Most Common Job Interview Questions part 3

“If you are insecure, guess what? The rest of the world is too. Do not overestimate the competition and underestimate yourself. You are better than you think.” — T. Harv Eker

11- What is your dream job?

Ideally, your response to the question should reference some elements of the job at hand. For example, if the position is a salesman job, you might say that your dream job would have a high level of interaction with customers. 

You can also focus on your ideal company culture and work environment. For instance, you might say you’re eager to work in a collaborative environment or to be a part of a passionate team. 

Another option is to frame your answer around the industry. For example, if you are applying for a job at an accounting company, you can mention your passion for numbers. 

12- When can you start?

The best way to answer is to be truthful and clear while providing the employer the earliest possible date that you could realistically and comfortably start the job.

If you’re currently employed, say you’re available to start after your notice period with your current employer ends. Never leave for a new position without giving your current employer proper notice.

If you’re unemployed, you still shouldn’t say you’re available to start the next day, just say you’d need one week to prepare yourself. Saying you’re able to start immediately implies that either this job is your first choice, or that your job search isn’t going very well. This can hurt your negotiating power if you receive a job offer.

After providing your answer, you can ask if that fits their timeline, and you can tell them that you’re willing to discuss and adjust based on their needs, for example, “I’m able to begin my next job two to three weeks after being offered a position. Does that fit with the timeframe you have in mind?”

13- Are you willing to relocate?

If the answer is yes, try focusing on what makes this role special to you and your attachment to its location or situation, you convince the interviewer that you’d fit right in, for example, “I’m really excited about this opportunity and feel I could provide great value in this role. I would definitely be open to relocation and look forward to learning more details around this.”

If you really want the job but struggle to commit to relocating, you have to figure out the best way to break that news to the interviewer without hurting your chances. You’ll need to express your conditions clearly before signing up for something you can’t follow through on later.

However, if you might be open to relocation but don’t love this job enough to move for it, it’s probably best you don’t get it and keep your options open for better opportunities in your area.

But if you actually really like the job but want (or need) a little leeway, consider taking the approach of learning yes, but with the caveat that if possible you’d like to stay where you are—or be compensated if you do move. This way, you set yourself up to discuss your options, should the hiring manager decide they like you enough to be flexible on relocation.

14- What do you like to do outside of work?

This is an interview question that can provide insight into how you’ll fit in with other members of the team; it can also provide insight into your personal priorities. Another purpose of this question, however, may be to gauge how you would react to the unexpected.

Don’t be tempted to fib and claim to enjoy hobbies you don’t. Focus on activities that indicate some sort of growth: skills you’re trying to learn, goals you’re trying to accomplish. Weave those in with personal details. For example, “Work and family accounts for a lot of my time. On the weekends, we like to get out to the beach or the park and enjoy nature. It’s a good way for us to reset before tackling the workweek, and a great way to get exercise. I also really like languages, so I’m using my commute time to learn German.”

15- What is your work style?

What interviewers are trying to understand is how well you’ll fit in with the current company culture. 

Keep your answer personal, humble, honest.

Give strict examples if you can but keep it brief. Take the qualities that you feel will make you stand out and put them into the answer instead. You can emphasize the qualities of your work that you appreciate as well.

There are a few traits that can be used to describe a person’s approach.

Cooperative workers do best when they are part of a group. They enjoy bouncing ideas off of others and incorporating feedback. Additionally, diplomacy and relationship-building are common skills for these professionals.

Independents tend to have a lot of self-discipline and may have strong research and problem-solving skills, allowing them to find their own answers when they encounter obstacles.

Another pairing is whether you consider yourself creative or logical. 

Creative types may be better equipped to find unique solutions to problems. They also tend to be thoughtful, highly emotionally aware, and very expressive.

A logical person may be more detail- or data-oriented. Strategic thinking could be a strength, as well as organization and planning.



WEEKLY VOCABULARY 🗣

Free time: time when you do not have to work, study, etc., and can do what you want.

Unexpected: not expected or regarded as likely to happen.

Difference: a point or way in which people or things are not the same.

Cooperative: involving mutual assistance in working toward a common goal.

Cautious: careful to avoid potential problems or dangers.


PHRASAL VERBS

Check somebody/something out

“The company checks out all new employees.”

Figure something out

“I am going to figure out this math problem.”

Find out

“Did you find out why Jason got fired?”

Pay for something

“People earning low wages will find it difficult to pay for childcare.”

Sort something out

“We need to sort the bills out before the first of the month.”


IDIOMS 📒

The blue-eyed boy: a person who can do nothing wrong.

Work all the hours that God sends: work as much as possible.

Get off on the wrong foot: start off badly with someone.

Beat around the bush: not say exactly what you want.

Get your feet under the table: get settled in.




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Employment Vocabulary

Full-time: employment at or above a certain number of hours. In most places, full-time work means either 30+ or 40+ hours per week.

 

Part-time: employed for or occupying only part of the typical working day or week.

 

Temporary employment: a limited period of time, approximately several weeks or months, perhaps covering for someone sick or on a leave period.

 

Casual employment: an employee is only guaranteed work when needed, and there is no expectation that there will be more work in the future. 

 

Freelance: working for different companies at different times rather than being permanently employed by one company.

 

Self-employed: working for oneself as a freelancer or a business owner rather than for an employer. 

 

Remote employee: someone who is employed by a company but works outside of a traditional office environment. That location can be your bedroom floor, a home office, or your favorite cafe.

 

Fixed-term employment: a contract in which an enterprise hires an employee for a specific period of time, but the employee is not on the company’s payroll. Usually, the contract is for a year but can be renewed after the term expires, depending on the requirement. 

 

Outsourced: a company hires a third party to perform tasks, handle operations or provide services for the company.

