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10 Steps for Getting the Job you Want!

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Madrid resident Christopher Wright writes about how to succeed in job interviews. Do the activity first here: 10 Steps for Getting the Job you Want - Activity,

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Christopher Wright
Christopher Wright

Profesor de inglés de negocios y de inglés general imparte clases en empresas y a particulares en el centro de Madrid.
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The definitions of some words and phrases can be found at the bottom of the page and linked in the activity above.

10 Steps for Getting the Job you Want!

By Christopher Wright

There are no sure ways to guarantee that you get the job you want, but there are strategies and techniques that can certainly increase your chances. Here are ten steps that trainers recommend:

1. Research the Company (Section titles not in MP3)

First, so you’ve got the interview, how do you prepare? Well most of us adopt the “Chicken Researcher” approach, too embarrassed to speak to the company directly, relying on the Internet and asking friends. On the other hand the “Brave Researcher” wants to know about the company, the culture, their jargon and the type of people who work there. They call all the departments that communicate information about the company, such as Sales, Marketing, Public Relations and Human Resources. (For more on this type of vocabulary, see: Corporate Hierarchy) This critical information enables them to paint a picture in their minds of the exact culture and candidate profile the company is seeking. This picture is then used as a reference point for all their answers and “pacing”, discussed later in point 6.

2. Go alone

Second, go to an interview alone, you’ll get there faster and it looks incredibly unprofessional to arrive with someone. Get your support from friends and family before the interview.

3. Arrive on time

Third, arrive on time, not too early or too late. Why? Well, if you arrive too early, you’ll put pressure on the interviewer and they’ll react badly to this and resent you disturbing their work. Arrive late and you’ll start the interview with an apology and provide the interviewer with evidence that you’re not time conscious. Also starting with an apology puts you into a subordinate role in the interview as opposed to the role you want as an equal and possible future colleague.

4. Make a Good First Impression

Fourth, although we all consider ourselves open-minded and fair, we usually make judgements about people in the first 2-5 minutes of meeting them. So, how do we make the right first impression?

  1. A smile.
  2. Direct eye contact for trust.
  3. “Hello I’m (first name) (last name). It’s a pleasure meeting you”.
  4. A firm but gentle handshake.

5. Be Equal

Fifth, don’t take a subordinate role. Remember you’re talking to a potential colleague and an equal, you’re not asking for the job as a favour, you believe you have the skills and personality this company needs to continue being successful. There are two ways of viewing an interview, either as a problem-solving situation of “the interviewer and me against the problem” or as a confrontational situation of “the interviewer against me”. You decide. One good technique is, if the interviewer offers you the choice of where to sit, try and sit next to or beside the interviewer as opposed to a confrontational position of directly opposite.

6. Be like the Interviewer

Sixth, align yourself with the interviewer. Daniel Goleman, the famous author of “Emotional Intelligence,” talks about the powerful psychological impact of, “People like people who like them” and “People like people who ARE like them”. So how can we use this in an interview? Well, one technique to use is “Pacing.”

Pacing includes learning and using the company’s buzz words or jargon. Buzz words are popular words the company and its employees use when talking about the company or describing its products or services. Next use “Action Words” when answering. Action words are dynamic and energetic, it’s the language of achievers, examples include: “implement,” “initiate,” “persuade,” “effective,” “motivate,” “lead,” “innovate,” etc. Then try reading the body language of the interviewer and subtly copying some of it, but not all of it as it’ll become obvious. Finally, find an area of agreement and start to lead the interviewer toward the job offer. Lean forward in your seat slightly and try the phrases: “My background fits this position well,” “I’m excited about the position,” “I believe I fit the profile you are looking for,” “What you are offering looks like a long term position.”

7. Be Positive

Seventh, never ever criticise your previous employers. It looks incredibly unprofessional, inappropriate and tarnishes your image. Focus on past successes, not on the negative, it’ll enhance your image with the interviewer.

8. Flatter the Interviewer

Eight, flattery will get you everywhere. We all love to receive flattery and compliments as long as it’s natural and not fake. Use your research about the company to give compliments about the interviewer and their company. Be natural and concentrate on the things that the company has done or does that have impressed you.

9. Concentrate!

Nine, as the interview reaches its natural end you start to lose your concentration. Don’t! Maintain concentration and be as attentive as possible, continue listening for information, names, titles, buzz words, etc. to use in the second interview or follow-up letter! How? One technique is to drink a coffee before the interview to maintain your concentration for longer.

10. Make a Long-Lasting Impression

Ten, and finally, at the end of the interview you want to make a confident and long lasting impression on your interviewer. How?

  1. A smile.
  2. Direct eye contact for trust.
  3. The words, “It sounds like a great opportunity” or “I'll look forward to hearing from you.”
  4. A firm but gentle handshake.
Good luck!


Practice expressions from the text: Vocabulary Activity

Guarantee - A promise or something that insures that something else will happen.
Chicken Researcher - Someone who is afraid to meet or speak to people when researching.
Jargon or buzz words - Frequently used terms and words related to a specific sector, industry or career.
To paint a picture in your mind - Construct a detailed profile or image of something or someone in your mind.
To get your support - To find sympathy, help and encouragement (usually from friends and family).
To put pressure on someone - To strongly persuade someone to do something, causing anxiety.
To resent somebody - To remain angry with somebody about something that happened.
Apology - A word or phrase saying that you're sorry for something you've done.
Open-minded and fair - Willing to listen to and accept other ideas and treating everyone equally.
To make judgements about people - To form opinions about people.
To make the right first impression - To give a good image of yourself when you meet them.
A firm but gentle handshake - Shaking someone's hand in a positive and soft way.
Pacing - Matching or copying the speed at which someone talks, runs, walks, moves, etc.
Read the body language of somebody - To understand what somebody is thinking from their body movements.
Subtly - In a way that is indirect and clever, and not very noticable or obvious.
To lead the interviewer toward something - To guide someone towards a specific topic or issue in a conversation.
Lean forward - Move only your upper body closer to something or somebody.
Never ever - This phrase means "never," but with extra emphasis.
Tarnishes your image - Something that makes your image look bad.
To enhance - To further improve or increase the quality of something.
Flattery - To give someone compliments.
Fake - False and artificial.
A follow-up letter - This is a letter that you write after your interview to ask for or about more information about the job.


Do this activity to check your comprehension of the text:
10 Steps Jobs Comprehension Quiz.

Discussion Questions
(Email me your answers to

1. How would you change the 10 steps? Why?
2. In your opinion what is the key factor to having a successful interview?
3. When have you been most effective in an interview? What were the reasons for this?

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