Look through the passage and check your predictions
The letter of application (also called the covering letter) can be as important as the CV in that it often provides the first direct contact between a candidate and an employer. If this letter is not well written and presented, it will make a poor impression. The letter of application normally contains three or more paragraphs in which you should:confirm that you wish to apply and say where you learned about the jobsay why you are interested in the position and relate your interests to those of the company mshow what you can contribute to the job by highlighting your most relevant skills and experience mindicate your willingness to attend an interview (and possibly state when you would be free to attend).
2. Complete Fiona Scott's letter of application using the following verbs:
I am writing to …1………………………… for the position of Public Affairs which was 2………………………last week in the International Herald Tribune. Although I am presently 3………………………by a non-profit making organisation, it has always been my intention to work in a commercial environment. I would particularly 4…………………..the chance to work for your company and as you will5…………..on my enclosed curriculum vitae, the job you are offering 6…………….both my personal and professional interests. My work experience has familiarised me with many of the challenges.7………………………in public today. I am sure that this ,together with my understanding of the needs and expectations of sport and nature enthusiasts, would be extremely relevant to the position. Moreover, as my mother is German, I am fluent in this language and would definitely 8…………………………. Working in a German-speaking environment. I would be pleased to 9…………………….curriculum vitae with you in more detail at an interview. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to 10……………………………… me if you require further information. I look forward to hearing from you.
Before you read
1. Have you ever had an interview? What was it for? How did you feel? What was the result?
2. What kind of questions have you been asked at an interview? Rank the following questions in order of difficulty (1= most difficult)
a). What are your strengths and weaknesses?
b). How would your colleagues/friends describe you?
c). What can you offer our organisation?
d). Why do you want the job?
e). Would you ever lie to get what you want?
1. Read a leaflet from a recruitment agency giving advice about interviews. Choose the most suitable headings for paragraphs A-E. There are three extra headings.
1. contact details
7. one person’s experience
When it comes to interview questions, it pays to expect the unexpected. This is a true story of one candidate`s experience. This is how his interviewers greeted him:
“We`ve been interviewing candidates all morning and we`re getting bored. Do something to impress us”. Then the interviewers got out their newspapers and started reading them.
The candidate said, «Well, I`ve been waiting in this office for more than two hours because you`ve been running late. Actually I`m not impressed by your organisation and not sure I want to work for you. Goodbye”.
The interviewee walked out, was invited back the next day and was offered the job.
How would you act in a situation like this?
That interview was rather extreme, but a lot of employers have turned to using “killer questions” or “shock tactics”, such as these:
“Tell me something about yourself that you have never told anyone”.
“Which three famous people would you invite to a dinner party and why?”
“We have employed people from your university, and they haven`t been good. Can you tell us why you think you`d do better?”.
Killer questions often come early in the interview and are aimed at throwing the candidate off guard. By surprising the candidate with an original or difficult question, interviewers can get an honest reaction and an unplanned response. They also want to see candidates think through their responses calmly.
Interviewers also ask candidates other kinds of difficult questions to see how they react under pressure. For example, they may ask a hypothetical question related to work, such as:
“Imagine you are an employee in customer services. What would you do if an important customer was very rude to you?”.
However, some experts think that hypothetical questions are not useful because they only generate hypothetical answers. They prefer candidates to talk about their past experience.
So, what should you do in these circumstances? Imagine: an interviewer has asked you a “killer question” and you just don`t know how to answer it – your mind is blank. Remember, the interviewer isn`t interested in your response as much as the way you respond. So, stay calm, take a few deep breaths and buy some time, e.g. “Actually, that`s interesting. I haven`t thought about it, but maybe I`d...”. It`s a good idea to practise asking and answering some of these questions with friends. You can find some typical “killer questions” on the front of this factsheet.
JOBS4U have prepared three other leaflets, full of hints and tips about interviews. We can be reached in the following ways:
Telephone 01865 701813
2. Read the leaflet again. Which of the following ideas are mentioned?
1. Your answers to killer questions are extremely important.
2. An interviewee left an interview before it was meant to finish.
3. The way candidates look and dress was one area which bosses thought could have improved.
4. Difficult questions often come at the end of an interview/
5. Some experts prefer candidates to talk about things they have done rather than answer hypothetical questions.
6. You should not hesitate when answering killer questions.
3. Find words in the leaflet for someone who:
1. is applying for a job.
2. asks questions at an interview.
3. has other people working for him /her.
4. is attending an interview.
5. is paid to work for an organisation or another person.
6. has special knowledge of a subject.
4. In groups, discuss the following:
1. Do you think is it fair to ask killer questions?
2. Do you think hypothetical questions are useful?