 

Zero-hour contract: a type of employment contract whereby the employer is not obliged to provide any minimum number of working hours to the employee. This is typical in fast food chains when the employee might get 10 hours one week and 15 the next, but this is at the choice of the management.

 

Project-based: employed for a period of time until a project is completed, and then you wait to see what is offered or move on to the next project.

 

Flextime: a system of working a set number of hours with the employee’s starting and finishing times chosen within agreed limits.

 

Shift work: work comprising set periods of time, and different groups of workers perform their duties at other times of the day and night, for example, nurses, cops, firefighters.

 

Overtime pay: money earned at an increased rate for working more than the usual number of hours in one week.

 

Holiday pay: any form of paid time off, such as a government-declared holiday, maternity leave, or sick time off.

 

A wage paid by the day: the amount of money earned for one day’s work.

 

Working conditions: things that will affect the quality of your work (working hours, rest periods, work schedules, quality of your working space, sick pay, etc.)

 

Benefits: items and services offered by a company on top of monetary compensation, for example, medical insurance, dental insurance, retirement benefits, disability insurance, paid time off.

 

Wage continuation: any payment that consists of the same wage amount and employee benefit package that is paid to an individual when services are no longer being performed as was paid when services were being performed.

 

Pay slip: a note given to an employee when they have been paid, detailing the amount of pay given, and the tax and insurance deducted.

 

Redundancy pay: the amount of money received to compensate for being asked to leave (made redundant) because your job is no longer needed.

 

Unemployment benefits: payments made by the state to an unemployed person who meets the required conditions.

 

Internship: a temporary work program offered by an organization to an individual, often a student or recent graduate, looking to build experience or skills in a particular field.

 

Apprenticeship: a fixed period of time during which an apprentice is trained.

 

Sick leave: absence because of illness.

 

Pink slip: a notice of dismissal from employment.

 

Employee roster: a schedule with a list of employees, and associated working times and/or responsibilities for a given time period, for example, week, month, or season.

 

Skeleton-staff: the minimum number of employees needed to operate a business during a vacation, weekend, or other period when people do not normally work, or full staffing is not necessary, for example, Sundays or public holidays.



WEEKLY VOCABULARY 🗣

Wage: a fixed regular payment, typically paid on a daily or weekly basis, made by an employer to an employee, especially to a manual or unskilled worker.

Occupation: a job or profession.

Overtime: time in addition to what is normal, as time worked beyond one’s scheduled working hours.

Free time: time available for hobbies and other activities that you enjoy.

Negotiation: discussion aimed at reaching an agreement.

 

PHRASAL VERBS

Hurry up

“You must hurry up, or you’ll be late today.”

Contract out

“They got a contract out on me!”

Hold of

“John worked as a bank economist as well as continuing to hold the position of vice-president.”

Deal with

“I’m not sure how to deal with my manager.”

Have to do with

“My question has to do with last week’s assignment.”

 

IDIOMS 📒

Bang-up job: very good or excellent work.

Dead-end job: a job where you don’t see any opportunity for growth, getting a promotion, or building a successful career.

Golden handshake: a big payment made to people when they leave their job.

Golden parachute: a large payment made to a senior company executive who has been forced to leave their job.

Nine-to-five: used to describe work that begins at 9:00 a.m. and ends at 5:00 p.m., usually from Monday to Friday. The term generally implies a stable job in an office.



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Most Common Job Interview Questions Part 2

“One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation.” — Arthur Ashe

 

6- What are your salary expectations?

Working out the best way to answer this job interview question requires careful consideration – because you need to avoid sounding unrealistic while at the same time making sure that you do not seem indifferent.

The number one rule of answering this question is: Don’t say a specific number or even a narrow salary range that you’re targeting. Figure out your salary requirements ahead of time. Do your research on what similar roles pay by using sites like PayScale and reaching out to your network. Be sure to take your experience, education, skills, and personal needs into account, too.

Stay realistic and focused, taking into consideration your salary from your current or previous job. 

Tell them that you’re focused on finding the best-fitting role and that you don’t have a specific target salary in mind yet.

 

Let’s see some examples, 

 

“At this point in my job search, I’m focused on finding the position that’s the best fit for my skills and career. Once I’ve done that, I’m willing to consider an offer that you feel is fair for the role.”

 

“I’m currently earning a base salary of $55,000. I don’t have a specific number in mind that I’m targeting for this next position, though, and I’m willing to consider an offer that you feel is fair.”

 

“My priority in my job search is to find a position that’s a great fit and will allow me to continue learning and becoming more skilled, but I do not have a specific number in mind yet.  That said, I did some baseline research into salaries for this type of role here in Montevideo and found that the average seems to be in the US$ 50,000 to US$ 60,000 range, so if your job is within that range, I think it makes sense to keep talking.”

 

7- Where do you see yourself in five years?

An employer is usually looking for people who know how to find solutions to any problems. But, the main issue of this question is to understand how your career goals and ambitions fit with the company’s plans.

Be honest and specific about your future goals. Pick a work-related plan of where you’d like to be five years from now, and make sure it’s slightly challenging or ambitious-sounding. Make sure to share a goal that is related to the type of job you’re interviewing for. You want to sound like the experience you’ll gain in this job fits your long-term goals.

 

For example, 

“In 5 years, I hope to sharpen my skills in two specific areas of teaching: technology in the elementary classroom and social-emotional learning. I would love to become an expert in those areas so I can use technology as a literacy tool to create a more inclusive learning environment for elementary school children, mainly with those with TDAH.”

 

Wrong answer examples: 

“Though I am entry-level, I want to be CEO in five years.” or “There are so many talented people here. I just want to do a great job and see where my talents take me.”

 

8- What are your greatest strengths?

