BEP 225 – Conducting a Job Interview in English (1)

Conducting an interview in English (1)

Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on conducting an interview in English.

How do you assess potential employees? Or contractors? Or business partners? Or anyone, for that matter? Well, you can look at a person’s resume or CV. And for more information you can google someone. But that’s never enough to really get an idea about someone. What we rely on are interviews, which can be very powerful tools. Interviews give us a chance to meet someone face-to-face, to ask tough questions, to find out how they solve problems, and to really get a sense of how they interact.

Asking someone questions face-to-face is not only important for job interviews. There are a wide range of situations where interview techniques are useful. Say you want to build a relationship with a new supplier. You’ll want to ask some questions and get to know the company. Or maybe you want to contract a tech support company. You’ll want to do interviews to see who is the right fit.

Interviewing is a skill, just like being interviewed. And there are some excellent techniques that you can learn to become a better interviewer. Today, we’ll look at how to make someone feel comfortable, how to ask open-ended questions, and how to get someone to give recommendations and provide more detail.

In the dialog, we’ll hear Sandy and Lee interviewing Maria. Sandy and Lee work for an international fast moving consumer goods – or FMCG – company that is expanding into Asia. They are looking for the right person to lead this expansion.

Listening Questions

1. What aspect of Maria’s work does Sandy want to hear more about?
2. What does Sandy want Maria’s “thoughts” about?
3. Which idea does Lee want Maria to explain in more detail?

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Skills 360 – Preparing for your Year-end Review

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The end of 2011 is fast approaching, and it’s the season for performance reviews and end-of-year appraisals.

Few people actually look forward to sitting down with their supervisor and talking about the past year. For most, it’s quite a nerve-wracking experience. But today I want to show you that if you’re prepared, there’s no reason to be shaking in your boots.

Discussion Questions

1. Does your company review employee performance regularly?
2. How do you feel when you are evaluated for the work you do?
3. What kind of preparation do you think is important for a year-end review?

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BEP 184 – Discussing Training Plans (Part 2)

This is the second part of our Business English Pod series on English training and development vocabulary and collocations.

Good training is crucial for any company, big or small. How can we expect people to do a good job if they don’t have the right knowledge, skills, and tools? Providing employees with these tools is a key function of training.

And training is what we’ll be talking about today. We’ll be looking at some important vocabulary and collocations related to training. Remember, collocations are natural combinations of words that native speakers commonly use. There are no clear rules to collocation, only patterns. When you learn a new word, you should try to learn what other words are used with it. For example, you might think that “crime” is a useful word to know, but it will be difficult to use it if you don’t know that we usually use the verb “commit” before it, as in: “commit a crime.”

In the last episode, you heard many useful training collocations. We listened to Jeff, who works in HR at an engineering firm, talk with David, who has just given a presentation on new approaches to training. We heard Jeff explain how his company wants to improve their learning and development program. Today, David will explain more about learner-centered training.

Listening Questions

1. What is a traditional approach to training?
2. What does David say another company has recently started?
3. What is David’s biggest piece of advice for Jeff?

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BEP 183 – Discussing Training Plans (Part 1)

In this Business English vocabulary lesson, we’ll take a look at some common collocations related to some of the different approaches to training and training programs.

Training is one of the most important investments a company will make. Poor training can lead to poor performance, inefficiency, employee dissatisfaction, and a range of other problems. Good training, on the other hand, can make a company run smoothly, efficiently, and profitably. Training programs take many different shapes and forms, ranging from highly developed online systems to informal on-the-job training. Regardless of what form the training takes, it’s essential to think about the desired outcomes and plan accordingly.

Before we listen, let’s talk a little about collocations. A collocation is a group of words that native speakers often use together. A correct collocation sounds natural, while an incorrect collocation sounds unnatural. For example, in English we say “go online” to talk about using the Internet. But we can’t say “proceed online” or “travel online,” even though “proceed” and “travel” mean “go”. Those simply aren’t natural expressions.

You’ll hear many useful collocations in today’s dialog. As you listen, try to pick out these natural combinations of words. Then we’ll explain what they mean and how to use them in the debrief. We’re going to hear a conversation between two people about training and development. Jeff works in HR for a firm of engineering consultants. He’s talking to David, who has just given a presentation about new approaches to training.

Listening Questions

1. Why does Jeff think his company needs to find a new approach to training?
2. What type of training does Jeff’s company currently do?

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BEP 172 – Meeting with a Vendor (Part 3)

This is the third of a three-part Business English Pod series on discussing a proposal with a vendor.

Meeting with a vendor to discuss a proposal is partly about getting information and partly about negotiating a good deal. Your conversation is like a dance in which you and the vendor are trying to get the most out of a possible deal. You need to come out of the meeting feeling confident about the vendor’s abilities and sure that you are getting as much as possible at the best possible price.

Last week, we looked at how to show concern about cost, introducing topics with tact, and showing tactical hesitation. In this episode, we’ll focus on the negotiation phase. That will involve highlighting concerns, getting concessions, and making a counter-proposal. We’ll also look at how to set criteria for evaluation and how to maintain momentum at the end of a meeting.

In today’s dialog, we’ll rejoin Steve, who wants to hire a vendor to run language training, and Karen, whose company has bid on the project.

Listening Questions

1. How does Karen respond to Steve’s concern about cost?
2. What changes to the proposal does Steve suggest?
3. What will probably happen next?

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