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  • Hi, everyone. I'm Jade. What we're talking about today is job interview English. So,

  • in this lesson, I'm going to give you some phrases that you can use in a job interview,

  • and I'll also be giving you... We'll also be looking at what grammar you should be using

  • to answer common job interview questions. So I'm going to break it down so you know

  • what to expect when you have that job interview in English, maybe for the first time, or maybe

  • you've already had a couple of interviews in English but you just want to improve your performance.

  • So let's start by talking about before the interview. So when you get there, there's

  • always, like, that bit of small talk. Maybe you find it awkward, maybe you're a pro at

  • small talk, but I thought I'd just give you some phrases so that you've got something

  • to say, at least. So, when you get there, it's polite to say something like:

  • "Thanks for inviting me to interview." If you feel like initiating small talk, you could say

  • something like: "Is the position based in this office?" or "building", wherever you

  • are. You might also want to say: "Oh, how many people work here?" Just sort of general

  • things, nothing personal going on there.

  • Or you might make an observation about what you see about the building or the workplace.

  • You could say: "The offices are impressive." Now, clearly, if the building isn't very nice,

  • and there isn't anything remarkable about it, then I probably wouldn't say something

  • like this. It's better to make no observation than say one that's not true, or one that

  • sounds a bit strange because the place is a real dump. You don't want to say it's great

  • in your phrase. But maybe the area's nice, so then you could say: "What a great location!"

  • This is an exclamation. You say it with some kind of enthusiasm. Or you might say, as you're

  • walking to the interview room: "Ah, I see you have an open plan office." That means

  • where everybody works together in the same room. Or you might say:

  • "I see you have a staff canteen."

  • That's where you get your food. Okay? So,

  • all suggestions for general small talk.

  • The interviewer may, however, initiate small talk with you, in which case, general things

  • they like to talk about in England... Our... Our favourite topics of small talk are the

  • weather, so you could say something like: "It's chilly today." That means it's a bit

  • cold. Or mild. "Mild" is... "Mild" is when the weather is better than you would expect

  • for that time of year. So if it's winter and it's mild, it's not as cold as you would expect

  • it to be. Yep. So we love to talk about the weather, you know that about British people.

  • Did you also know we like to talk about the traffic or the tube delays and things like

  • that? So, perhaps they'll say: "How was the traffic? How was your journey here?" You can

  • tell them about your journey. Say: -"Oh, it wasn't bad." -"How was your journey?" -"Not bad."

  • That means it was okay. Or you could say: "It didn't take me too long." It didn't

  • take me too long. Now, just a tip: You don't want to say: "It was a nightmare; it took

  • me hours", because they'll probably want to employ someone who can get to the job easily.

  • And maybe they'd also make conversation about where you've travelled from.

  • "Oh, where is it you live? Oh, I know that place. My cousin lives there", blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

  • They... They might also be interested to know where you're from, your country. So maybe

  • they'll do some small talk about where you're from as well, whatever that country is. When

  • we come back, we're going to look at specific job interview questions, and I'm going to

  • break it down for you, and give you phrases and grammar tips so that you know what to

  • say in different parts of your interview.

  • Let's have a look at some common interview questions, and I'll give you some phrases,

  • and we'll mention grammar, where necessary. So, a common interview question is when they

  • say: "Tell me about your experience." Here, they want you to summarize what you've been

  • doing. And I'm going to give you some tips for that, because if you just start summarizing

  • your experience, and you start with your first job ever, and then you go forward, sometimes,

  • this has happened before, the interviewer will say: "Okay, that's enough." So, stop.

  • So, you've just told them about all the stuff that happened ages ago, which isn't relevant

  • to the job, so you've really missed out on your opportunity to sell yourself, there.

  • So what you should do is you should mention your most relevant experience first, that's

  • usually your most recent job, and then go backwards. So, start with the most recent

  • job, and then go backwards. And what's also helpful to do is... Maybe you don't want to

  • talk about all your jobs. You could say something like:

  • "I want to tell you about my two most recent positions."

  • So when you say that at the beginning of your answer, the interviewer

  • knows: "Oh, how long do I have to listen for, and what am I to expect, here?" Because if

  • you just sometimes start talking, start talking, start talking, they, again, might cut short

  • your answer because they don't know how much you're going to talk about. And this is a

  • way to make sure that you say what you need to say.

  • You say what's going to make you look good.

  • Use this question to sell yourself. Tell them about what have you've done in your experience

  • or your education that fits the job, so don't talk about things that aren't relevant. Mention

  • your achievements as well, so that means: What successes did you actually have in those

  • jobs? Make sure that they know about it. You can mention figures, how much money, how many,

  • how big the teams were, things like that. So really try to paint a picture and tell

  • a story of what you did, because the interviewer's just not going to know unless you tell them

  • and make it easy for them.