You have to reply explaining your strengths and how your skills can represent real added value for the company. You can answer using phrases like the ones below, remembering always to contextualize them. In other words, don’t rattle off a list of adjectives. Instead, pick one or a few specific qualities relevant to this position and illustrate them with examples. Stories are more memorable than generalizations. 

 

For example, “I’m what you call a ‘people person’, and I truly believe that it is this quality that has led to my success as a salesperson. I not only met but exceeded my sales targets every quarter for the four years I’ve worked in sales. In one memorable exchange, a client told me she picked our company for a big contract because I remembered that her son was sick the week before and took the time to ask about him. She said it showed that our company made client care one of our top priorities – which was true.”

 

9- How would you describe your ideal boss?

This is another question about finding the right fit – both from the company’s perspective and yours. Be honest in your answer, but try to be as positive as possible. Think back on what worked well for you in the past and what didn’t. What did previous bosses do that motivated you and helped you succeed and grow? Pick one or two things to focus on and consistently articulate them with positive framing (even if your preference comes from an experience where your manager behaved oppositely, phrase it as what you would want a manager to do). Focus more on high-level attributes, not stuff that’s in the weeds. If you can, give a positive example from a great boss as it’ll make your answer even stronger.

 

For example, “I like a manager who’s more hands-off when it comes to day-to-day responsibilities because I believe that a manager that empowers employees to do better and gives them the trust to problem solve on their own allows them to be more successful.”

 

Wrong answer examples,

“Actually, I “work well with any kind of person.”

“The most important attribute in a boss, in your opinion, is someone who only emails you in the mornings.”

“I want a boss who takes me out to drink to celebrate big achievements.”

 

10- Do you have any questions for us?

Asking questions shows interest in the position and shows employers that you’re looking for the right fit, not just any job. This will make them trust you more and want you more.

It also allows you to get a sense of the company atmosphere, where the company’s going, and if it’s the right fit for you.

You can ask about the responsibilities, training, the overall direction of the company, the biggest challenges for someone in this position, new projects, products, clients, or growth plans.

Don’t ask about salary, benefits, time off, or anything unrelated to the job offer. Wait for them to bring it up, or until you know, they want to offer you the position.

 

WEEKLY VOCABULARY 🗣

Experience: (the process of getting) knowledge or skill from doing, seeing, or feeling things.

Take initiative: be the first to take action in a particular situation.

Candidate: a person who applies for a job.

Contribution: the part played by a person or thing in bringing about a result or helping something to advance.

Personal development: any skill that you want to develop to improve yourself.



PHRASAL VERBS

Rely on

“I am someone you can rely on.”

Go ahead

‘May I start now?’ ‘Yes, go ahead.’

Think back

“When I think back on my youth, I wish I had studied harder.”

Get back 

“It’s too late. I need to get back to work.”

Depend on

“It depends on the job, but what I want to see is competency in your role.”



IDIOMS 📒

Baptism by fire: a difficult task given right after one has assumed new responsibilities.

Be in seventh heaven: extremely happy.

Be snowed under: be extremely busy with work or things to do.

You snooze, you lose: if you delay or are not alert, you will miss opportunities.

Whistle in the dark: To be unrealistically confident or brave; to talk about something of which one has little knowledge.

 

 

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5 Secrets to Making an ATS-Friendly Resume

5 Secrets to Making an ATS-Friendly Resume

“Start by doing what’s necessary, then what’s possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” – Francis of Assisi

Many companies use resume screening to weed out applicants that may not be an excellent match for a job in today’s competitive hiring climate. Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) are software programs that scan resume content and use an algorithm to search for keywords (skills, job titles, educational background, prior work experience, former employers, etc.)

Unfortunately, 70% of job applications get disqualified by the applicant tracking system without being read. This statistic emphasizes how important it is to tailor your resume to the job you are applying for.

Do you want to get to the interviewing stage? Let’s check these 5 tips for converting your resume into an ATS-Friendly one and make it an excellent read for the actual human recruiter.

1- Customize your resume for each employer, choosing proper keywords

The most important element —beyond tailoring your resume so it can be accurately ‘read’ and parsed by the ATS— is keyword optimization.

Let’s suppose you are applying for a tax and legal services manager position. 

Your resume summary writes: “Highly-driven tax manager with 5+ years of financial experience in managing tax returns and affairs. Proven experience of success, employer satisfaction, and strong communication skills. Excellent written and spoken English.” 

ATS reads:

“Tax manager”

“5+ years of experience” 

“Tax returns and affairs”

“Employer satisfaction”

“Strong communication skills” 

“Excellent written and spoken English.”

Then, matches it to their list of requirements: 

CHECK: tax manager

CHECK: 5+ years of experience

CHECK: employer satisfaction

CHECK: communication skills

NOT CHECK: Legal services

NOT CHECK: Analytical skills

NOT CHECK: Microsoft Office 

If your resume doesn’t match the essential list of requirements, it’s automatically discarded.

Remember, the best indicator of which words they’ll search is the job description. Include the job title in your resume headline if possible. Then notice which hard skills—learned skills based on experience and training—appear early or multiple times in the job description.

2- Have the recruiter in the back of your mind

Once you focus on optimizing your resume for the ATS scan, it’s easy to forget you’re doing all this so that a human will have a chance to read it. 

Remember that you’re not writing this resume for you; you’re writing it for prospective employers. When you’re deciding what information to include in your CV, consider if the details will help a recruiter assess your qualifications for a particular role.

When describing your current and past positions, ensure your bullet points are achievements and use numbers and metrics to highlight them; this will show them how you’ve used your skills and the results.

3- Keep it simple

The way you design your resume can also affect how ATS interacts with it. 

Use a simple, clean design. Embedded charts and other images, custom font styles, and intricate bullet styles will get scrambled or simply skipped over when the ATS scans your application.

