Many interviews have similar questions. Read the following and then role-play with a partner. Feel free to add your own information, or make up something new.
What experience do you have ? // What do you know about the company ? // Have you ever had to work to a deadline ?
Tell me about yourself
I was born in …. and I graduated from …. University in 2014 with a major in Business Administration. Since then I’ve had two year’s experience in administrative work at ABC and XYZ Corporation.
I’m a very organised person, well-balanced and efficient. I’m hard-working and dedicated.
In my free time, I like to travel and I love to paint. Furthermore, I enjoy going out having coffee with friends.
What do you know about (COMPANY) ?
XXX are an established company with a good reputation. They help …….. and there are over (xx) sites in VN (or your country).
What are your strengths ?
I feel I am easy-going, hard-working, careful and diligent. I think my greatest strength is my positive outlook, even during times of stress. I can work under pressure and I really enjoy a challenge. Lastly, I like working in a team.
What are your weaknesses ?
Well, my English isn’t perfect, so this will be a great chance to improve. Maybe I can be a little quiet sometimes; that’s why working as part of a team will help bring me out.
Can you give an example of when you had to deal with an angry customer ?
One time, a customer didn’t like the price of a visa, and he began shouting and getting angry. I asked him if I could explain the reason. I then told him how it wasn’t our fault, but that I understood his anger and said sorry. Then I told him he could check elsewhere, but we would still be happy to serve him. He calmed down, said sorry to me and bought the visa and was happy.
Where do you see yourself in two years ?
My short-terms goals are to work hard and efficiently, so I can master this job. However, in the long-term, I would be interested in possibly doing more courses so I could be a manager.
What can you bring to the job ?
I’m very friendly and enjoy working with people. I always try to be happy at work and share my positive outlook. I’m very motivated and open to learning. I’m very excited about being a part of this great company.
Do you have any questions ?
May I just ask, what career opportunities are there at XXX ?
It is not a good idea to ask immediately about salary, money and bonuses, although this is an important part of the interview process.
Listening practice: A non-native speaker talks about a crime.
Reading exercise: Sherlock Holmes
Warm up game: Eyewitness
Crime and detection.Being an eyewitness.
Crime and Punishment
This is a famous book by the Russian author Fyodor Dostoevsky. Give students five to ten minutes to research information about him, then present it to the class. This practises extracting relevant information. Reading verbatim from Wiki or other sites is forbidden !
Warm up game:
Eyewitness: Show students a slide or picture of three people for two minutes. Tell them that today some computers were stolen from the office and these people were seen. Ask them to describe the people they just saw. Prompt for as much detail as possible. This will test the students’ ability to use adjectives and learn new vocabulary from each other:
Do you like detective shows ? Which are your favourites ?
The above shows are from USA, UK & South Korea. Detective shows are popular all over the world. Even famous film directors can write detective novels:
I was walking with a friend along Main Street, around 4 in the morning. The street was ………….quiet, just some tourists and a little traffic.
I was wearing a small bag, strung across my shoulder. A security guard was behind me, talking to a person in a car. …….., a motorbike came towards me on the pavement. He stopped, …………..my strap, then drove away.
Naturally, I shouted but it was too late; he was gone. My friend was worried but I told her it was OK, nobody was hurt. The ………of the bag were really worthless: pens, some medicine, a book, but also my designer glasses.
The security guard was comical in his incompetence. He shook his head, mouth open wide, and said, “It all ………. so quickly, there was nothing I could do.”
I should, …….. , have reported it to the police, that was the ……….. but people told me the thief would never be found. What I learnt from this unfortunate experience was to be very careful and never walk around with valuables.
The greatest of all fictional detectives, Sherlock Holmes, along with his loyal companion Dr. Watson, made his first appearance in Arthur (later Sir Arthur) Conan Doyle’s novel A Study in Scarlet (1887) and continued into the 20th century in such collections of stories as The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes (1894) and the longer Hound of the Baskervilles (1902).
New Vocabulary Practice:
What is the ……… for reporting a crime. (noun)
Most of what we learnt on the first day was ………… (adj)
His wife ……….. (verb) him of eating the cake but the real ….. (noun) was the dog !
