What are employers looking for?

Most employers say that they wish to employ the right person for the right job. A recent report by Britain's independent Institute of Manpower Studies, however, disagrees with this. The report states that most employers wish to avoid employing the wrong person. Rather than looking for the right person, they are looking for applicants to turn down.

The report also suggests that in Britain and in many other parts of the world, the selection methods used to identify the right person for the job certainly do not match up to those used to evaluate a piece of new equipment. Recruiters used three main selection methods: interviewing, checking curriculum vitae or application forms against predecided criteria, and examining references. Most of the recruiters consulted in this survey stated that these selection methods were used more for "weeding out" unsuitable candidates rather than for finding suitable ones.

Interviews were considered to be more reliable than either curriculum checks or references from past employers. Research, however, proves otherwise. Interviewers' decisions are often strongly influenced by their previous assessment of the written application. Also, different recruiters interpret facts differently. One may consider candidates who have frequently changed jobs as people with broad and useful experience. Another will view such candidates as unreliable and unlikely to stay for long in the new job.

Some employers place great importance on academic qualifications whereas the link between this and success in management is not necessarily strong. Some recruiters use handwriting as a criterion. The report states that there is little evidence to support the validity of the latter for assessing working ability. References, also, are sometime unreliable as they are rarely critical, whereas checks on credit and security records and applicants' political leanings are often the opposite.

The report is more favourable towards trainability tests and those which test personality and personal and mental skills. The report concludes by suggesting that interviewing could become more reliable if the questions were more structured and focused on the needs of the employing organisation.

When you read an article, you can often guess the words you do not know from the con-text. Find words or expressions in the above article which have the following meanings:

1. reject (1)

2. assess, estimate (2)

3. a meeting between an employer, board of directors, etc and a candidate to ascertain by questioning and discussion the latter's suitability for a post (2)

4. predefined (2)

5. a written account of a person's education and work experience (2)

6. standards or principles upon which judgements are based (2)

7. eliminating people or things or unacceptable quality (2)

8. recommendation (3)

9. place a particular meaning on something (3)

10. practical acquaintance with any matter gained by trial (3)

11. proof (4)

12. slight tendency to favour one thing rather than the other (4)

13. ability to prepare oneself for specific purpose (by instruction, practice, etc) (5)

14. aptitudes and competencies appropriate for a particular job (5)

15. of necessity (5)



Exercise 2. Secret Message

Job Search


Unscramble each of the clue words.

Copy the letters in the numbered cells to other cells with the same number.

Read the secret message!



Exercise 3. Applying for a job

Put each of the following words or phrases in its correct place in the passage below.


references short-list experience vacancy qualifications application forms interview applicants apply fill in



In times of high unemployment there are usually very many (a)_______ when a (b)_______ is advertised. Sometimes large numbers of people (c)_______, and send off (d)_______ for a single job. It is not unusual, in fact, for hundreds of people to (e)_______ to a firm for one post. This number is reduced to a (f)_______of perhaps six or eight, from whom a final choice is made when they all attend an (g)_______. Very possibly the people interviewing will be interested in the (h)_______ the candidates gained at school or university and what (i)_______ they have had in previous jobs. They will probably ask for(j)_______ written by the candidates' teachers and employers.



Exercise 4. Choosing the right job

Put each of the following words or phrases in its correct place in the passage below.


commute salary prospects promotion retire ambitious perks increments commission pension


Job satisfaction is important but I have a wife and baby so I have to think about money too. If a job interests me, I need to know what (a)_______ it offers and also whether there are regular annual increases, called (b)_______. I want to know if I will receive a (c)_______ when I (d)_______ at the age of 60 or 65. If the job is selling a product, I ask if I'll receive a percentage of the value of what I sell, called (e)_______. It is also important to know if there are extra advantages, like free meals or transport, or the free use of a car. These are called (f)_______ or fringe benefits. Are the future (g)_______ good? For example, is there a good chance of (h)_______ to a better job, with more money and responsibility? Is the job near my home? If it isn't, I'll have to (i)_______ every day and this can be expensive. I am very keen to be successful. I am very (j)_______. I don't want to stay in the same job all my life.



Exercise 5. Where to look

You've decided you need a new job. Where do you start to look? What kinds of resources are available? Who are the best people to talk to?

The following text gives some suggestions which you might find helpful. But the sentences are not complete. Test your knowledge of the language of jobs by choosing the correct noun to fill the gaps.


Most jobs are advertised as current (position; application; vacancies). They appear in the local and national (press; bodies; resource), trade (contacts; journals; resource), and specialist career publications. In addition, many professional (bodies; contacts; agency) offer an appointments service which can help job seekers find a suitable (position; application; vacancies) in a particular (industry; ladder; schemes). Recruitment (bodies; contacts; agencies) hold details of a wide range of vacancies, and possibly local training (industry; ladder; schemes). The Internet is a valuable (press; journals; resource) not only for vacancies but to find background information on companies.

Approximately one third of jobs is never advertised, but may be found by approaching a company directly. This is called a speculative (position; application; vacancies), and is common among students starting at the bottom of the career (industry; ladder; schemes).

Finally, don't forget to use your personal (bodies; contacts; agencies).



Match the words on the left (1-5) with their definitions on the right (a-e).

1. resources a.jobs that no-one is doing that someone is needed to do

2. vacancies b.job, post

3. position c.companies which have details of jobs and details of the people who might want them

4. bodies d.things and people which can provide useful information

5. recruitment agencies e.organisations



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