vendredi 21 janvier 2011

Teaching Job Interview techniques

Yesterday I had the first meeting/lesson with my second 'client'. That is, a client for my 1:1 English lessons. I much prefer 1:1 or small groups rather than big classes. None of my classes are bigger than 12-15 students but for me that is still heaps!

As mentioned before, I teach BTS classes where we (myself and another teacher) have to help the kids write their CVs* and cover letters in English and help with job terminology and interviews, etc - all in English. Since it's far easier to get a job in France if you are bi-lingual it's an important skill to have.

Personally, myself, I have had hundreds of interviews. I'm not sure how many exactly but lots. Of these I've been interviewed for interesting positions in the head offices of large companies such as Apple (Aust), Toshiba (Aust), Hermès (Sydney/Aust) and Woolworths (the second largest private employer in Australia). Then, when I was unemployed they'd send me on all these job search training courses and mock interviews. Suffice to say, I'd like to think I now know a lot about job interviews!

So it was with much interest that I gave yesterday's lesson to this young man. He, like most people in my town, wants to work in Switzerland as the pay is double of what one earns here in France (for the same position). He said he'd been to 2 interviews already before and they were very impressed with his qualifications, skills and work experience but he was a little lacking in the English department. Even though it's only required for 20% of the job it's the main reason he didn't get those jobs so he said he really wanted to improve and wanted me to do a mock interview with him.

Now, it's not actually all that easy being on the other side for a change! I had to put the shoe on the other foot so to speak. (actually, one thing I've realised from going to so many interviews is that there are a lot of really shit interviewers!)

Anyway, he set up his iPhone to record our lesson/conversation/interview so he could refer back to it later. I didn't just help him with correcting his English grammar mistakes but actually gave him tips about what he could do or say in the interview as well.

It made me feel good on the inside to impart all this knowledge that I had accumulated over the years. When I was younger I hated interviews and used to be a nervous wreck with my stomach all knotted and twisted up but now it doesn't faze me so much anymore. Doesn't mean I'll always get the job (in fact I often don't) but I just take it all as one big learning experience.

* In France a résumé is not a CV because résumé means 'summary' which would just be the main points of your educational and professional background in one paragraph.

a job interview = un entretien (d'embauche)
CV/Résumé = CV
a cover letter = une lettre de motivation
Educational Background = Formation 
Professional Background = Expérience Professionnelle

(image from here).


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