Don’t include too much fancy formatting. Most ATSs will convert the document to a text-only file. So at best, any fancy design will be lost. At worst, the ATS won’t be able to pull out the vital information, and so a person may never lay eyes on your nice designs—or read about the experience and skills that qualify you for the job.

If you don’t have Microsoft Word or another program that can convert your resume to .docx or .pdf, you can use Google Docs to create your resume, then download it in either format for free.

4- Apply only for those job roles you are qualified for

Never lie about your experience to get past the bots.

Make sure you’re truly qualified for the roles you’re applying to. This doesn’t mean you have to hit every single job qualification or apply to a job only if you have the traditional background for it. But if you don’t have the core skills needed to perform a job, you’re better off not wasting your time or a recruiter’s.

5- Convince by uploading a cover letter

Always combine your ATS-friendly resume with a cover letter —even if the application says a cover letter is optional— it could be the perfect opportunity to differentiate yourself from the hundreds of other applicants. 

Be sure to keep the formatting simple by following rules of thumb:

  • Don’t just regurgitate the content on your resume.
  • The opening paragraph is catchy.
  • Explain why you love the company.
  • Connect your accomplishments and experiences to what they’re looking for.
  • Explain what you can do for the company/how you can solve their challenges.
  • Include some trades of your personality.
  • Include a call to action (e.g., “I look forward to hearing from you about next steps.”)
  • Link to portfolio or samples of work (if applicable.)
  • It is addressed to an actual person or team (not “To whom it may concern.”)
  • It is about 3-4 paragraphs in length (and less than a page.)
  • Don’t use overly formal language.

WEEKLY VOCABULARY 🗣

Qualified: officially recognized as being trained to perform a particular job; certified.

Job hunting, job seeking, or job searching: the activity of trying to find a job.

Candidate: a person who applies for a job or is nominated for election.

Prospective: indicates that something is expected or likely to happen.

Highlight: to describe something in a way that makes people notice it and think about it.

PHRASAL VERBS ✍

Keep up

“I always try to keep up with new technology.”

Back up

“My computer isn’t working. I’m glad I backed up all my files.”

Bring forward

“Can the manager bring my interview forward a week?”

Key in

“Can you key this data in for me, please?”

Sign up

“Monica needs a new job, so she has signed up with an employment agency.”

IDIOMS 📒

Hanging by a thread: in great danger of elimination or failure.

Pink slip: a layoff notice; loss of a job, typically because of layoffs.

Move up in the world: become more successful.

Pull your socks up: make a better effort.

Feel like a fish out of water: feel uncomfortable in an unfamiliar situation.

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Business Buzzwords

“Every science requires a special language because every science has its own ideas.” Étienne Bonnot de Condillac,1782.

 

Buzzwords are terms regularly used in business to gain attention, boost morale, and describe cultural and social situations. 

Some buzzwords are mainly used between coworkers and business partners, while others are used —especially in marketing, sales, and service— to appeal to customers.

Being able to correctly use buzzwords can help you engage with coworkers and customers, giving you an aura of being cooler if you use the right terminology in the proper context.

 

Deep dive: is a more thorough version of brainstorming. When a manager requests a deep dive into a topic, they are asking for a detailed review of all possible ideas based on that topic.

 

Core competency: a defining capability or advantage that distinguishes an enterprise from its competitors. They can also describe the particular qualifications of a job applicant.

 

Hyperlocal: relating to or focusing on matters concerning a small community or geographical area. ​Businesses use the word hyperlocal to encourage their employees to stay focused on a particular market.

 

Freemium: a combination of the words “free” and “premium,” represents a business model in which a company offers basic features to users at no cost and charges a premium for supplemental or advanced features.

 

Thought leader: an expert on a particular subject whose ideas and opinions influence other people, especially in business.

 

Synergy: the collaboration of two or more people on a project or situation, in which the outcome would be better than if the two people had worked independently of each other.

 

Unpack: researching every aspect of a subject in detail. 

 

Ping or ping me: to send a quick, short message over a texting platform (SMS, Instant Messenger, Chat) used to check-in, keep someone in the loop about something, or ask about something, or alert coworkers of new information, with the expectation of a quick, short response from the receiving party.

 

Drill down: describes the process of finding the root causes of a problem. It is often used during a difficult problem-solving process to motivate employees.

 

Bandwidth: a new way of saying “how much we can get done.” People normally use this business jargon to indicate when there isn’t enough time.

 

Quick win: a project that is easy to complete or a sale that is easy to make; something that can be accomplished that doesn’t require a lot of resources or work but could have a high impact on your business.

 

Next-generation: used to describe a product that has been developed using the latest technology and will probably replace an existing product.

 

Quota: a target that sales reps try to reach over a certain period of time, often on a monthly or quarterly basis. A quota can be measured in both dollar amounts or in the number of deals closed.

 

Value-added: apply to instances when a firm takes a product that may be considered homogeneous—with few differences from that of a competitor, if any—and provides potential customers with a feature or add-on that gives it a greater perception of value.

 

Disruptor/Disruptive: it’s a game-changer, a unique product or service whose innovation throws the status quo off-kilter; a company that changes the traditional way an industry operates, especially in a new and effective way.

 

Wheelhouse: is used to describing a person’s or company’s specialty, or an area that matches a person’s skills or expertise

 

Ecosystem: refers to people and organizations actively working toward similar goals in the same space, be that a building, a town, or an overarching concept that draws them together.

 

Ballpark: refers to an approximately proper range, as of possibilities or alternatives. Indicating that something is within the right ballpark tells others that they are taking useful steps toward a certain goal for a project.

 

WEEKLY VOCABULARY 🗣

Meaning: what is meant by a word, text, concept, or action.

 

Informal: having a relaxed, friendly, or unofficial style, manner, or nature.