Jet Mart had two cases of Tiger beer boosted (stolen). In Mr Wall’s house, there were two cases of Tiger beer but, his lawyer defended, this is not proof, merely ……….. …………….
good as gold / butter wouldn’t melt in his\her mouth / a little rascal / a handful
well-behaved / a little madam / a young gentleman / full of him\herself
What are the pros and cons (The benefits and drawbacks ) ofhaving children ?
Pros: makes us responsible / patient / sometimes they can be funny
they can enrich our lives
Cons: sometimes they misbehave ( are naughty) / no free time / they need a lot of energy / need a lot of money for toys, sweets, uniform, books, equipment.
Is there pressure from family to have children in your culture ?
Niece (girl) and nephew (boy) = children of my brother/sister
How would you describe these children ?
She has an angelic smile.
Remember – for sentence building, use adjectives and discourse markers (linking words or phrases). Never start with a pronoun (she, it, he, they) but say what the subject is – in this example, the subject is a girl. Now we can keep building up more information:
The girl has an angelic smile.
The young girl has blonde hair and an angelic smile.
The young girl, who has long straight blonde hair, has lovely big green-grey eyes, and is smiling angelically. She wears a multi-coloured T-shirt as well as some flowers around the neckline.
Now – your turn:
Here, you can also add some verbs and background information. Where do you think he is ? How is he feeling ? Who taught him this behaviour ? Do you think his mother is with him ?
These young gentleman attend a very expensive, possibly elitist, private school. Such schools are named ‘public schools’ in the UK. they include Eton, Harrow and Gordonstoun.
How would you describe the emotions / feelings of these people ?
FREE SPEAKING: What is a traditional wedding in your country ?
In the UK and many western countries, the bridegroom waits in the church next to the Best Man, who has the rings. The church music starts and the Bride walks down the aisle next to her father, who will ‘give her away.’ Behind the Bride are her Bridesmaids. The Vicar will start the service. At the end, the Bride and Groom kiss.
Pictures of typical UK wedding.
Identify Bride, groom, best man, vicar, bridesmaids, father of the bride.
The lady speaks slowly and clearly; try to understand without subtitles.
to consider / to decide / to weigh up (phrasal verb) / to mull over [all mean ‘to think about’]
let me sleep on it (idiom = need time to think).
the final call / the final decision on a subject
logistics (n) // logistical (adj) organising people at the same time.
co-ordinating // arranging things to happen at the same or at an arranged time
It’s a logistical nightmare ! (very hard to co-ordinate all the different factors).
likewise / also, in the same way
therefore / so, for that reason
value for money /deciding if something is good quality and good price.
a multitude / so many
not to mention / additionally, adding a stronger point (expression)
potential minefield / an area of possible dangers and serious trouble (metaphor)
There are a multitude of things to consider when organising a wedding. The tasks range from choosing the dress and accessories, to booking the cars and flowers, not to mention the potential minefield of the food. What do people like to eat, what do they hate ? Are they on special diets, do they have allergies, are they restricted by religious considerations ?
What sort of things have to be planned for a successful wedding ?
Put them in order of importance – if that is possible ! (they are ALL important)
These vary (change) from country to country, but a traditional UK wedding would be something like this:
A church for a Christian service (synagogue for Jewish, mosque for Moslems)
Vicar to perform the service
Bride and Groom
Bridesmaids and Best Man
Father of the Bride
Order of Service
The minister will give plenty of advice on hymns to choose, but order of service is basically broken into six parts:
Entrance of the bride,
Hymns, marriage vows and prayers
Hymn or psalm blessing
Signing the register
Leaving for the reception (party, lunch)
As the party leaves the church, the order should be bride and groom, chief bridesmaid and best man, bride’s mother and bridegroom’s father, bridegroom’s mother and bride’s father, bridesmaids and other attendants.
At the party or reception, people are usually told where to sit. Before the food, there are a number of speeches. Some are serious, but the Best Man usually makes a humorous one, saying funny things about the Groom :
This lesson is about Easter, a public holiday throughout many western countries. Unlike Christmas, Easter does not have an exact date (similar to Tet in Asia). This year, easter falls on Sunday April 12th.
The videos will introduce you to the celebration as well as teaching new words and expressions.
to experience – to feel something, to do something.
