and procedures

Talking about different management structures, philosophies

Speaking with your employer on the phone

Asking questions about organizational structure and position description

Giving characteristics of your colleagues and other people

Presenting CV

Clarifying details of resume

Explaining expectations

Discussing the structure of your resume

Writing a CV

Completing a covering letter

Writing essay about yourself

Note taking the questions which might be asked during interview

Composing a CV focusing the recruiter’s attention on your working experience

Improving a CV

Completing a questionnaire

Fulfilling online application form including formal and informal letters

Writing short essays about life, work, or experience

Assessing position requirements by e-mail

Keeping records of telephone conversation

Replying to e-mail concerning job vacancies

Writing a summary

Giving a short written description of your friends and coworkers

Get ready for a job interviw (Part 3)

First Impression

The first impression you make on the interviewer can decide the rest of the interview. It is important that you introduce yourself, shake hands, and be friendly and polite. The first question is often a «breaking the ice» (establish a rapport) type of question. Don’t be surprised if the interviewer asks you something like:

  • How are you today?
  • Did you have any trouble finding us?
  • Isn’t this great weather we’re having?

This type of question is common because the interviewer wants to put you at ease (help you relax). The best way to respond is in a short, friendly manner without going into too much detail. Here is some examples correct responses:

Interviewer: How are you today?

You: I’m fine, thank you. And you?

OR

Interviewer: Did you have any trouble finding us?

You: No, the office isn’t too difficult to find.

OR Interviewer: Isn’t this great weather we’re having?

You: Yes, it’s wonderful. I love this time of year.

Interviewer: Did you have any trouble finding us?

You: No, the office isn’t too difficult to find.
Here are some examples of incorrect responses:

How are you today?

So, so. I’m rather nervous actually.

OR

Interviewer: Did you have any trouble finding us?

You: As a matter of fact it was very difficult. I missed the exit and had to return via the highway. I was afraid I was going to be late for the interview.

OR Interviewer: Isn’t this great weather we’re having?

You: Yes, it’s wonderful. I can remember this time last year. Wasn’t it awful! I thought it would never stop raining!

Interviewer: Did you have any trouble finding us?

You: No, the office isn’t too difficult to find.

Getting Down to Business

собеседование

Once the pleasant beginnings have finished, it’s time to begin the real interview. Here are a number of the most common questions that are asked during the interview. There are two examples of excellent replies given for each question. Following the examples, you will find a comment describing the type of question and important things to remember when answering that type of question.

Interviewer: Tell me about yourself.
Candidate: I was born and raised in Milan, Italy. I attended the University of Milan and received my master’s degree in Economics. I have worked for 12 years as a financial consultant in Milan for various companies including Rossi Consultants, Quasar Insurance and Sardi and Sons. I enjoy playing tennis in my free time and learning languages.

Candidate: I’ve just graduated from the University of Singapore with a degree in Computers. During the summers, I worked as a systems administrator for a small company to help pay for my education.

Comment: This question is meant as an introduction. Do not focus too specifically on any one area. The above question will often be used to help the interviewer choose what h/she would like to ask next. While it is important to give an overall impression of who you are, make sure to concentrate on work related experience. Work related experience should alwaysbe the central focus of any interview (work experience is more important than education in most English speaking countries).

Interviewer: What type of position are you looking for?
Candidate: I’m interested in an entry level (beginning) position.
Candidate: I’m looking for a position in which I can utilize my experience.
Candidate: I would like any position for which I qualify.

Comment: You should be willing to take an entry level position in an English speaking company as most of these companies expect non-nationals to begin with such a position. In the United States, most companies provide many opportunities for growth, so don’t be afraid to start from the beginning!

Interviewer: Are you interested in a full-time or part-time position?
Candidate: I am more interested in a full-time position. However, I would also consider a part-time position.

Comment: Make sure to leave open as many possibilities as possible. Say you are willing to take any job, once the job has been offered you can always refuse if the job does not appeal (not interest) to you.

Interviewer: Can you tell me about your responsibilities at your last job?
Candidate: I advised customers on financial matters. After I consulted the customer, I completed a customer inquiry form and catalogued the information in our database. I then collaborated with colleagues to prepare the best possible package for the client. The clients were then presented with a summarized report on their financial activities that I formulated on a quarterly basis.