 

Slang: a type of language that consists of words and phrases that are regarded as very informal, are more common in speech than writing, and are typically restricted to a particular context or group of people.

 

Make-believe: the action of pretending or imagining that things are better than they really are.

 

Short-lived: lasting only a short time.

 

PHRASAL VERBS ✍

Try something out

“I am going to try this new brand of eco-friendly soap out.”

 

Talk around

“He talked them around to accept his point of view.”

 

Make out

“I couldn’t make out what he was saying.”

 

Speak for oneself

“I’m here speaking for myself, not for my company.”

 

Cook up

“Nelson is always cooking up some weird scheme that was going to earn him a fortune.”



IDIOMS 📒

Think outside the box: think in an original or creative way.

 

Open the kimono: to disclose information about the inner workings of a company.

 

Move the needle: when employers are encouraging their team to make a big change to influence their industry. People who move the needle are seen as influential within a business or community.

Rock the boat: do something that might upset somebody/something, cause problems, or change the balance of a situation in some way. (Often in a negative sense.)

 

Drinking the Kool-Aid: is most often tied to someone’s blind devotion to a purpose or a cause; refers to someone who believes what is being told to the public by the mass media or government officials without investigating whether it is true or not.

The expression comes from the infamous mass suicide at the People’s Temple under the leadership of Jim Jones in 1978.  Kool-Aid is a brand of a powdered soft-drink mix. On this fateful day, Reverend Jones convinced his followers to drink Kool-Aid laced with poison in order to prevent members from leaving the cult. 







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Starting & Running

a Successful Business

Starting and Running a Successful Business

 

“Success is not final; failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill

What do you need to do to start a business? 

What should you keep in mind while you strive for business success?

Let’s check these 7 tips that will help you start and successfully run your own business.

 

1- Understand the market

Don’t underestimate the importance of conducting careful, detailed market research.

Be sure there really is a market for what you want to sell. One of the most common mistakes is to assume a lot of people will want to buy a particular product or service because the business owner likes the ideas.

You need concrete data on your customers, expected growth and demand, market trends, the existing competition, etc.

Remember, research is an ongoing process. Continuing to monitor your consumers’ behavior and what your competitors are doing will allow you to manage your business positively and minimize your risk for loss.

 

2- Focusing on customers

Customer service and customer experience are the major focus for most successful businesses. So, the first step is creating products and services that customers want.

The second step is knowing who they are and how to get it to them.

Remember, becoming a customer-focused business doesn’t happen overnight. It takes practice and continuous adjustment to get it right.

Once you have achieved clientele loyalty, don’t lose your focus on them. Always figure out the problem your customer has and solve it as soon as possible. 

So, the next question is what is your client retention rate?

If old customers leave as you bring new ones in, then you are not building a stable company. Track individual customer revenue, and monitor how it changes. Customers pay for value.

 

3- Have a written plan

Without a plan, it is merely a dream.  You need to outline specific objectives, strategies, financing, a sales, and marketing plan, and a determination of the cash you need to get things done. But, don’t marry your plan. Even the greatest plan sometimes has to be changed when things heat up. 

So, leave your ego at the door and listen to others. You need people to bounce ideas off, inspect what you’re doing, and push you to bigger accomplishments, holding you accountable for what you are committing to do.  

 

4- Understand the risks and rewards

Regardless of the type of investment, there will always be some risk involved. A good question to ask is “What’s the downside?” If you can answer this question, then you know what the worst-case scenario is.

Taking risks is natural when investing in your own business. You should find their comfort level, and build their project and expectations accordingly. There is no right or wrong amount of investment/risk; it is a very personal decision for each entrepreneur.

Understanding the relationship between risk and reward is a crucial piece to help your business grow. You must learn to weigh the potential reward against the risk to decide if it’s worth putting your money on the line.

 

5- Hire the right people

The biggest mistake entrepreneurs make is trying to do too much. Don’t try and do everything yourself. As budget and demand allow, surround yourself with experts in things that you are not. Ask for input and feedback from them. 

Outsource to experts and pay by the hour when you can’t afford or don’t need full-time staffing for a skill set.

Remember, hiring the wrong employee is expensive. On the other hand, hiring the right employee pays you back in employee productivity, a successful employment relationship, and a positive impact on your total work environment.

So, how do we ensure we let the good ones in and keep the bad ones out?

Collect information regarding the responsibilities, duties, necessary skill set, working environment, and outcome of the particular position you’re looking to fill. Determine the criteria a potential candidate needs to meet and create a job description for any new employees.

The more you systemize the hiring process, the more efficiently it will go.

Offering an initial short-term contract can be a smart way to test if the right person for a long-term job.

 

6- Spread your message

It’s all about getting the right message to the right people at the right time.

For example, ask yourself, where are your customers? Online. So, how do they prefer communicating and engaging with businesses and others? Digitally. Great! It’s time to build your digital platform.

– Use channels such as Facebook, Instagram, email, digital ads, and search engines to attract new customers.

– Establish a monthly budget and schedule.

– Use digital tools to boost visibility and track conversions.

 

7- Prioritize customer support

With new businesses popping up literally overnight, price and product aren’t enough to differentiate you from the competition. 

Prioritizing customer support will give your business the chance to turn potential (or unhappy) customers into loyal ones.

Customer experience has a domino effect. If you do it well, you will see a boost in positive brand awareness, traffic, and loyal customers to your business. People will return to your brand because of exemplary customer service, even if you don’t have the lowest price. 

Optimize your answers to the customer and the solutions to their problems. Even if you start small, provide good customer service and you’ll keep people coming back.

Remember, a fast and high-quality social media response is vital for building brand trust.

 

WEEKLY VOCABULARY

 

Focus: the center of interest or activity.

 

Niche: a specialized segment of the market for a particular kind of product or service.

