Thursday, 4 February 2010

Speaking - Job Interviews

Getting students doing job interviews in class is always a great lesson - organise it right and the students will get a lot out of it.

For an intro you can ask your students to brainstorm examples of the best and worst jobs.

Then you can elicit some typical job interview questions and answers. Some examples below - of course these are just a selection and are very generic. Clearly if you have students who are about to enter the world of work or who are thinking about changing roles you can go into more specifics about them and their strengths and goals.

Once you've done this you're ready to go and you can get the students interviewing each other for their dream jobs. Ideas for setting this role play up are below the Interview Q&A.

Typical Interview Questions and Some Possible Answers

Why do you want this job?

I feel that I could fulfil this role with distinction

I'm clearly the best person for the job

My experiences and qualifications make me the ideal candidate for the job

I've always been an ambitious person throughout my career and at this stage of my life I'm looking for a new challenge.

I've enjoyed my time at X company but now is the right time to move on

This seems like the logical next step

I'm ready to take on more responsibility

How long do you plan to stay in this position if you got the job?

I'm not looking to put a time-frame on it but I certainly see myself committing to this role for the next 3-5 years, maybe longer.

I'm keen to continue my career progression and I hope to do this within this company when the next opportunity arises.

Where do you see yourself in five years?/ What are your goals?

I see myself continuing to make strides within the company, enjoying further success, and further improving my professional development.

I'd like to have greater responsibility and become an integral part of the team.

I want to keep improving and learning and to maintain the progress that I've already made.

Outside of work I would like to run a marathon this year.

Are you a team player?

I've always enjoyed working in teams. For me job satisfaction is often about sharing success with your team. At the same time there are moments when I like to work on my own if I have a pressing task to complete.

Outside of work I have always enjoyed playing football and this has given me a strong appreciation of the need for a settled and balanced team.

Why are you leaving your current job?/ What will you do if you don't get this job?

I'm not unhappy in my current position and I'd be happy to continue what I'm doing for the time being. But after X years in this role I'm certainly ready to take the next step so I will be looking for further opportunities to ensure my career objectives are met.

The time is right to make a change. As you can see from my CV I have always been loyal to my employers but there are moments when you have to be selfish and do what's right for you.

What are your greatest strengths?

My time management skills are excellent. I'm organized, efficient, and take pride in excelling at my work

I have always hit my targets in work and exceeded the expectations of my manager.

I enjoy my work and when I walk through the door in the morning I always make sure I am focused, alert and in the right frame of mind. I've never had a problem with putting in the hours and

I find I can always find creative solutions to problems and to implement these solutions quickly and effectively.

And weaknesses?

I think I'm pretty self-aware and if I recognise that there is a part of my work that needs improving I am quick to address it. For example last year I felt my organisation skills could be improved so I devised a time management system which enabled me to work smarter and more efficiently.

Sometimes I can be too hands on during a project as I'm so keen to ensure it goes well. I have learnt over the past year to delegate more effectively and to trust my colleagues.

What motivates you?

I am motivated both by the challenge of finishing projects ahead of schedule and by managing the teams that achieve our goals.

I've always been motivated by the desire to do a good job at whatever position I'm in. I want to excel and to be successful in my job, both for my own personal satisfaction and for my employer.

How do you handle stress and pressure?

Stress is very important to me. With stress, I do the best possible job. The appropriate way to deal with stress is to make sure I have the correct balance between good stress and bad stress. I need good stress to stay motivated and productive.

I react to situations, rather than to stress. That way, the situation is handled and doesn't become stressful.

I actually work better under pressure and I've found that I enjoy working in a challenging environment.

Prioritizing my responsibilities so I have a clear idea of what needs to be done when, has helped me effectively manage pressure on the job.

How do you evaluate success?

Success for me is about setting short term and long term goals and achieving them.

It's also the personal satisfaction of knowing that a job has been done well. It's important to me that the whole team shares in this success.

Do you have any questions for me?

How will my performance be measured?

What are the career opportunities for me at this company?

Where do you see the company in 5 years time?

Job Interview Role Play

- Divide the group into two (preferably 2 equal sized groups)
- Students must then think of their ideal job and write it down on a piece of paper.
- Collect all the pieces of paper and then get students in Group A to pick one piece of paper from Group B and vice versa.
- All students now have someone else's job. Students in Group A will be interviewing first. So they must think up specific questions that they can ask during the interview (obviously there are different questions you would ask to a fireman than to a secretary) This is in addition to the generic questions you've already been through.
- Students in Group B will be interviewed for their dream job so they must think about the skills that are needed for this role so they are prepared.
- Once the prep is done the interviewing can commence. Important to monitor here to pick up on great examples of questioning or answering and to note any mistakes.
- You can then switch the groups so all students have practice interviewing and being interviewed.

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