I have experienced Tet holiday in Viet Nam
resurrection – to come back to life after death.
festivities – things to do at parties or what happens on a public holiday
symbol – a sign or logo – yellow star is a symbol of Viet Nam, golden arches McDonalds
hang on a minute ! – stop and wait !
mythical – something that is like a legend, probably not real
coincides – happens at the same time. John’s wedding coincides with the World Cup.
break up – phrasal verb – to have a school holiday. The kids break up on the 24thJuly.
A miscellany of lesson notes aimed specifically at basic-level English
Grammar – adjectives // helping verbs // comparatives & superlatives // I used to // modal verbs // much or many ? // past tense exercises // possessives // relative pronouns // should or shouldn’t // some or any // I need // verbs – most common verbs present, past and past participle.
Vocabulary – new words and expressions
Vocabulary – film
Vocabulary – Kitchen
Vocabulary – what do you need ?
Speaking practice – introductions // repairs // future tense
If you meet a new friend or business acquaintance
Hello, how are you ? Very well, thank you, and yourself ? / I’m great
hot, cold, sweet, bitter, Vietnamese, weak, strong, expensive, Indian
Now add a reason – ‘because’, ‘as’
I love good strong coffee because it wakes me up and I also adore sweet Indian tea in the evening as it helps me to unwind.
Make longer sentences:
I like Sai Gon but I don’t like Ha Noi
I like films and I like games
My friend likes street food but he doesn’t like restaurants
Vocabulary – adjectives
standard / higher / / opposite / higher
good / brilliant // bad / terrible
beautiful / gorgeous // ugly / hideous
interesting / fascinating // boring / tedious
expensive / over-priced // cheap / bargain
modern / hip / trendy // old-fashioned / out-dated
gentle / calm // angry / hot-headed
big / massive / huge // small / tiny
important / significant // unimportant / insignificant
tiring / exhausting // relaxing / peaceful
Helping verbs: have / want / need /go / like
Subject + helping verb + infinite …..
I have to find my mobile phone // She goes to work // He needs to relax
Write sentences for these pictures:
He wants ….
She likes ….
Negative: He doesn’t …
Grammar – comparatives and superlatives:
big / bigger / biggest (-er / -est for small words)
interesting / more interesting / the most interesting (more / the most for longer words)
Sai Gon is bigger than Ha Noi
Chinese is the most difficult language to learn
London expensive Sai Gon
Thailand hot Canada
Moroccan food spicy French
Action films exciting rom-com (romantic-comedy)
I used to …
When I was young, I used to play football. Now I am too old !
I do NOT play football NOW. I played football when I was young
Write sentences. Example: When I was young, I used to read comics.
When I lived in Germany I used to …
This pen belongs to me, it is mine.
The laptop belongs to Jane, it is _______
It’s John’s book, it belongs to ______
We all work for HLS, it is ______ company.
Give this to Anna and Gary, it is _______
Grammar: modal verbs
Modal verbs are helping verbs that show
permission (sự cho phép)
possibility (khả năng)
can / could / have to / must / might / should
can’t / couldn’t / don’t have to / mustn’t / mightn’t / shouldn’t
1. Ted’s flight from Amsterdam took more than 11 hours. He must be exhausted after such a long flight. He might prefer to stay in tonight and get some rest.
2. Hiking in the mountains ______ be dangerous. You _____ research the route a little more before you start.
3. You _____ take your umbrella today. The weatherman said there’s a storm in Nha Trang and it ______ rain this afternoon.
4. When you have a small child, you ______ leave small objects lying around. Such objects _____ be swallowed.
5. I _____ believe she said that to the supervisor!
6. Jenny’s wedding ring is enormous! It ______ be very expensive.
7. Please water the plants. If they don’t get enough water, they _____ die.
Try to make sentences:
I need to…. She wants to… You have to… We like to … He hates to …
Much or many ? A little or a few ?
[a few = countable / little = uncountable]
Is there much work left ? I really want a little free time to run some errands.
There are ….. shops in the mall. I need to buy …… items
Is there ….. beer in the fridge, or do I need …… more ?
There are only a … millionaires inVietnam but they have so ….. money.
There are far too ….. karaoke singers. I need …….. peace.