 

Project: an individual or collaborative enterprise that is carefully planned to achieve a particular aim.

 

Opportunity: a set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something.

 

Optimize: make the best or most effective use of (a situation, opportunity, or resource).

 

PHRASAL VERBS

Deal with 

“You dealt with that situation very well. The customer left the store really happy.”

 

Cut back

“We don’t have much money in our budget, so we are going to have to cut back on our spending.”

 

Take on

“We will need to take on new workers over the holiday season.”

 

Get behind with

“After taking on this extra responsibility, I have got behind with sales reports.”

 

Get across

“One of the key messages we try to get across is the importance of managing social media professionally.”

 

IDIOMS

Third time lucky / Third time’s the charm: the hope that, after twice failing to accomplish something, one may succeed in the third attempt.

 

Win-win situation: guaranteeing a favorable outcome for everyone involved.

 

Where there’s a will, there’s a way: if you are determined enough, you can find a way to achieve what you want, even if it is very difficult.

 

You’ve got nothing to lose: you should take a risk because things can’t get any worse.

 

Throw in the towel: stopping and admitting you are defeated.

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Company Vocabulary

Headquarters: the main offices of an organization such as the army, the police, or a business company.

Example: “The company’s headquarters is/are in Madrid.”

 

Branch: any secondary or ancillary place of business.

Example: “The bank has a new branch in our area.”

 

Organizational chart / Org charts: a diagram that visually conveys a company’s internal structure by detailing the roles, responsibilities, and relationships between individuals within an entity.

Example: “Does the manager have an organizational chart with responsibilities assigned?”

 

R&D / Research and development: any activity associated with creating new innovations in existing products, services, or procedures or the discovery of new innovations that lead to the creation of new products.

Example: “In industries like pharmaceuticals R&D is a crucial department.”

 

Accounts department: is the division in a firm that looks after the preparation of financial statements, maintenance of general ledger, payment of bills, preparation of customer bills, payroll, and more. 

Example: “For all billing inquiries, please contact our accounts department.”

 

Purchasing department: is responsible for finding and buying everything a company needs.

Example: “I have applied for a purchasing manager position.”

 

Reception: the place where people’s appointments and questions are dealt with.

Example: “Wait at reception for me.”

 

Shareholder: a person who owns shares in a company and therefore gets part of the company’s profits and the right to vote on how the company is controlled.

Example: “The company marketing manager has written to all the shareholders to apologize for the mistake.”

 

Executive officer: a person responsible for running an organization, although the exact nature of the role varies depending on the organization. 

Example: “Apple is replacing several executive officers, including their CEO.”

 

CEO: a chief executive officer, the highest-ranking person in a company or other institution, ultimately responsible for making managerial decisions.

Example: “In April 2021, the CEO of IKEA was elected Prime Minister in Sweden.”

 

CFO: a chief financial officer, is the corporate title for the person responsible for managing the company’s financial operations and strategy.

Example: “Wells Fargo had hired a new CFO in February, maybe for faster financials.”

 

Manager: a person responsible for controlling or administering all or part of a company or similar organization.

Example: “My father’s now the manager of a sports clothing company.”

 

PR: public relations is the role within a business devoted to communicating with the press, and ensuring favourable media coverage of a company, product or service.

Example: “Public relations isn’t an easy profession.”

 

After-sales service: is any support provided to a customer after the product or service has already been purchased. 

Example: “Revlon company’s after-sales service is considered one of the best in the makeup market.”

 

Equipment: a set of tools or devices you need for a special purpose. For instance, office equipment may include photocopiers, furniture, computers, telephone systems, etc.

 

Dress code: a set of company rules about what clothing may and may not be worn at work.

Example: “Our law firm has a strict dress code that requires all staff to wear a suit.”

 

 

WEEKLY VOCABULARY

Remuneration: money paid for work or a service.

 

My own boss: I work for myself / I make my own decisions / I don’t have anyone telling me what to do.

 

Employee: a person employed for wages or salary, especially at nonexecutive level.

 

Benefits: a payment or gift made by an employer, the state, or an insurance company.

 

Promotion: the action of raising someone to a higher position or rank or the fact of being so raised.

 

PHRASAL VERBS

Lay off

“We have no plans in the immediate future to lay off workers.”

 

Run out of

“Many companies are running out of money.”

 

Close down

“The company closed down the factory because it wasn’t meeting production quotas.”

 

Run by 

“That’s a great idea. Let’s run it by the boss and see what he thinks.”

 

Sign off on

“The CEO signed off on the budget for the new security equipment.”



IDIOMS

Learn the ropes: learning how a particular job or task is done.

 

Burn the candle at both ends: work very long hours.

 

Rank and file: the ordinary members of an organization as opposed to its leaders.

 

Get the sack/ Be sacked: to be fired.

 

Blood on the carpet: a lot of trouble in an organization often resulting in someone losing their job.

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5 tips to become an Independent Learner

Independent learning is when you, as a learner, set goals, monitor, and evaluate your own academic development, so you can manage your own motivation towards learning.

In other words, independent learners take responsibility for their own learning. They are self-motivated and accept that hard work in the present is worthwhile to achieve future success.

Let’s check these 5 tips you can use to become an independent learner.

1- Read actively

You will need to be an active reader, paying close attention to the words you are reading and their meaning.

Sometimes you’ll come across a concept in the textbooks that you don’t understand. Don’t be afraid to read outside the course material. Search for the full reference and research the theory online until you fully understand the concepts.

When doing research, try to draw from a variety of different sources. Note that you learn something new by finding mismatches between a statement you evaluate and your current inner understanding.

2- Find a balance between making time for studying and having a life

Procrastination is natural and everyone does it, but an independent learner knows they need to build studying into an everyday habit. Don’t fall behind by not spending enough time studying.