  • Here... Here's a big gap, but under the gap, here's a phrase. You could say:

  • "I currently work as..." You could also use the continuous: "I'm currently working as..." blah, blah,

  • blah, your job. And you can go into talk about your job. If you're talking about a past job,

  • you could say: "From 2005 to 2009, I worked as a technician at"-blah, blah, blah-"place".

  • And then you can talk more about the job. Or, you could use a present perfect, if it's

  • a job that you're still in now. So you could say:

  • "I've been working as an engineer for company for three years. Let me tell you more about that job."

  • So moving on from summarizing your experience, another common interview question is where

  • they ask you to imagine a situation, situation that might happen in the job at... At the

  • place. You don't work there yet, but they just want to know what you would do in this

  • situation. So, let's say you want to apply for a job in a... In a store, in a retailer.

  • They might say: "Tell me about how you would deal with a customer complaint. Customer complaint.

  • What would you do in this situation?" So you need to imagine that situation, and the grammar

  • you need to use is "would", hypothetical "would". That shows that you're using your imagination.

  • So you could say... Keep moving. "First of all, I would apologize to the customer", and

  • then you can continue to tell us more about what you would do in the situation. "Would"

  • shows that you're talking about that hypothetical situation. It's not a real situation; it's

  • one that you're imagining in your head.

  • Or, maybe you want to talk about something from your personal experience. I also recommend

  • this. So you could say: "Let me tell you about... Let me tell you about a time when I successfully

  • dealt with a customer complaint. It happened because the customer bought... Bought a jumper,

  • and the jumper had a hole in it, and when she came back, she was... She was very angry

  • and emotional, because there was a hole in her jumper. So first of all, I apologized

  • to the customer, and I said: 'I'll do whatever I can. Let me see if we've got another jumper

  • in your size.' I went to find the jumper, and the customer was very, very happy. And

  • to my surprise, she wrote a thank you letter and sent it to the store after, because she

  • said I dealt with her in her distress very well." So things like that, you know? Showing

  • how you do a little bit extra in your job, and showing how amazing you are, basically,

  • when you tell stories. So when we come back, we're going to look at more common interview

  • questions. And again, I'll give you some phrases, and I'll give you the grammar that you need

  • to use to answer these questions.

  • Okay, next we're going to talk about that interview question that everybody knows about,

  • and it's always asked, but nobody really knows how to answer. Talking about your strengths

  • and your weaknesses, or maybe your strength and your weakness. That's something for perfectionists

  • to be aware of, because when I've worked for people before and doing interview practice

  • and I asked this question, the perfectionist will just start with, you know, one weakness.

  • "Oh, I'm not very good at," you know, this. But then they'll give, like, they'll just

  • keep going. They'll try to give two or three other weaknesses, when the point is: just

  • say one. Okay? Don't tell them more than you need to. And, yeah, somebody who's not a perfectionist,

  • who probably doesn't analyze themselves very deeply, is a person likely to give a better

  • answer to this question, because they don't really think that they're that bad at anything,

  • and this is a much better interview technique to have, because you really should be selling

  • yourself rather than saying what's bad about you.

  • So anyway, the secret of answering this question is to mention a "learning". And some of you

  • might not like this word, because it's not yet a real word in English, but people are

  • using it. And what I mean by it is: When you're telling your answer about what you're good

  • at and what you're not so good at, make sure that you involve an example of what you've

  • learnt. If you're going to say that something's bad about yourself, make sure that you convey

  • that you've changed that already, or you've learnt from the... From your past mistakes,

  • and that makes it a good answer.

  • You can't just learn an answer to this question, because it really depends on the job that

  • you're applying for. So let's imagine that you are applying for a job, something to do

  • with events. Okay? Because when you work in events, there's a lot of planning involved,

  • okay, but there's also a lot of unpredictable things that happen. So, this could be a good

  • answer for that kind of job: "I make a lot of plans and lists." Planning.

  • "But often, the plan goes out the window, and I think on my feet."

  • If something goes out the window,

  • that's an idiom for you don't... You don't follow the plan anymore. You forget about

  • the plan. And when you think on your feet, you're improvising; you're doing something

  • without... Without having prepared for it. So that's a good answer for that kind of job,

  • but it wouldn't be appropriate for a lot of other jobs. Yep.

  • What about...? What about this one, then:

  • "I used to check and double check the work of my staff obsessively.

  • As I climbed the career ladder, I've had to learn to trust others to do their jobs."

  • So, this could be an answer for a manger or someone like that,

  • someone who has a real eye for detail and really, really cares about things being done

  • well. But someone who also knows that there's just not enough hours in the day to do everything,

  • so I need to also trust my staff to do their things. That's potentially a good answer for

  • you, if you're in a similar situation.