PAST TENSE EXERCISE:
Complete the exercise with the verbs inside the box.
drink / fall / hurt / sell
spend / write
choose one of these verbs and use the past tense form
1. Mozart ……. more than 600 pieces of music.
2. ‘How did you learn to drive?’ ‘My father …….. me.’
3. We couldn’t afford to keep our car, so we ……. it.
4. I was very thirsty. I ……… the water very quickly.
5. Paul and I played tennis yesterday. He’s much better than me, so he ……. easily.
6. Don ……. down the stairs this morning and his leg.
7. Jim …….. the ball to Sue, who …….. it.
8. Ann …….. a lot of money yesterday. She ……. a dress. It ……. £100
Grammar – Present Perfect
Subject + have/ has + past participle
I have been to Ha Noi
She has visited London
They have seen that film so many times but (they) have never understood it.
I have read ‘My Sassy Girl 1’ although I have not read ‘My Sassy Girl 3’
(I haven’t read)
Have you read any good books recently ?
To talk about something in the past but not when it happened
He has looked at the report – YES
He has looked at the report last week – NO
(He looked at the report last week) just use simple past
Can use with ‘for’ and ‘since’
I have lived in HCM since 2010
I have lived in HCM for seven years
Exercises: Put these sentences into present perfect
I John (read) your email several times. John has read your email …. 2. She (wear) that skirt many times. 3. My family (visit) Brazil a few times. 4. I (eat) already. 5. Mia (finish) her homework. 6. You (break) the glass again. 7. They (pay) for everything. 8. It (never snow) like that. 9. I (meet) Anna once. 10. We (see) him before.
Grammar – Relative Pronouns:
who For people: This is the man who sold me the fake Rolex !
which For things: We tried fish and chips which is delicious.
where For places: Let’s go to the shop where we saw the great bargins.
Whose Possessive: That’s the singer whose record we heard last night.
The car, whose driver was young, won the race.
We arrived at a nice beach ______ we could swim and lie in the sun.
A man ______ mobile phone was ringing did not know what to do.
The patient, ______ had a serious disease, was taken to hospital immediately.
Smithsfield is a small village ______ people live a quiet life.
A boy ____ sister is in my class was in the bank at that time.
I know a person ____ can speak seven languages.
We visited the church _____ is in the middle of the square.
It is a protected area of land _____ you can see a lot of interesting wildlife.
This dress is made of silk, _____ is a very expensive and delicate material.
Grammar: should / shouldn’t
Complete the sentences. Use the verb in brackets. Sometimes the verb will be nagative Use contractions where possible.
It’s cold. You … a cardigan. (wear)
She’s always tired. She … to bed late every night. (go)
… now? (we / leave)
You … some fruit or vegetables every day. (eat)
The students … their mobile phones in the exam. (use)
You … the teacher to help you if you don’t understand the lesson. (ask)
People … fast in the town centre. (drive)
… the dress or the skirt? (I / buy)
Grammar: ‘some’ or ‘any’
we use ‘some’ for a statement
we use ‘any’ for a negative or a question
There are some great websites for learning English. PLURAL / countable
There is some Czech beer on sale at VinMart. PLURAL / uncountable
There aren’t any beer clubs near here
We don’t have any French cheese
Are they any good films playing ?
Do you have any English tea?
1 Do you have ______ questions about the new project ?
2 Let me give you _______ advice.
3 You don’t need to bring ____ pens or paper. There will be ______ print-outs available.
4 There will be _____ visitors from Germany coming. Do you know ____ German ?
Jim I can’t wait for Tet. Do you have any plans ?
Alf Of course ! I’m going to watch some films and get some rest.
Jim Have you bought any special food ?
Alf I don’t have any time for shopping. I’ve still got some beer. How about you ?
Jim I need to buy some fruit, some biscuits, and do I need any special food for Tet ?
Alf Absolutely ! You must buy some cakes and some sweets.
Jim Anything else ? I need some advise.
Alf Just make sure you have some beer. A LOT of beer. Cheers !