Look closely at how you’re spending your time for a week. Then decide if you’re committing enough time to study. When you’ve got a big deadline coming up, adjust your schedule to make studying more of a priority.

3- Try new study techniques

Don’t get stuck with the same methods. But an independent learner understands that certain techniques may be a better fit for different subjects and modules. 

You must be willing to try new study techniques, and regularly re-evaluate what you are doing for effectiveness.

4- Work out a study-plan

Analyze your strengths, weaknesses, and special interests.

For example, think: what is your weak area? Is it vocabulary, speaking, writing, reading, listening, broadly grammar? 

Suppose you realize that grammar is your problematic area. Now you need to break this down further to decide what aspects cause problems: relative clauses, past tenses of verbs, word order in a sentence?

Once you’ve decided what your specific problems are, you can draw up a list: 

  1. A) Which needs to be addressed urgently? 
  2. B) Is there a natural, logical order in which to tackle them?
  3. C) What goals could you realistically set yourself?
  4. D) How will you know when you’ve achieved them?

Don’t be afraid to return to the basics if necessary. It may give you more confidence, in the long run, to ensure you have a firm understanding of basic concepts and techniques.

Don’t make a study plan too ambitious but set smaller consecutive goals you know you will be able to achieve in the short term, and keep a record of what you have done.

Once you’ve achieved the target, the process of planning can start again. Your needs and priorities may have changed, so think about them and then set yourself the next target.

5- Ask for help and share your knowledge

Knowledge retention and reuse can effectively exercise overall positive cognitive development.

Cooperative learning is a well-established technique for enhancing learning. Students often understand what other students misunderstand better than instructors for one thing, and the act of teaching itself becomes a learning experience. 

“I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.” – Mark Twain

_________________________________________

WEEKLY VOCABULARY

Weaknesses: a quality or feature regarded as a disadvantage or fault.

“You must recognize your product’s strengths and weaknesses.”

Effective: successful in producing a desired or intended result.

“Here are four strategies that proved to be extremely effective in my classroom.”

Schooling: education or training received, especially at school.

“He was naturally studious, however, and supplemented his scant schooling by night study.”

 

PHRASAL VERBS

Get by

My french isn’t very good, but it’s enough to get by.

Join in 

We’re studying English grammar. Why don’t you join in?

Point something out (to somebody)

I didn’t realise I’d make a mistake until Charles pointed it out to me.

Turn round 

When I touched him on the shoulder, he turned round.

Sort something out 

There are a few problems we need to sort out.

IDIOMS

Chicken and egg situation: It is impossible to decide which of the two came first and caused the other one.

Run around in circles: To be active without achieving any worthwhile result.

Back against the wall: Be in a difficult situation where escape is difficult.

Scrape the barrel: You’re using something you do not want to but you’ve no option.

Separate the wheat from the chaff: You separate valuable from worthless.

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Banking Vocabulary.

APR: abbreviation of Annual Percentage Rate. It is the cost of credit on a yearly basis; expressed as a percentage.

ATM: abbreviation of Automated Teller Machine, which is a machine, usually in a wall or cabin outside a bank, from which you can take money out of your bank account using a special card.

Bank charges: amounts of money paid by a customer for a bank’s services or as a fine if a mistake is made.

Branch: the bank or the building where customers use the bank services.

Cash flow: the total amount of money being transferred into and out of a business, especially as affecting liquidity.

CD: abbreviation of Certificate of Deposit. It is a negotiable certificate of deposit paying a specified rate of interest for a specified period of time, with a penalty imposed for premature withdrawal of the deposited funds.

Checkbook (US) / Chequebook (UK): a book of blank checks with a register for recording checks written.

Checking account (US) / Current account (UK): an account at a bank against which checks can be drawn by the account depositor.

Credit report: a detailed report of an individual’s credit history prepared by a credit bureau and used by a lender in determining a loan applicant’s creditworthiness.

Insurance: a practice or arrangement by which a company or government agency provides a guarantee of compensation for specified loss, damage, illness, or death in return for payment of a premium.

Liquid assets: something valuable that can be sold easily.

Loan: sum of money that is expected to be paid back with interest.

NSF: abbreviation of Non-Sufficient Fund.

Overdraft: when the amount of money withdrawn from a bank account is greater than the amount actually available in the account.

Overdrawn: draw money from (one’s bank account) in excess of what the account holds.

Savings account (US) / Deposit account (UK): a bank account that earns interest.

Standing order: an instruction to the bank to pay the same person or company the same amount of money on a regular schedule, often monthly. 

Tax: a compulsory contribution to state revenue, levied by the government on workers’ income and business profits, or added to the cost of some goods, services, and transactions.

Traveler’s check: a check for a fixed amount that can be cashed or used in payment after endorsement with the holder’s signature, generally used by people when traveling to foreign countries. It can be also changed for the local money of the country you visit.

Wire transfer: an electronic transfer from one bank or credit union to another.

Withdrawal: to take money out of an account.

 

 

IDIOMS

A fool and his money are soon parted: It is easy to persuade someone who is not sensible to spend their money on worthless things.

Money for jam: It is a very easy way of making money.

That costs an arm and a leg: It is very expensive.

To go/to buy/to sell for a song: Something sold or bought very cheaply, by implication for far less than its worth.

A license to print money: A way of making a large amount of money very easily.

 

PHRASAL VERBS

Dip into

“I usually dip into a book before deciding whether to buy it.”

Pay up

“If they don’t pay up we will take legal action.”

Fork out

“We don’t want to have to fork out for an expensive dinner.”

Save up

“It took me ages to save up enough money to go traveling.”

Bank on somebody/something

“I’m banking on your help.” / “I was banking on getting something to drink on the airplane.”

