Continuing our Business English Podcast series on job interviews, we look at another very common question you’ll likely be asked when interviewing for jobs in English: What is your greatest weakness?
Talking about your weaknesses tests a unique skill: It investigates your ability to present a drawback as an advantage. Thus, the theme of this episode is be positive, and that’s the main point that we’ll be focusing on.
In this Business English Podcast lesson, we examine another good example of how to respond to questions about your previous experience and, in particular, how to describe your accomplishments and proudest achievements.
We’ll look at someone with a little more job experience: Yala Santos is an HR specialist who is working in a manufacturing company. She now has an opportunity to interview for an HR manager position in a business unit of a fast moving consumer goods company, Fun Beverages International. Let’s listen to how Yala deals with talking about her greatest achievement.
1) What was the project Yala was working on?
Yala was working on the launch of a global, harmonized performance management system that would provide a single, interlinked on employee performance for human resources worldwide.
2) What was her role in it?
Yala worked on localization and documentation for her business unit.
3) What did she do?
She coordinated with the sales team to provide them with pre-training on the system and to ensure that they could set all their targets.
4) What was the outcome?
The launch was successful. Yalaâ€™s efforts helped ensure that the launch of the new system had no negative effect on the bottom line (profit) of the company because of the seamless (smooth) transition into using the harmonized database.
This is the first in a two-part Business English Podcast series on talking about your accomplishments in job interviews.
We’ll be listening to a bad and good version of a recent graduate discussing his greatest accomplishment. In this episode we’ll focus on language for providing examples of the positive personal characteristics that our previous success demonstrates. Then, in Part 2 of this series, we’ll hear another good example of someone with more job experience, and we’ll examine a four-part structure for telling our success stories.
1) Does Alex put his success into an organized, articulate story?
Not realy. He focuses on details that are irrelevant to his interviewer rather than on those that draw attention to his positive personal attributes.
2) Does he present his accomplishment in a way that provides examples of skills and qualities that will be useful at his new job?
He has done a poor job of providing examples of how his experience demonstrates relevant skills and characteristics. For instance, he has not discussed how completing his Masterâ€™s thesis demonstrates qualities or personal characteristics that would be useful to his employer.
This is the second in a two-part Business English Podcast series on discussing previous experience in workplace English job interviews. It is one of an ongoing sequence of ESL podcasts that covers the whole interview process.
In this lesson we listen to a better interview performance by someone who has prepared to talk about their previous experience more effectively. In this good example, Sherry Shen, from Hong Kong, is interviewing with a multinational accounting company for her first job after graduating with a Masterâ€™s in finance.
1) Does Sherry let her guard down, or does she answer briefly and to-the-point with an appropriate level of formality?
Sherry always answers briefly and to-the-point. For example, she doesnâ€™t take the opening small talk as an invitation to be informal; nor does she seem unfriendly.
2) Does Sherry seem well-prepared to talk about her experience?
Yes, obviously Sherry has carefully prepared for the interview, not just by being able to talk about her successes but also about her potential weaknesses.
3) How does Sherry account for the gap in her resume?
She turns a weakness into a strength by talking about how mothering a child has taught her time management and how to deal with life responsibilities
This is the first in a two-part Business English Podcast series on discussing your previous experience in a job interview. It is one of a longer sequence of ESL podcasts that will focus on the complete job interview process.
In this episode, weâ€™ll be examining a bad example of what not to do. Since previous experience usually comes up at the beginning of an interview, weâ€™ll look at the casual discussion that takes place when an interview starts.
1) Is everything Alex says clear and to the point?
No, it isnâ€™t. He responds inappropriately to Michaelâ€™s greeting â€œHow are you doing?â€ with a serious response we might only expect from a good friend. He also seems to mistake the interview for an academic discussion by discussing his Masterâ€™s thesis in too much detail.
2) Does he seem overly friendly or informal at times?
Yes, as already indicated, Michael seems to be overly informal, or at least overly talkative. The jokes he makes do not present his skills or personality in the best light. He seems to say anything that comes into his head, which detracts from his professional image.
3) How does Alex account for the gap in his resume?
2) He maintains that his Masterâ€™s thesis was the most important thing in the world to him, which may raise his potential employerâ€™s doubts about his dedication to any future job.