How to ace an interview

Topic-Business Interview


This is the scenario

interview group

It’s been a while since you lost your job.  After a long time of self-pitying and distress due to financial difficulties and pressure from your surroundings, you’ve finally decided to get into gear and set out to find a new job opportunity.

However, no matter what position you try to obtain, the pressure to perform well at the interview causes extreme anxiety that cripples your performance.

Before the interview begins

Does the thought of going on a job interview cause you to panic?
What do you do to help lessen your anxiety?
What are the basic DOs and DON’Ts in a job interview?  Name three of each.
What was the worst blunder you’ve ever committed in an interview? Briefly describe what happened.
What kind of interviewer intimidates you the most?

Now interview handshake 2

After a couple of failures, you’ve now learned to get yourself more prepared for upcoming interviews.

You’ve had your best friend and your family members pretend to be recruiters, and you’ve rehearsed all of the most frequently asked questions and answers. You’ve taken a practice run to the location where you are having the interview and know approximately how long it will take you to get there. You look presentable in impeccable attire. So, what next?


The following are some of the toughest questions you will face in a job interview.  Some may seem rather simple on the surface and could have a variety of answers.

With your classmates, practice answering the questions and decide which ones you consider to be the toughest. After you’re done, point out the strongest/weakest parts of the answers your classmates have given.

Tell me about yourself. Interaction
What do you know about our organization and why do you want to work for us?
What can you do for us that someone else can’t ?
What is your greatest weakness?
Have you ever had a conflict with a boss or co-worker?  How was it resolved?
How has your education prepared you for your career?
How long would it take you to make a meaningful contribution to our firm?
Why did you leave your last job? What did you think of your last boss?
What are your salary expectations?
Why should we hire you?

Useful advice

There are numerous reasons why people fail to land a job after they’ve had their interviews.

Oftentimes, when interviewees are asked to tell the interviewers about themselves, they feel that they should talk about their personal lives and hobbies, instead of seeing this as an opportunity to sell themselves by pointing out their qualifications with conviction.

Be positive during the job interview when asked why you left your previous job.  Indeed, your last boss may have been a jerk whose main concern was making your life miserable, but never bash an ex-employer in front of your prospective employer.

You may state that you decided to look for a company with room for growth and where you can better utilize your skills. Remember, although honesty is admirable, trash-talking is absolutely despicable.  After all, who would want to hire someone who only seems good at badmouthing their former bosses?

Turn the table interview-tips

If you were a recruiter, which of the following answers would be the worst things to hear from prospective candidates? Choose your top three and explain why.

I’ll work for free just to get my foot in the door.
I’m sorry I’m late, but I have great reasons for it.
To be honest, I know nothing about this company.
Do I have to work overtime? Because I seriously don’t do that.
I left my old job because my boss was an idiot.
I left my old job because there was too much office drama and I just couldn’t handle all that work anymore.
Nine to five? Boy, that sure takes the best part out of the day!
Speaking of my weaknesses, I’ve been told that I’m really slow when handling new things.  But I’m definitely willing to try.
How many vacation days do we get?  How about extra employee benefits?
The reason why I want to work here is because I don’t know much about the industry and I feel that this will be a great opportunity for me to learn.


When you’re asked to describe a weakness, try to aim for a weakness that works to your prospective boss’s advantage, such as “I am a workaholic, and I can’t stand leaving work undone.”

It’s also important to remember that employers don’t want employees that don’t contribute or give input. This can be reflected through the way you interact during the interview.  Words such as “Um..”, “ I’m not sure”, “ I don’t know”, or even “ No, I don’t have any questions for you” are telling the interviewer that you don’t have a clue about that company, and at the same time you’re showing a lack of interest.  Having a few questions in your pocket could make you more confident and prepared, especially in moments when the conversation is not flowing smoothly.

One last thing

No matter how the interview turns out, it’s really the effort that counts.  You won’t fret when you’re well prepared. Bring up your achievements that will make you the very best candidate for the position. The key is to focus on your achievable objectives and what you are doing to reach those objectives.
When dealing with questions that are related to your behavioral reactions to conflicts or problems, try to provide examples that reflect your calmness and your ability to resolve problems.


pity  to feel sorry for someone because they are in a very bad situation
distress  suffering and problems caused by a lack of money, food, etc.
cripple  to damage something badly so that it no longer works or is no longer effective
impeccable  without any faults and impossible to criticize
conviction  the feeling of being sure about something and having no doubts
despicable  extremely bad, immoral, or cruel
badmouth  to criticize someone or something
fret  to worry about something, especially when there is no need to
The end
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A siesta on the job?

sleeping on the job

My new series of postings are for both teachers and students to use in conversational classes.  You’ll find that all the themes are relevant, interesting, informative and most of all enjoyable.

