Any questions they throw at you, we’ve got the answers.
Tomorrow’s the interview. And since you’re a job-search veteran, you’ve already got your well-pressed suit, spare pair of panty hose, extra resume, reliable alarm clock. You’ve also got a ton of nervous energy. Call it performance anxiety, and put it to good use by doing what actual actors do: rehearse.
Get a friend to take you through a mock interview, suggests Julie Adair King, author of The Smart Woman’s Guide to Interviewing and Salary Negotiations (Career Press, 1995).
If your pals say, “It’s midnight! You’re out of your mind!” make do with an electronic stand-in:
Record a few select phrases, then rewind, play back and assess: Do you speak clearly? Loudly? And with enough – but not too much – enthusiasm? (If you don’t have a tape recorder, practice in front of a mirror so that you can check out your gestures and body language.) We’ve made the practice session easy by listing the most common questions and the best and worst of all possible answers, conveniently coded to indicate what you’re doing right and wrong (see Interview Winners and Killers, below). And if, despite the careful prep, you still experience mental meltdown, we’ve devised a few on-the-spot rescues to bail you out.
a) Do speak with confidence
b) Do be specific
c) Do talk positively
d) Do research the company/industry
e) Do sound ambitious
f) Don’t be cocky
g) Don’t offer irrelevant information
h) Don’t sound negative
i) Don’t show up unprepared
j) Don’t be vague
1. Can you tell me something about yourself?
1) “I grew up in Michigan, with two brothers and one sister. Then I went to college in Atlanta. . . .” g
2) “Um, well. I’m not sure where to start.” i (But you can save by following up with: “What aspect of my background are you interested in?”)
3) “I’m a quick learner and a hard worker. For example, last month I taught myself Quark Xpress so I could complete a report in time for a visit from the shareholders.” a, b, c
2. What has made you want to leave your current position?
1) “I find my boss extremely difficult to work with.” h
2) “While I really like my job and I’ve been able to take on more responsibilities, there’s no room for me to advance at my company.” a, e
3) “It’s been three years and I haven’t been promoted.” h, f
4) “I’ ve always admired your company. I was particularly impressed by what I read in Sprocket News about the success of your new ad campaign.” d
3. Where do you see yourself five years from now?
1)”With a greater sense of responsibility, maybe supervising a department or overseeing larger projects such as the design of my own product line.” a, b, c
2) “I’d really like to be doing what you do.” f
3) “I haven’t really thought about it, but I hope to have a better idea of what I want to do by then.” h, i
4. What’s your biggest weakness?
1) “I often take on too many responsibilities, which makes me feel overwhelmed.” h
2) “I’m such a perfectionist that I become really impatient when other people don’t work as hard as I do.” f
3) “I can’t do long division in my head.” g
4) “I get so caught up in projects that I try to do everything myself.” h
5) “In the past, I felt nervous about speaking up in groups, but since I’ve started giving presentations at department meetings, I am now much more confident.” b, c
5. What’s your greatest strength?
1) “I don’t like to brag, so let’s go on to the next question.” f (You can save by saying: “But my last review commended me for . . .”)
2) “I perform well under pressure. For example, when the team leader on the January sales drive was sick for a week, I worked with her over the phone, helping to make our deadline.” a, b
3) “I am not afraid to be unpopular if that’s what it takes to get the job done.” f, h
4) “I’m always there for my friends. They know they can call me, even late at night.” g
6. Do you usually prefer working with others or on your own?
1) “Though I wouldn’t want to spend my entire day at meetings, I think you get the most done when you have a combination of brainstorming with others and working individually. For instance, when my group was told last year that we had only forty-eight hours to complete our entry for the Sprocket of the Year contest, we came up with individual proposals and then worked on the best one, putting together the winning Sprocket.” a, b, d
2) “On my own, I’m a firm believer in the saying, if you want the job done right, you should do it yourself.” f, h
3) “I like doing both. After all, there are times when you need to buckle down and hammer away on your own, and times when it’s important to be part of a team.” a, c
4) “I’m the team member who usually ends up leading everyone else. For instance, last year, after my boss made a mess of an account proposal, I took it over and made it presentable.” h, f
5) “I enjoy working on a team.” j
7. Can you describe the qualities you think a good boss possesses?
1) “Someone who is accessible to employees and is open to their ideas. For instance, my boss asked everyone for ways in which our standard Sprocket could be improved.
