Ring! Ring! Ring! After three months of going through the classified ads of his local Sunday paper, Alex finally got the call he was expecting for so long. He had been selected for a job interview. Why did it take him so long? Well, he hadn’t been able to apply to a lot of institutions because he did not fulfill all the requirements of their different positions. First, Alex was in his thirties and most of the jobs were for people in their early twenties. Second, most of the positions required Alex to have two or four years of experience. He had finished college two years ago and had just presented his thesis, and therefore, he did not have such experience. However, Alex’s perseverance paid off and he was awarded with an opportunity to demonstrate the world that he had all the skills and personal traits to succeed in anything he set his mind to.
The day before his interview Alex checked if he had everything ready. His shoes were as brilliant as a mirror and he had picked up his nicest suit from the laundry. He had also bought a new tie that matched the light blue shirt his grandma got him for Christmas. Then, he stood in front of the mirror rehearsing different handshakes and ways to introduce himself. He also went over the possible questions he might encounter at the interview and pretended to answer them as if he were practicing for an audition.
The expected day finally arrived. Alex woke up very early, took a shower, got dressed and went out without having breakfast. He was just too nervous to eat. He arrived at the building where the interview was going to take place thirty minutes early. Watching other people waiting to be interviewed for the same job made him more nervous and anxious. “Alex Costa, you go next.” said the receptionist. With a very timid “thank you” Alex headed to the office of the General Manager of the company he dreamt of working for.
The General Manager asked Alex about his educational background, why he wanted to work there, what his strengths and weaknesses were, what other interests he had and what his salary expectations were. Alex answered some of those questions in a very confident way. However, when talking about his strengths and weaknesses, Alex was afraid he might appear too vain or inappropriate for the job if he was too sincere. Also, when discussing his salary expectations, Alex didn’t want to sound too cheap, but he didn’t want to sound too unrealistic, either. All in all, the interview went well and Alex was sent to Human Resources where he had to take a little test.
What was the test about? He was given a booklet with different exercises. First, Alex had to draw several pictures. He remembered his friends telling him about these drawings and he followed his friends’ advice even though he didn’t see the purpose of drawing a line under a man since he was asked to draw just a man, not a man standing on the floor. Likewise, he didn’t understand why he had to draw a boat with the sea underneath it since the task was to draw just a boat, not a boat sailing on the sea. Then, he had to answer some questions about some hypothetical situations. For example, he was asked what he would bring to a desert island if he could only bring three objects. Trying to leave a great impression he answered all the questions without seeing the point of what they had to do with the position he was applying for. He didn’t believe that drawing a man or imagining he were on a dessert island made him a better or worse financial analyst. So, after handing the booklet with all his drawings and answers, Alex was told that they were going to call him within the next three days to let him know if he was the new asset of that institution.
Finally, after such a long morning, Alex went home a little more relaxed, prepared himself a nice late breakfast and the wait for the second magical “ring, ring, ring” had started.
1. fulfill (v) : to do or have what is required or necessary Ex: Students must fulfill the requirements stated in the bulletin board in order to apply for the scholarship.
2. in his thirties/ (twenties) (exp) : between the ages of 30 and 39 / (between the ages of 20 and 29) Ex: I think she must be in her twenties because she’s about to finish college.
3. pay off (v) : to turn out to be profitable, effective, successful Ex: His efforts finally paid off and he got promoted.
4. trait (n) : a characteristic, quality Ex: Being punctual is one of his best traits.
5. rehearse (v) : to practice a play, a piece of music, etc. in order to prepare it for public performance / to prepare in your mind or practice privately what you are going to do or say to somebody Ex: On her way to his interview Alex rehearsed what he was going to say.
6. head (v) : to move in a particular direction Ex: We were heading to the beach when the accident happened.
7. background (n) : the details of a person’s family, education, experience, etc Ex: His background was in advertisement.
8. strength (n) : a good characteristic or quality Ex: Patience is one of her strengths.
9. weakness (n) : a personal defect Ex: His greatest weakness is his lack of self – confidence.
10. Human Resources (n) : the department in a company in charge of employing and training people Ex: To apply for this position, send your resume to Human Resources.
11. booklet (n) : a small book usually having a paper cover Ex: The CD comes with a colourful booklet that contains photos of the band.
12. within (prep) : inside or not further than an area or period of time Ex: I will send the letter within the week (= before the end of this week).
13. asset (n) : a person or thing that is valuable to somebody/something Ex: Linda will be a great asset to our team.
Have you ever had any funny experiences at a job interview? What do you think about psychological tests? How do you prepare yourself for a job interview?
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¨Ring! Ring! Ring! After three months of going through the classified ads of his local Sunday paper, Alex finally got the call he was expecting for so long.¨
By reading the first line, we can infer that the word ring refers to the telephone. This is what we call onomatopoeias, that is, words that denote sounds of objects or animals.
Let’s go through some examples:
Zip: It is an example of onomatopoeia because it is the sound the zipper makes when you move the zipper
Boom: The classic sound when a bomb explodes. It denotes the sound.
Hiss: You’ll hear that sound when you are next to a snake.
Knock: Can you see who is at the door? I’m hearing the knocks coming from it.
Can you guess what objects or animals produce these sounds?