Job Interview Tips - You're Hired!

Episode 1

Philip Hart, CEO of IT peripherals company WebWare, gives Sales Director Brian O'Dell some bad news.

  1. Check the vocabulary
  2. Watch the video
  3. Answer the comprehension questions
  4. Read the Business notes and transcript
  5. Post your comments and questions in the box

last quarter = last 3 months of the year
let someone go = a nice way to say "to fire"
pull one's weight = to do all the work you must do
interpersonal skills = to work well with other people
the last straw = the final irritation

Comprehension questions
  1. Why is Philip Hart angry?
  2. Why does Philip ring Marcia?
  3. What will the new employees need?
  4. Which skills and experience are NOT important for new employees?
  5. Where is Marcia going to place an advertisement?
Business notes
In this episode WebWare’s CEO Philip Hart sacks his Sales Director for underperforming. Philip uses 2 expressions to do this. The first is I’m going to have to let you go which is quite a gentle way of expressing the fact. The second is You’re fired, which is a little more direct.
There are even more ways to express this in English. Dismiss and discharge are both quite formal:
He was dismissed for turning up late on a regular basis.
The director was discharged of his duties.
Other less formal, but more colourful ways of saying the same thing are:
give someone the axe
give someone their cards
give someone the boot

PH: You what? What do you mean? You've lost the DollarMart contract? Oh Brian, tell me you're joking! That's our biggest contract! And you've lost it!

Ok...ok...yes, I know you've had some personal problems recently...yes, sure...yes, I know our competitors have improved their offer...but, really Brian, these are just excuses...

Oh Brian, come on -- you failed to meet agreed targets for the entire last quarter. We talked about this at your last performance review and I told you then it had to improve and to be quite honest -- it hasn't. Losing the DollarMart contract is the last straw... No, I'm sorry Brian that's it, that's your last chance. I'm going to have to let you go.

Let you go. Yes. That's what it means Brian. You're fired.

Hi Jess, can you put me through to Marcia in HR please?

Hi Marcia. It's Philip here. Listen, I've had to let Brian go. He lost us the DollarMart account. Yeah, but it had been going on for a while, he just wasn't pulling his weight anymore. He'd been warned -- his last performance review was really bad. He knew it was coming...

So - we'll be looking for someone new and we'll need to decide on who that is...

Who are we looking for? Good question...I was hoping you might be able to help me with that! Here's what I'm thinking and let me know if you agree.

Well, obviously, they'll need to have a first degree, doesn't matter what subject, and then a masters or an MBA, I'd say.

Experience? At least five years' relevant experience, in an international company -- I want somebody with a proven track record. Oh they have to be a team player -- Brian never was -- so strong interpersonal skills. Oh and I want someone with vision...yes, "vision" -- I know it's difficult to define, but what I mean is, someone who knows we're in a rapidly changing market, and they can use it to our advantage.

Experience with online sales, perhaps -- but yes, I'd be interested in that. Oh, language skills -- I can't emphasise that enough -- not necessarily a native speaker, but they must be very good at English, and another language as well, Spanish, or Mandarin is best.

Does that sound ok to you? Great! Ok can you get an ad out on the website as soon as possible, and the trade press, as well? Ok great thanks Marcia. I want a new sales director by the end of the month!

Adapted from Learn English by The British Council