Grammar: I need
subject need (helping verb) infinite verb (to + verb) completion
I need to visit a dentist
She needs to stop buying clothes !
subject need (helping verb) article / determiner noun
He needs a laptop / I need the report
We need some overtime / She needs a bottle of water
I need tôi cần // I want tôi muốn
1 I ____ to visit Thailand. 2 He ______ to find a job now !
3 Her mother ____ her to get married. 4 Do you ____ to see Twin Peaks ?
5 She can’t go out, she _____ to finish her homework.
6 They _____ new shirts but they ______ to buy computer games instead.
Some items are essential (very important) Some are useful
Some are luxury items (don’t really need them)
EXAMPLE: I think a fridge is essential. However, a meat slicer is a luxury item.
What are they made of and what are they used for ?
EXAMPLE: A toaster is made of metal and is used to toast bread.
What do you need …. ?
What do you need to make pho ?
What do you need to ride a motorbike ?
What do you need for a party ?
What animals do you need for a zoo ?
What do you need to do before you go out ?
Sentence building – verb practice
REMEMBER: ‘to be’ is different:
I am busy / you are busy / she is busy
I was busy / you were busy / she was busy
I was quite busy / really busy / I was extremely, incredibly busy !
I have been busy / you have been busy / she has been busy
Look at this picture: describe what you see
First – what is the subject ? A man
What does he look like ? Adjectives
What is he wearing ? Colour, material, pattern
Where is he ? What is he doing ?
A young man with short dark hair, dressed in a dark suit, white shirt and black and white spotted tie is sitting in a restaurant or coffee shop. He is drinking from a small white cup. We know he is drinking damn fine coffee !
Write the subject first ( A young man ). THEN, you can use pronouns (he).
Write long sentences for one of these pictures.
Colin Good morning, I’m Colin.
Mike Pleased to meet you, Colin. I’m Michael but call me Mike.
Colin Thanks, Mike. Have you worked at ….. long ? (a long time ?)
Mike Yes, quite long; about five years. Oh, I like your phone.
Colin Thank you. It’s an LG which is much better, I think, than Apple.
Mike Where did you get it ? (buy it)
Colin Tokyo, where there are so many phone stores.
Mike I really want to go ! Have you met Ms Mi who works in HR ?
Colin Not yet … but she looks very pretty ! (gorgeous / adorable)
Ben Excuse me … is this seat taken ?
Fred I’m sorry ?
Ben May I sit here ?
Fred Oh,by all means. I’m Fred.
Ben Pleased to meet you, Fred. I’m Ben. Are you German ?
Fred Yes, from Berlin, which is the capital. I’m here for three days.
Ben Then you should go to Ben Thanh market where you can buy a Rolex.
Fred Too expensive. My job is great but the salary is terrible !
Ben Ms Na, who works in HR , has a Rolex. Only 400 000 VND.
Fred Really … ? Fake ?
Ben That’s it ! Made in China ! You have a meeting here ?
Fred Yes, with Ms Na; she is gorgeous and so adorable… is she married ?
Ben Yeah … she’s my wife !
Something is either working OR not working
The watch is working The watch is broken – it is not working
I am repairing it – it WAS broken, now it is working again. It has been repaired.
The motorbike is broken. It needs to be repaired / fixed / mended
The mechanic is repairing / fixing / mending the motorbike
It is repaired / fixed / mended
Peter Hi, Mark. How’s it going ? (how are you ?)
Mark Not bad. However, I have a problem. My laptop’s broken.
Peter Oh, dear. What kind is it ?
Mark It’s a PC (personal computer).
Peter Oh, I understand. They are good but sometimes are flawed.
Mark Where can I get it fixed? Do you know somewhere ?
Peter Sure, no problem. There are many shops near here.
Mark Can you take me ?
Peter Sorry, my bike has a problem. It’s not working.
Mark I’ll take a look. Maybe I can mendit. I enjoy fixing engines.
Peter Brilliant. It costs so much to repair a bike.
Mark And it costs so much to use Grabbike every day !
Dialogue practice (ordinal numbers, phrasal verbs, future tense)
Harry and Martin are chatting at work.
Harry What are you going to do tonight ?
Martin I will knock off about 6, then I’m going to the cinema.
Harry What are you going to see ?
Martin Not sure. My girlfriend’ll choose. I’m picking her up later.
Harry Sounds fun ! I’m going to drop off my laundry, then I’ll go swimming.
Martin What days are your taking off for Tet ?
Harry The 14th, 15th and 16th. Then I’ll come back to work.
