At job interview: which candidate to appoint | Speak English | ELT & ESL |Intermediate level | Answer Key

Philip Hart and Marcia Boardman discuss which candidate to appoint.

Answer Key to tasks:

Before you watch









Comprehension Task

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  • True

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Philip Hart: So…what did you think?

Marcia Boardman: Well… between Sarah Timms and Daniel Watson — I think the choice is pretty obvious!

Philip Hart: Yes — so do I. Watson looked so good on paper…

Marcia Boardman: He seemed very good when I first spoke to him too..

Philip Hart: First impressions often lie!

Marcia Boardman: Indeed…I think a lot of his CV was — how shall we say? “Counterfactual”

Philip Hart: Yes — it just wasn’t true! You should never lie on your CV…

Marcia Boardman: He had very good references, though — very strange.

Philip Hart: I guess some people just like that sort of style, but he wouldn’t fit in with us…I mean, it’s important to be confident — but he was overconfident.

Marcia Boardman: I couldn’t agree more. His body language was all wrong…he came across as arrogant.

Philip Hart: Then he gave very vague answers — no specific details of what exactly he’d done in his job…

Marcia Boardman: Whereas Sarah Timms…

Philip Hart: …knew exactly what she was talking about.

Marcia Boardman: Yes, she was very convincing, self-assured, but not arrogant.

Philip Hart: She’d clearly done some research on the company, and knew what she was talking about.

Marcia Boardman: I thought her presentation was excellent.

Philip Hart: Yes, it was, but I am a little worried about how much experience she has…

Marcia Boardman: Yes, true, but she seems very ready to take on the challenges the role would offer her.

Philip Hart: So? Who do we give the job to?

Marcia Boardman: Sarah!

Philip Hart: Yes, I agree entirely!

Marcia Boardman: Great! I’ll phone her straight away offering the post…and I’ll write a rejection to Mr. Watson!

Philip Hart: OK.

Marcia writes an email to one of the candidates giving them the news that they have not got the job.

Answer Key to Tasks

Before you watch









Comprehension Task

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Marcia Boardman: …ok…ok…that’s great! We’ll be pleased to have you on the team! Looking forward to seeing you next week! Bye!

Philip Hart: Was that Sarah?

Marcia Boardman: Yes – she’s going to accept the job, and wants to come in next week for a chat…

Philip Hart: Great news. Now you just have to tell the other guy that we don’t want him…

Marcia Boardman: I hate giving bad news…

Philip Hart: I’m glad that it’s your job and not mine!

Marcia Boardman: Ok, may as well do it straightaway… Dear Mr Watson…we regret to inform you that you have not got the job…hmmm… sounds a bit too direct. How about…’Dear Mr Watson, Thank you for your application to WebWare. We regret to inform you that you weren’t successful.’

Philip Hart: Hmmm…I think you should say something positive.

Marcia Boardman: But he was terrible!

Philip Hart: Well, he wasn’t great, no, but, I think we should be positive and polite.

Marcia Boardman: Yes, you’re absolutely right. OK how about this ‘Dear Mr Watson, Thank you for your application to WebWare. You were a promising candidate. However, we regret to inform you that the competition for the post was very strong, and we will not be offering you the position. Yours sincerely, etc etc…’

Philip Hart: Yes, that’s more like it…but we should include some feedback…

Marcia Boardman: Of course — how about if I add this: “In future, you may wish to moderate your personal style, and carefully fact check your CV…” How does that sound?

Philip Hart: I’m not sure what ‘moderate your personal style’ means. It’s a bit vague…

Marcia Boardman: Hmm…ok, how about ‘give more specific examples of your achievements, and show how you work as part of a team’.

Philip Hart: Ok, yes, I like that…and remember to finish with something like, ‘We wish you the best of luck in the future’!

Marcia Boardman: Of course — I certainly do wish him luck! Ok — done. I’ll send it now.

Before accepting the job offer Sarah meets Marcia to try to negotiate on a few areas of her contract.

Answer key to tasks

Before you watch









Comprehension Task

  • False

  • True

  • True

  • False

  • False

  • True


Marcia Boardman: Hi! Welcome to WebWare.

Sarah Timms: Thanks, nice to see you again.

Marcia Boardman: You too. So, you said you wanted to come in and have a chat before you started…

Sarah Timms: Yeah, I just wanted to have a look round and ask a few more questions, if I can…

Marcia Boardman: Sure, fire away!

Sarah Timms: Well, I was delighted to receive the job offer…

Marcia Boardman: Good — we were delighted to offer it to you…

Sarah Timms: But before I sign the contract there were one or two specifics I wanted to talk about.

Marcia Boardman: OK… ‘specifics’?

Sarah Timms: Well… there is a pay scale, instead of a fixed salary…

Marcia Boardman: Yes, as a new employee you’d be at the lower end of the pay scale.

Sarah Timms: But taking my experience into account…

Marcia Boardman: Well, you haven’t had that much experience — we see you as an investment…

Sarah Timms: But that salary would only be a little more than I’m making now. So, instead of asking for a higher level on the pay scale, I thought this could be compensated by adding certain bonuses – for instance if I make certain sales targets, or even break them, I would be looking for a good cash payment, or stock options in the company.

Marcia Boardman: Well, that is something we sometimes offer senior members of staff, but to show good faith I’ll provisionally offer you the bonus scheme — but I’ll have to okay it with Philip first.

Sarah Timms: That’s fine. I also see there are 25 days holiday.

Marcia Boardman: Yes. That’s standard.

Sarah Timms: It’s not very much for a high pressure job though…

Marcia Boardman: I can’t offer you any more holiday.

Sarah Timms: No, but I was wondering if we could delay my start date, so instead of starting a week from now, as we discussed, I could start in a month’s time?

Marcia Boardman: You’re a tough negotiator, Sarah!

Sarah Timms: That’s one of the reasons you hired me!

Marcia Boardman: Yes, of course. OK, I think we can do that — I’ll look forward to seeing you in a month, and earning those bonuses!



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