Topic – Business

Level – intermediate

Lets Talk!

1)   Do you often feel tired and sleepy at work?  What do you think causes this? What do you do to perk yourself up?
2)   Does your company have strict rules about sleeping on the job?  What is your opinion on this?
3)   If you were a business owner, would you ever consider giving your employees time to take a nap? Why or why not?
 Infraction – (n) an act of breaking a rule or law

 Domino effect – (n) a chain reaction; a series of events quickly following each other, each of which causes the next one

Unsanctioned –  (adj) without permission

Siesta – (n) a midday or afternoon rest or nap, esp. as taken in Spain and Latin America

Reap – (v) to get something as a result of what you have done before

Sleeping on the job coffee break

When employees take a coffee break, most companies don’t really mind. However, if employees take a short sleep break, they’ll probably get terminated. Yes, sleeping on the job is usually a major infraction.

However, it has been discovered that napping actually boosts creativity and alertness, which has a remarkable domino effect on the things the person does after his/her nap. So, if employees were permitted to take a 20 – 30 minute nap in the afternoon, in theory, they could be more productive. Of course, nowadays there are very few companies that allow napping on the job.

How long is your lunch break? Do you take a nap during your lunch time? Why or why not?

Sleeping on the job

Still, according to reports, napping that is unsanctioned – or sleeping on the job – in fact costs businesses in the U.S. about $17 billion annually in lost production.

But then, studies also reveal that tired employees cost businesses up to $140 billion each year in lost production.

These findings now raise the question: When is an acceptable hour or place for an employee to get some sleep, and when is it unacceptable?

In many European countries, like Spain, and so too in several Latin American nations, an afternoon nap or siesta is actually considered normal. Local shops even close for an hour or two during the afternoon.

A nap recharges the mind and body as well as provides that extra push needed to make a day productive, which is both a benefit to the employee and the employer.

Still, only 1 percent of American companies allow napping at work. That’s indeed a shame knowing all the benefits an employee reaps after napping. Companies like Nova, Nike, and Gould Evans Goodman Associates permit in-the-office siestas and they are very smart to do so.

Questions coffee
1)How do you feel after taking a nap? What do you think about businesses in Latin America actually closing at midday to allow employees to take a siesta?
2) Think about the amount of the work that gets done in your office around midday.  Do you think that businesses in your country would benefit from closing at midday?
3) When is an acceptable hour or place for an employee to get some sleep and when is it unacceptable?
More Vocabulary
Pre-frontal cortex – (n) the front part of the brain’s frontal lobe

Wind down – (ph.v) to reduce gradually

Tabilize –  (v) to keep something at the same level

Grogginess – (n) the state of feeling weak or dizzy, especially because of illness or overindulgence (excess)

Turnover – (n) the rate at which people leave a company and are replaced

Absenteeism – (n) regular lack of attendance at work or some other place without good reasons

Stigma – (n) the shame or disgrace attached to something regarded as socially unacceptable

What’s a power nap? power nap

A “power nap” is simply a brief nap of 20 to 30 minutes during the middle of the day .  Usually at this time,  the brain’s prefrontal cortex experiences a winding down of activity. This short nap helps stabilize the brain’s activity because it provides relaxation and rest.

However, one must be careful not to exceed the 30 minute sleep or else one will enter a “deep sleep”. If you wake up in the middle of a deep sleep, you can experience inertia, the feeling of grogginess.

Recent studies suggest that power naps offer a lot of benefits like improved concentration, increased work productivity, better moods, and lowered stress.

According to The National Sleep Foundation, tired employees can be prone to:
• increased accidents and errors
• increased absenteeism
• increased  employee turnover

The obvious benefits of siestas can not be taken for granted.  It appears that many businesses could benefit from allowing nap breaks.

However, there is no need to form a rule that sets terms for napping in the office.  It’s just a matter of removing the stigma linked with power napping.

Agree or disagree question mark man

By allowing employees to take power naps, what companies lose in time, they can make up for in increased productivity.

The end.
If you enjoyed this lesson then you’ll love our online lessons. In real time, mother tongue English teachers, 1-1 or in small groups using WizIQ interactive classrooms. Visit our website and sign up for a free demo lesson.

Register for a free demo