 

 

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Dealing with Customers

Your company’s most vital asset is its customers, so you need to make sure you’re dealing with your customers properly. But, sometimes it can be challenging to build those relationships. 

The key is to make each customer feel welcome and helped.

 

1- Listen actively to customers

Sometimes, customers just need to know that you’re listening. Let your client tell you their story. Resist the temptation to try to solve the situation right away, or to jump to conclusions about what happened. 

Start the dialogue with a neutral statement, such as, “Let’s go over what happened,” or “Please tell me why you’re upset.” This subtly creates a partnership between you and your customer and lets them know that you’re ready to listen.

Here’s an example of reflective listening being used with a customer.

Client: “I’m really frustrated because I bought these shoes for my daughter, but they are small for her. I would like to exchange them for a larger size, but you do not have them in stock.”

Manager: “So, what I’m hearing is that your daughter wears one size more than the shoes you have bought. Is that correct? Tell me more, so I can better understand.”

Never promise you’ll fix the situation —because you might not be able to. Your goal is to make your customer feel heard and appreciated.

Let the client vent about the situation if at all possible, but don’t allow threats or physical violence.

 

2- Build rapport through empathy

Once you’re sure that you understand your client’s concerns, be empathic. Show that you understand and care about why they’re upset. Don’t engage in fault-finding or laying blame.

When something goes wrong, apologize. Deal with the problem immediately and let the customer know what you have done.

For example, you could say, “I can understand why you’re upset. I would be too. I’m really sorry that we didn’t get the cakes to you on time, especially since it’s caused problems at the party you organized.”

 

3- Present a Solution

There are two ways to do this.

A) Telling them how you’d like to correct the situation.

For instance, you could say, “I know you need these curtains by tomorrow to show to your own customers. I will call our wholesale sellers to see if they have those models in stock, and, if they do, I’ll drop them off at your offices tomorrow no later than 10 a.m.”

B) Ask them to identify what will make thempleased.

For example, “If my solution doesn’t work for you, I would like to know what will satisfy you. If it’s under my reach I’ll get it done, and if it’s not possible, we can work out another solution together.”

 

4- Communicate what you can and can’t to about their situation

Tell the customer what you can do for them, for example, issue a refund, a credit note, a free service, or connect them to the manufacturer.

If you can’t solve the problem, never say: “There’s nothing I can do.” That statement is like adding fuel to the fire.

In these cases you can say, I wish I could do that for you. At this moment, that is beyond my authority but I will ask the general manager. May I have a way to contact you so I can get back with an update?

Always, let them know about the changes that you’ll make as a result of their complaint. Also, make sure to let them know that you’re very grateful they alerted you about this problem.

 

5- Stay calm and be discreet

Being tactful and discreet is crucial when dealing with difficult customers.

If the customer is swearing or being verbally abusive, take a deep breath and continue as if you didn’t hear them. Don’t take it personally. Remember that you’re interacting with a human. 

Difficult as it is sometimes, it is important to stay calm. Reacting in kind will not solve anything, and it will usually escalate the situation. Instead, remind the customer that you are there to help them and are their best immediate chance of resolving the situation.

 

6- Break the big problem into several smaller ones

Take one big problem and break it down to more manageable parts. Smaller problems are easier to handle and let us deal —step by step— with the big issue at hand. 

For example, a customer of the bank you work for repeatedly has a reason why he can’t set up and get started using his online bank account.

At his next calling, ask technical support employees to help him break down each of the steps he needs to take to get things moving (how to create a password to log in and use some strategy so it won’t be forgotten, how to make wire transfers, recognize the difference between login password and transaction password). 

Simply seeing each task chunked can make it easier for your customer to digest what’s left to do.

 

7- Try a reconciliation but don’t be overwhelmed

If the situation reaches a point where the customer crosses the line and becomes rude and unfair, you’ll need to make a judgment call: Will you tolerate someone who’s being aggressive, or you’ll end the discussion?

Choosing the latter would mean that they’ll never shop with you again, but keeping a problematic customer can be just as bad.

Here are some examples of how to ask customers to leave.

I apologize, but if you continue to use this language, I will be forced to ask you to leave the store.

Mr. Smith, I have not been rude to you, so there is no need to be rude to me. Please, take a breath. If you calm down, I will be able to help you, but if you continue to threaten me I must notify the authorities.

If things escalate, call the authorities.

Remember, a bad customer can hurt morale and make the working environment uncomfortable. Just as bad, a manager that won’t stand up to the customer and support his/her employees can have a negative impact as well.

“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” — Bill Gates

 

WEEKLY VOCABULARY

Dealing: A business relation or transaction.

“Charles showed tact in dealing with difficult customers.”

Actively: In a deliberate and positive way.

Actively trading really means actively waiting.”

 

Overwhelmed: Completely overcome or overpowered by thought or feeling.

“Caroline was overwhelmed by the amount of work he had to do.”

 

PHRASAL VERBS

  • Cold call: call or visit someone without arranging it first, when trying to sell them something.

“I cold-called them yesterday, and they want to set up a face-to-face meeting next week.”

 

  • Sort out: to organize or fix something

“Don’t worry about your order. I’ll sort it all out for you.”

 

  • Note down: to write something.

” Ok, you want 200 pounds of this product. Let me just note that down.”

 

  • Follow up: call, email, or visit someone again after a meeting or set a plan, to reconfirm what you spoke about.

“ I met with John yesterday about placing an order, so I’m going to follow up with him today to make sure I have the right amounts.”

 

 

IDIOMS

Sitting on the fence: To delay making a decision.

 

Take it with a grain of salt: To listen to a story or an explanation with considerable doubt, because you think it is unlikely to be true.

 

That’s the last straw: My patience has run out.

 

Get out of hand: Get out of control.


A blessing in disguise: A good thing that initially seemed bad.

 

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