She read through all of our suggestions and ended up following many of them, including one of mine.” c, b, e
2) “Well, I can tell you what a bad boss is like because my last one was a good example of that.” h
3) “Someone who realizes that employees are people and is willing to let you take a mental health day off when you need one. For example, my car was stolen and my cat was sick . . .” i, g
8. What do you like to do in your spare time?
1) “I really like sports. Right now I’m on the company softball team, and I’m thinking about joining the community volleyball league this winter.” b, c
2) “What spare time? I’m so wrapped up in work that I just flip through a few magazines before I go to sleep.” f, h
3) “I like cooking and I’ve just learned how to make crepes. I’m hoping to master soufflйs next.” b, e
4) “I just got engaged, so nearly all my time is taken up planning for the wedding. You know, taffeta or silk? Band or DJ? And we’d like to start having kids soon, so I’ve been thinking about preschools . . .”. g, i
9. What attracts you to this company?
1) “I’ve heard the people here are really fun.” g
2) “I love your product, I am particularly impressed with the pockets-size Super Sprocket that doubles as an espresso maker for your car.” c, d
3) “I’ve read that this business is the one to get into.” j
4) “This company is the best in the field, for instance, I couldn’t help noticing that your Sprocket ’97 line is already on store shelves.” b, d
10. Why are you the right person for this job?
1) “Because of all my experience. Ever since I worked in a bookstore in college, I’ve been balancing books and watching the bottom line.” a, b, e
2) “What can I say? I’m available, and I’ll work hard.” g, h
3) “With my background working for a competitor, I’m aware of what this position requires and I know I have what it takes.” a, d
4) “You’ll have a hard time finding anyone better than me.” f, j
WHEN IT’S ALL OVER:
Thank the interviewer and emphasize your interest in the job. Then go home, peel off your hose, write out your thank-you note and BREATHE.
Compiled by Elena Aleyevskaya
How to Write a Dialogue
Before you begin writing a dialogue, you will have to do some planning. Think about the following things:
1. Who will your audience be? If you can build your routine around things that happen to that group of people, your audience will enjoy your act even more. Talk about activities that your audience does. Try to mention the name of at least one outstanding member of the audience for a personal touch that will make you special to them.
2. Choose a main idea on which to build the dialogue. Try to build it around the audience and the event or holiday.
3. Put your best part last and your second best part first. Fill the middle with quick, fast-paced lines. The figure should have short punchy answers for quick laughs. The figure should get most of the funny lines. The audience wants to hear everything the figure says; so if you want an important point to be remembered, let the figure say it.
4. Your figure could disagree with almost everything you do or say. The bigger the problem, the more the audience will become involved. The solution to the conflict should come to a surprise finish. Make a conflict between you and your partner that is fun to hear.
5. Be aware of the character of your vent figure to make your routine believable. Communicating this to your audience will help them to empathize with your little partner. A ventriloquist has to be a good actor and be aware of two or more characters at the same time.
6. Keep your lines “squeaky-clean” so they can be rated G. The only person that should be humiliated or picked on should be you. Think of good, creative, clean jokes that will follow the theme and fit your character’s personality. You can change old jokes to fit the situation.
7. Always try to create your own ideas. Never copy another person. You can use a similar idea, but make yours different and better.
8. Many ventriloquists like to end a dialogue with a song. Audiences love to hear figures sing. They don’t expect the figure to have a beautiful voice; so if you can’t sing well, it doesn’t matter. Make the song follow the theme of the dialogue. You can even change the words of a familiar song to make a funny parody.
9. It is extremely important to stay within the performance time given to you. Keep your routine fast paced. Don’t let it drag! Try to end your act with your audience wanting more.
10.Have fun and enjoy the compliments!
