Tuesday, 14 February 2017

How Recruiters Test your English: Speaking Activity

Students practice their speaking skills in a job interview role-play, learn about questions potential employers might ask them to test their fluency in English and revise basic grammar rules, such as present simple, past simple, future, expressing likes and dislikes... 


If potential employers expect candidates to have some command of English for a position, then they will want to test it during the interview, and they will do so by asking questions, some general, some job-related. 

Job interviews can be very stressful, nerve-racking even, especially for those who have no experience of it and the prospect of having to speak English will often add more stress to it. So I have decided to go through a set of questions that potential employers are likely to ask in English during an interview.

Here are some vocabulary and grammar points that can be revised prior to or during the activity. 


1. Work-related questions

I have listed some elements they will need in order to talk about their work experience and student background:

BTS = a two-year degree 
Bac Pro = a vocational high school diploma
Bac STI2D = high school diploma specialising in technological innovation and sustainability. 
Do an internship / Do a work placement / be an intern
Do an apprenticeship / be an apprentice


2. General questions about their life and/or tastes 


I found that students needed:
  •  to be reminded of expressions to express like and dislikes (to avoid the redundancy of saying I like and I don't like all the time).
  •  some support for using preposition of time correctly in expressions such as at/on the weekend, on Saturday, in the evening, on holiday...

3. Grammar


  • Present simple 
We constantly have to remind the students of the third-person-singular rule. I struggled with this rule myself as a learner until one day it became natural. Moreover, students don't take it seriously, I think, because it is not a mistake that will prevent them from being understood, so they don't really see the point in making an effort. Anyway, I usually emphasise that they will produce a better effect on the listener if they show that their command of English is not only fluent but also accurate. Though, I concede this argument is often not very convincing.

It appears to be even more difficult for them when the 's' is pronounced [iz].

Use => uses [ˈjuːzɪz]
Reduce => reduces [rɪˈdjuːsɪz]
Refuse => refuses [rɪˈfjuːzɪz]
Produce => produces [prəˈdjuːsɪz]


  • Past simple 
The pronunciation of the ending -ed:

Want => wanted [ˈwɒntɪd]

Work => worked [wɜrkt]
Study => studied [ˈstʌdid]
Repair => repaired [rɪˈpɛrd]
Fix => fixed [fɪkst]
Decide => decided [dɪˈsaɪdɪd]

Some irregular verbs:

Drive => drove [drəʊv] 
Do => did
Have => had
See => saw [sɔ]
Go => went
The use of 'did' in negative and interrogative form.


  • Future
I noticed that some students had completely forgotten how to talk about the future.

So I had to remind them of the difference between the use of will for future predictions (to answer the question where do you see yourself in 10 years?), and Going to for an intention (to explains what they plan to do during their next holidays).



worksheets

How recruiters test your English

Based on the content of this article I also prepared some guidelines that can be provided to the weaker students

How recruiters test your English Guidelines


Students practice their speaking skill in a job interview role-play, learn about questions potential employers might ask them to test their fluency in English and revise basic grammar rules, such as present simple, past simple, future, expressing likes and dislikes...

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