  • Yeah, so just remember that although you need to reveal something that's not so good about

  • yourself, in this case, maybe it's not good that you don't follow your lists, but it is

  • good because in a job like planning events, you can't always follow the plan, because

  • life's not like that. You'll be given unexpected situations sometimes. And also, if you're...

  • If you're a manager, perhaps that's a good thing that you've overcome being obsessive,

  • but were you obsessive about the right things? Well, you were making sure that the job was

  • done well, so maybe that's a good thing, too.

  • Moving on. You'll often get asked in the interview: "So, why do you want to work for us?" When

  • you get this question, it's a really good idea to not just talk about the company. You're

  • drawn to that brand or that company, like for example:

  • "Oh, I really want to work at Google or Microsoft, because..."

  • Say more than just about the company, where you show

  • what you know about the company. You should talk about the actual position, the job that

  • you'd be doing. You need to show that as well as being interested in the company, you would

  • actually like to do that job. So here are some phrases you could use:

  • "I see myself as...", "I want to work here because I see myself as an events manager in the bar industry,

  • and I really like your bar concept", for example. Or you could say:

  • "It's my ambition to be a manager in a corporation like this, a global corporation like this one."

  • Or you could say:

  • "I've always been really interested in marketing, and what I know about your company, I'm really

  • interested in the new approaches you have for marketing." So you could use any of these

  • phrases and make it your own.

  • What I also want to talk about now is when I'm doing interview training with people,

  • sometimes their language is revealing doubt, self-doubt in their answers, and they're not

  • even aware. It's not about them being able to speak English correctly, but they're just

  • speaking in a hesitant way, which I don't think is good for a job interview answer.

  • So let me show you what I mean. If you're... If you're answering the question:

  • "Why do you want to work for us?" A good, strong, active response is:

  • "I want to work here because..."

  • When you say "want" you're certain, and it has... Yeah, it just has a degree of forcefulness

  • to it. If you say: "I would like... I would like to work here because..." that's a bit

  • soft. It's not so... It's not so... It's not somebody who... Yeah, okay, it's polite English,

  • but it's not so... It's not so confident. And I think that's what job interviews are

  • about, most of the time: showing how confident and how great we are.

  • A similar example: Why...? Oh, it's not really related to the question. When talking about

  • yourself, you could say:

  • "I'm good at marketing, because I'm really good with people, and I can manage to persuade them to join my ideas."

  • But if you say: "I feel I'm good at marketing, because",

  • blah, blah, blah, same answer, the extra verb can give it a little... I'll cross

  • it out. Can give it a feeling of... Of less certainty, there. So the extra verb's not

  • helpful. You feel that you're good at that, but maybe other people don't agree, so it's

  • better not to say it at all.

  • And what about this: -"Why do you want to work for us?" -"I always wanted to be a software

  • engineer, because", blah, blah, blah, blah, is much better than... Oh, this is the wrong

  • example. Always try... Okay, let me give you a different example. You're talking about

  • your job. If you say: "When I'm at work, I always try to do my best." You try to. Sometimes

  • you fail. Sometimes you're not very good. You try to do your best, but we're all human;

  • we make mistakes sometimes, so "try to" is not good. In fact, using "try" anywhere in

  • the interview-I'm going to make a big claim here-is just not a good word for interviews.

  • "Try to". So, if you're going to say something about yourself, make it a bold, bold statement:

  • "When I'm at work, I always do my best." You're strong and you're confident now. So, in the

  • last part of the lesson, we're just going to look at the... The final part that always

  • comes up in job interviews.

  • Okay, so number five, you get this at the end of your job interview. You need to ask

  • a question about the job or the company, so you should prepare this before. Some personality

  • types are people who always have lots of questions: "I want to know this, I want to know this,

  • I want to know this, I want to know this", all in detail. And then other personality

  • types, more like me, just kind of prefer to find out when it happens, maybe with a job

  • it's a little bit more important, sometimes you want to know the salary or whatever. But

  • just, generally, maybe I don't always have questions; I'll find out when it happens.

  • But it is true that people expect you to have a question. The interviewer will expect you

  • to have a question, and they tend to think that if you don't ask a question, that you're

  • not really that interested in it, which, you know, is probably not true. You did go there

  • for the interview. So, I really strongly suggest that you prepare something to say, so that

  • when you get to that part of the interview, you have a question.

  • So, you could say: "Does the salary come with any perks or bonuses?" These are, you know,

  • extra things not to do with the job. "Perks" could be something like a gym membership,

  • something like that. A "bonus" could be if you reach certain targets when you're doing

  • your job, you'll be awarded financially if you do well. So this, asking this kind of

  • question shows that you care about the money: "Tell me. Tell me about the money." That's

  • not a bad thing. If you go to the interview and don't say anything about the money, and