Martin Why ? Do you have to finish off some work ?
Harry No, I want to start working on the 4th German project.
Now practice – in small groups or pairs, what are YOU going to do tonight or on your free day ?
After work, I will go to the cinema // This weekend I want to drink beer
Tonight, I’m going to meet some friends // I will hang out with my Thai girlfriend.
Use adjectives and extend the sentences:
After work, I will go to the big cinema at Diamond Plaza to see a new American movie.
On Saturday, I’ll (I will) meet my beautiful Thai girlfriend and we will eat delicious and healthy sushi.
What do we do when we go to the airport to catch a flight ?
Take a taxi/ buy a ticket / board the aeroplane / go through security
claim baggage / go thorough immigration / go though customs
check in / buy duty-free / pack your bags
You are flying from Sai Gon to Hue. Where do you go in the airport ?
What will you do at check in ?
What documents do you need ?
How can you check in ? Two ways …
What happens at security ?
Things you love, things you hate ! Try to make long sentences using adverbs and discourse markers (linking words such as furthermore, additionally, however, although etc)
What do you see here ?
Start with the subject or subjects.
What are they doing ? Where do you think they are ?
2nd December for 3rd December 2019 AEF Listening p. 72 & Review p. 103
This block of lessons is something of a mixed bag; there’s a long listening piece, a review with a chunk of text, and a printed scenario for speaking practice. Listening is perhaps the hardest. Consequently, the students can be less than engaged with the lesson, faces fall and participation plummets. Although my hands are tied – I have to teach this assigned lesson – I can endeavour to bring it alive, take it off the page and into context.
To kick off – let’s go over the highlighted text and focus on ‘less than’.
In plain English, I would say, “The students will be bored.” This is rather hard and sets a negative tone so, using British politeness, I soften the language. We practised a similar technique in a previous lesson. To recap, how would you describe this gentleman:
We can all see that the gentleman could benefit from going to the gym and maybe reducing his intake of unhealthy food, but we want to be polite and not blunt (or indeed, rude). Consequently, we would say:
“He’s not the thinnest man in the world.”
Here’s how it works – we take the negative adjective (here, and excuse the impolite word, it would be ‘fat’, maybe even ‘obese‘), then apply the opposite (‘thin’) and use it in the superlative form (thin, thinner, thinnest). We simply form the sentence by saying that the subject IS NOT the opposite superlative form – he IS NOT the thinnest man … Try these two for practice – there may be more than one negative adjective you could use:
Now, today’s expression (and expressions are vital for boosting students’ English up to the next level) – ‘less than’ – what sentences could you make here ? The subject could be the man, the film or, more generally, cinema today.
Examples: The man is less than excited by the film // The man is less than engrossed with the movie // The film is less than thrilling // Films today are less than intelligent.
This item comes from China:
Products from China are less than perfect // less than top quality // less than well-made. Finally:
Movin’ on; Tonight’s listening is about a ‘boys’ night out’. What do you think that means ? If they had a friend visit Sai Gon and he asks for a ‘boys’ night out’, where would they take him ?
How do you think this man spent his boys’ night out ?
And now for something completely different; what do you think of this man ?
What’s My Line. I will pretend to be this man answering questions truthfully, and the class have to guess what this man does.
Firstly, are the following true or false ?
This man is said to be worth $180 million.
He is married to the Queen’s grand-daughter
He was arrested in 2009 because the police thought he was a homeless person.
He travels a lot for work, around the world.
In 2016, he tried to become President of the USA
He has a Noble Prize for Literature in 2017 although he has only published two books.
Class must now ask open questions and from my responses, have to guess why I am famous.
He is, of course, a singer-songwriter, an icon of the 1960s, and still releasing music to this day.
Now the students chance. In small groups, they can select a famous person and the other team(s) have to guess who they are. We can limit the guessing to a certain number of questions, or fix a time limit.
A variation on this game is to have a student sit in front of the board and write a name behind them. The student has to ask question and the rest of the class can only answer ‘Yes,’ or ‘No.’ For example, I could write HARI WON and the student could ask:
Am I a man ? // Am I alive // Am I famous ? // Am I old ? // Am I on TV ? // Do I play sports professionally ? // Do I act ? // Am I in the news a lot ? // etc