Comment: Notice the amount of detail necessary when you are talking about your experience. One of the most common mistakes made by foreigners when discussing their former employment is to speak too generally. The employer wants to know exactly what you did and how you did it; the more detail you can give the more the interviewer knows that you understand the type of work. Remember to vary your vocabulary when talking about your responsibilities. Also, do not begin every sentence with «I». Use the passive voice, or an introductory clause to help you add variety to your presentation

Interviewer: What is your greatest strength?
Candidate: I work well under pressure. When there is a deadline (a time by which the work must be finished), I can focus on the task at hand (current project) and structure my work schedule well. I remember one week when I had to get 6 new customer reports out by Friday at 5. I finished all the reports ahead of time without having to work overtime.

Candidate: I am an excellent communicator. People trust me and come to me for advice. One afternoon, my colleague was involved with a troublesome (difficult) customer who felt he was not being served well. I made the customer a cup of coffee and invited both my colleague and the client to my desk where we solved the problem together.

Candidate: I am a trouble shooter. When there was a problem at my last job, the manager would always ask me to solve it. Last summer, the LAN server at work crashed. The manager was desperate and called me in (requested my help) to get the LAN back online. After taking a look at the daily backup, I detected the problem and the LAN was up and running (working) within the hour.

Comment: This is not the time to be modest! Be confident and always give examples. Examples show that you are not only repeating words you have learned, but actually do possess that strength.

Interviewer: What is your greatest weakness?
Candidate: I am overzealous (work too hard) and become nervous when my co-workers are not pulling their weight (doing their job). However, I am aware of this problem, and before I say anything to anyone, I ask myself why the colleague is having difficulties.

Candidate: I tend to spend too much time making sure the customer is satisfied. However, I began setting time-limits for myself If I noticed this happening.

Comment: This is a difficult question. You need to mention a weakness that is actually a strength. Make sure that you always mention how you try to improve the weakness.

Interviewer: Why do you want to work for Smith and Sons?

Candidate: After following your firms progress for the last 3 years, I am convinced that Smith and Sons are becoming one of the market leaders and I would like to be part of the team.

Candidate: I am impressed by the quality of your products. I am sure that I would be a convincing salesman because I truly believe that the Atomizer is the best product on the market today.

Comment: Prepare yourself for this question by becoming informed about the company. The more detail you can give, the better you show the interviewer that you understand the company.

Interviewer: When can you begin?
Candidate: Immediately.
Candidate: As soon as you would like me to begin.

Comment: Show your willingness to work!

The above questions represent some of the most basic questions asked on any job interview in English. Probably the most important aspect of interviewing in English is giving detail. As a speaker of English as a second language, you might be shy about saying complicated things. However, this is absolutely necessary as the employer is looking for an employee who knows his or her job. If you provide detail, the interviewer will know that you feel comfortable in that job. Don’t worry about making mistakes in English. It is much better to make simple grammar mistakes and provide detailed information about your experience than to say grammatically perfect sentences without any real content.

Get ready for a job interview (Part 2)

Additional sample questionsQuestions about your Qualifications

>>> What can you do for us that someone else can’t do?
>>> What qualifications do you have that relate to the position?
>>> What new skills or capabilities have you developed recently?
>>> Give me an example from a previous job where you’ve shown initiative.
>>> What have been your greatest accomplishments recently?
>>> What is important to you in a job?
>>> What motivates you in your work?
>>> What have you been doing since your last job?
>>> What qualities do you find important in a coworker?

Questions about your Career Goals

>>> What would you like to being doing five years from now?
>>> How will you judge yourself successful? How will you achieve success?
>>> What type of position are you interested in?
>>> How will this job fit in your career plans?
>>> What do you expect from this job?
>>> Do you have a location preference?
>>> Can you travel?
>>> What hours can you work?
>>> When could you start?

Questions about your Work Experience

>>> What have you learned from your past jobs?
>>> What were your biggest responsibilities?
>>> What specific skills acquired or used in previous jobs relate to this position?
>>> How does your previous experience relate to this position?
>>> What did you like most/least about your last job?
>>> Whom may we contact for references?

Questions about your Education

>>> How do you think your education has prepared you for this position?
>>> What were your favorite classes/activities at school?
>>> Why did you choose your major?
>>> Do you plan to continue your education?