Before you begin to study serious texts about British and American history and culture give your pupils a chance to check their general knowledge of these countries. You can do it in the exciting form of a competition. Divide your class into two equal teams. One team will represent the United States of America and the other – Great Britain. The pupils will need some coloured pencils and big sheets of paper. Invite the pupils to move the furniture, and to arrange comfortable places for their teams in the classroom. Now you can give the teams their tasks. There is a long list of questions with multiple choice answers. One team will write out the correct answers about the USA and the other about Great Britain. Pay special attention to tasks 3 and 4. Each team must draw a world map, as well as they remember it, and show the country they represent on it. They must also draw the flag of the country. After they have finished with the tasks, ask them to make a little presentation and to read out all the answers. Count all the correct answers and you will have a winner. Don’t forget about the prizes! If you can’t afford world cruise tickets for your winners, give them badges, postcards, or just certificates. The team which has got less correct answers worked hard, too. Mind that.
1.What English-speaking countries do you know?
2. English is spoken in
Great Britain Austria
England New Zealand
3. Make a world map and show Great Britain/the USA on the map.
4. Draw the flag of Great Britain/the USA.
5. Great Britain/the USA consists of:
6. The capital of the country is:
7. The biggest rivers in Great Britain/the USA are:
8. These cities are situated in the country
9. When people travel to this country they want to see
the Big Ben
the Statue of Liberty
the White House
10. These famous people lived in this country:
Robert Louis Stevenson
11. We all know the characters of the famous fairy tales and books which came from this country:
Winnie the Pooh
12. The national sports in the country are:
YES Club Christmas Activities“NOW TO THE LORD SING PRAISES,
ALL YOU WITHIN THIS PLACE”…!
It seems to me, this year a lot more people remembered, that “Christ our Saviour was born on Christmas Day”, and eagerly shared “tidings of comfort and joy”. The YES Club and the Shakespeare Theatre of School No. 1876 sent three ghosts, of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come, to DINTERNAL Bookshop “Anglia”. On the cold Saturday, December 19, we warmed the hearts of the audience with a musical performance of “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens, framed with traditional English carols, and even African-American Spirituals.
Wonderful, sacred music of carols suits the mood of the day perfectly. What a pleasure it is to sing worship to Christ with such sweet melodies. Hearts rejoice, and Love wins its victory over Evil. Spirituals bear real happiness and glory, that brings us to a merry dance.
On December 23rd YES Club members, together with other fans of English music, were taken on a tour around Old England. The ensemble “Renaissance”, organized by the choirmaster Elena Pronina, 3rd year Conservatory student, guided the charming musical trip. The director, Yakov Gubenko, helped to gather all in the temple of music – the Musical Culture Museum named after M.I. Glinka. Evgeniya Kriuk, Ekaterina Maksimova, Irina Dyndar, Anna Iniakina and others sang madrigals by Thomas Morley, John Wilby, Henry Purcell; whereas Dmitry Illarionov, the guitar player, conveyed the spirit of John Dowland’s Galliards. For the first time we admired truly English polyphonic singing skillfully performed. We hope to meet the singers in our Club some day.
The magic of the carols charmed us so, that we decided to sing for people in the street right on December 24th, Christmas Eve. As it was a bit windy, we chose the underground crossing from Pushkinskaya Square to Tverskaya Street where our dear readers could have heard our unprofessional but enthusiastic singing. To our enormous delight, passersby joined us, and some shared their musical predilections: two Art Theatre Drama School students sang Russian and Ukrainian polyphonic songs. People really felt it was a holiday, though Christmas in Russia is celebrated in January. We guess Jesus Christ is born into this world every day when our souls sing praises to Him. We liked reminding people of Him, even if it is a bit early according to tradition.
But don’t think we forgot our custom of singing carols at Christmas Midnight Mass at St. Andrew’s Church! Certainly not! We were right on time there – to take the best places near the piano and the orchestra. The latter was much better this year, with a number of flutes, trumpets and cellos. Processional Hymn of the 18th century was followed by Franz Grueber’s (1787–1863) “Silent Night”, “O Little Town of Bethlehem”, to a traditional English melody, then “The First Noлl ”, the English traditional carol, “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing Glory to the New-Born King! ” by Mendelssohn, and “Christians, Awake! ” by J. Wainright (1723–1768). I am sure you feel the temptation to join us next Christmas! Feel free to call and come!
To sum it all up, the singers, students of School No. 1876, went on singing in classrooms around the school with the main star, Yulia Gennadievna Savelieva, the Little Prince, Pavel Stroilov, and his two planets: Maria Makarova and Vera Levitskaya.
Join us!By YES Club Adviser Olga Boltneva