[Listening Difficult] Job Interview – KEY

Pre-Listening Exercise

What kinds of questions do businesses ask potential employees during job interviews?


dead-end job” = a job that provides no chance for promotion or advancement
This is a real dead-end job, so I’m thinking about quitting soon.”

on the job” = while working
Doug was always texting on the job, so the boss fired him.”

Listening Exercise

A. Listen to the recording and answer the questions.

Woman: Hi. Thanks for coming to the interview today. It’s nice to meet you.

Man: Well, thank you.

Woman: To begin with, why don’t you tell us a little about yourself?

Man: Okay. Um, yeah. I’ve always been interested in teaching in a language program like this, and uh, I graduated with a degree in English and psychology eight years ago, [ Oh, really, both? ]. Yeah, and uh then I landed my first job overseas in Japan.

Woman: Oh, wow. That’s pretty impressive. What did you do there? What kind of work?

Man: Well, I worked full time, um, for a private language school in Tokyo for the first two years, and then I found a job at a community college.

Woman: Oh really? So, exactly what did you do in your work there then?

Man: Well, I taught English and, uh, culinary arts.

Woman: You taught cooking classes?

Man: Well, well, I know it sounds like an unusual combination, but I completed a program in culinary arts before I got my, uh, English and psychology degrees.

Woman: Oh, Wow. You’ve done a lot, haven’t you? [ Yeah. ] So, what exactly, um, how did you teach and what exactly did you do?

Man: Well, um, many of my students wanted to become chefs in restaurants, or they wanted to start their own restaurants, uh, and in our area, there were many, uh, tourists tourist spots. A lot of tourists came to that particular area, and so with English, they would be able to communicate not only with suppliers, you know things that they need for restaurant’s food and so forth, but also with their customers, and so I taught them English and cooking at the same time.

Woman: Wow. That’s, that’s pretty impressive. That’s interesting. [ . . . and tasty.] Oh, I bet. So, why did you return to the United States? How long have you been back?

Man: I’ve been back for, uh, probably about a year now.

Woman: Okay, so what brought you back then?

Man: Well, one of my former students opened a sushi restaurant, uh, in town, and he asked me to work with him.

Woman: Really? What’s the name of the restaurant?

Man: Well, it’s called Flying Sushi. Have you ever heard of it?

Woman: Yes, I’ve been there. Their food is fabulous; it’s top-notch. It’s really hard just to get a reservation there.

Man: I know, and uh, well, I work there two weeknights, and uh, and then . . .

Woman: So, two nights a week you’re working there still?

Man: Right, right, but then, but . . . I want to return to teaching. I’ve also been working as a therapist at a treatment center for teenagers struggling with depression and other mental health disorders.

Woman: Oh, wow, that would be a really interesting job.

Man: It is, it is.

Woman: Wow. You have such a wide range of experience. Uh, you know, to be honest, we have fifteen people who are applying for this position. You’ve got quite a background, but why don’t you tell me three reasons why you would be the best person for this job.

Man: Um, well, first of all, uh, I understand that different students have different learning styles, and for that reason, I have used iPads, video, music, cooking, drama, role plays, and games to reach every student. [ That’s good. ] And second, I have a background in academic and psychological counseling and advising [ Uh, huh ] . . . skills that are often needed, you know, in working with international students.

Woman: Yeah, that could be really useful.

Man: Yeah, so you know, many of them struggle with, uh, emotional turmoil, you know, home sickness . . . .

Woman: Yeah, coming to a new place . . .

Man: Right, so making the transition can be very overwhelming, and uh . . .

Woman: Good. So, what would you say would be a third reason?

Man: And finally, I speak four different languages . . . .

Woman: Four? Wow! What languages do you speak?

Man: Well, I speak Spanish, Portuguese, and Japanese at an advanced level. [ At an advanced level? Wow. ] And I also speak Arabic at a high-intermediate level.

Woman: That’s very, very impressive. You do have an impressive resume.

Man: Thank you.

Woman: Uh, what we’re doing . . . we’re going to have two rounds of interviews, and we will contact you on Friday and let you know whether or not you’ll be coming back for the second round of interviews.

Man: Okay.

Woman: It’s been really nice meeting you, and thank you for your time.


Vocabulary and Sample Sentences

  • land (verb): find a job 
    – My father was able to land a very good job immediately after he graduated from college.
  • impressive (adjective): making a strong impression, great, wonderful 
    – The job offer wasn’t that impressive, so I didn’t take it.
  • culinary arts (noun): cooking, the preparation of food for meals 
    – This college offers a great culinary arts program if you are interested.
  • tourist spot (noun): a place where tourists visit things of interest such as museums, scenery, or shopping areas 
    – Hawaii is a fantastic tourist spot if you enjoy surfing.
  • fabulous (adjective): great, wonderful 
    – How did you land this fabulous job with so little experience?
  • top-notch (adjective): of the best quality 
    – This school’s business program is top-notch, and for this reason, it is hard to get in.
  • struggle (with) (verb): try hard to do something 
    struggled to find a new job for one year.
    How long have you struggled with that terrible work schedule?
  • depression (noun): a very sad or hopeless feeling or mental state 
    My brother has struggled with depression for a long time.
  • disorder (noun): a mental condition that is not normal 
    Some international students struggle with emotional disorders when they live overseas.
  • turmoil (noun): a state of confusion 
    The company has been in serious turmoil since the president quit suddenly.
  • transition (noun): a change from one condition to another 
    The transition from a language program the university can be difficult for some students.
  • overwhelming (adjective): a feeling that something is so difficult or confusing that you cannot do it 
    The job was so overwhelming for James that he only lasted two weeks in the job.
  • bliss (noun): perfect happiness 
    Running long races isn’t all bliss. There are times when you feel terrible, and you want to quit.