Exercise 1

1. Listen to the beginning of a radio interview. Answer the question.

What one quality does Nancy believe all employers are looking for at a job interview?

2. Listen again and complete each sentence with one or two words.

 People with likeability can _________ with other people.

 Nancy believes likeability is more important than other abilities in the first _________ of a new job.

 She advises job hunters to spend time with _________.

 Nancy encourages people to apply for jobs even if they don’t have the right _________.

 During an interview, it’s important to _________ the interviewers by showing that you’re friendly, positive and can communicate well.



likeability (the ability to work well with people)


1 work well   2 18 months   3 other people   4 qualifications

5 impress


You’ve got good grades and you’ve been to lots of interviews, but no one’s offered you a job yet. Why? Is it because your knowledge and practical skills aren’t right for the job?

Well, according to one careers expert, Nancy Maynard, it’s probably because you just haven’t got the ‘likeability’ factor. Likeability is the ability to work well with people. It isn’t something you can learn easily at school, but employers want it and they’re quick to see it in candidates at interview.

Without likeability, Maynard believes, good grades and practical skills are worth very little. In the first 18 months in a job, most of an employee’s success is linked to their likeability, not to how well he or she does the job. Likeability is much more important than other abilities, and anyone who’s looking for a job should be trying their hardest to improve their own by spending time with other people.

Advice for job hunters goes like this: apply for the jobs that you want, even if you haven’t got the right qualifications. If you get an interview, then impress the interviewers with your ‘soft skills’. Soft skills are your personal skills – your friendly personality, your positive attitude to work, your ability to communicate with people and your problem-solving skills. It’s simple.

Or is it? Is likeability really more important than knowledge and experience? We took to the streets and asked some people for their opinions.

3. Listen to five speakers. Do they agree that being likeable is more important than other skills? Write A (agree) or D (disagree).

Speaker 1 ______            Speaker 2 ______

Speaker 3 ______            Speaker 4 ______

Speaker 5 ______

4. Listen again and answer the questions.

 According to Speaker 1, why don’t people know that likeability is important?

 According to Speaker 2, what’s the advantage of developing your ‘soft skills’?

 How does Speaker 3 behave towards his patients?

 What problem does Speaker 4 have with ‘soft skills’?

 According to Speaker 5, what are the most important things you can offer an organisation?



1 A   2 A   3 D   4 A   5 D


1   Because employers don’t like to talk about it.

2   You’ll always be able to work.

3   He listens to them. He doesn’t believe he has to be charming and sociable all the time.

4   You need to work with people to develop soft skills, but you can’t get a job without them.

5   Practical skills and experience.


SPEAKER 1:   People don’t realise how important likeability is because employers don’t like to talk about it, so they usually give other reasons for not offering someone a job. But let’s be honest, if you’re paying someone to do a job, you want them to work well with the people around them.

SPEAKER 2:   Yes, soft skills and likeability are much more important than specific job skills – like being able to use a computer – for the employer and for yourself too. There’s no such thing as ‘a job for life’ any more. Develop your soft skills – be good at working with other people – and you’ll always be able to get work.

SPEAKER 3:   I’ve been a doctor since I graduated from medical school. I’ve worked at this hospital for 18 years. My practical skills and my knowledge are all that matters. Without those, I couldn’t do my job. I listen to my patients, but I certainly don’t believe that I need to be charming and sociable all the time. I’ve never believed that.

SPEAKER 4:   I’m afraid it’s true and it makes me angry. I’m 23 and I haven’t worked since I left college. The only way to develop soft skills is to work with people, but the only way to get work is to have soft skills. It’s a no-win situation.

SPEAKER 5:   When people talk like this, it makes education and hard work sound second best, and that’s simply not true. Yes, you need to be able to make a good first impression, but come on, what really matters is that you can offer practical skills and experience to an organisation, not just a friendly face.

Exercise 2

1. Listen to Part 1. What has just happened?

2. Listen to Part 2. Are the sentences true (T) or false (F)?

1   Becky’s screen is still working.

2   Rachel thinks removing the SIM card might help.

3   Becky is worried about losing all her phone numbers.

4   Becky bought the phone very recently.

5   Becky has got insurance.

6   Rachel heard on the radio about using rice to dry phones.

3. Listen to Part 3. Does the phone work now? Why / Why not?



Becky has accidentally knocked a glass of orange juice over her phone.


1 F It’s frozen (stuck).

2 T

3 T

4 F She bought it over a year ago.

5 F Her insurance ran out a week ago.

6 F She read about it.


She’s talking to Rachel.

Yes, it does. She used the rice trick.


Part 1

RACHEL   Hi, Becky!

BECKY   Oh, hi Rachel. Oh no!

R   Oh! Oh Becky, I’m so sorry.

B   Why are you sorry? It was me that knocked it over.

R   But I distracted you.

В   What, by saying hello? Don’t worry about it! It was my fault.

R   At least let me get you another orange juice!

Part 2

RACHEL   How’s the phone?

BECKY   Not good. The screen’s frozen.

 Oh dear! Have you tried turning it off and on again?

В   I was just doing that, but still nothing.

 What about taking the SIM card out and drying it?

В   That’s worth a try. Thank you. Oh, I hope I haven’t lost all my contacts. I haven’t saved them anywhere else.

R   Oh no, how awful. Could you take it back to the shop?

В   Oh, I don’t think they’ll do anything. I bought it over a year ago.

R   Can you claim on your insurance?

В   I don’t have any. It’s just run out. A week ago!

R   How annoying! I know, the other day I read about this trick for fixing phones that have got wet.

В   Oh yes?

R   They said you put the phone in a bag of rice and apparently it dries it out. You could try that.

В   That sounds a bit weird.

R   I know but there were lots of comments from people saying that it had worked.

В   OK, I’ll give it a try. What have I got to lose?

R   Exactly, it’s cheaper than buying a new phone!

Part 3

RACHEL   Fantastic Flowers.

BECKY   Hi, Rachel, it’s Becky.

 Hi, Becky. How are you?

В   I’m good, and guess what? My phone’s working. That rice trick worked.

 That’s brilliant! I’m really glad to hear that.

Exercise 3

1. Listen to two friends, Tania and Lin, talking in a café. What two changes in Tania thinking about?

2. Tania writes an email to an IT company in Hong Kong called PayHK. Listen to the conversation again and complete gaps 1-6 in the application email above right.


Dear Sir/Madam,

I’m writing to enquire about the possibility of work in your company. I’m an application software developer. I’ve been 1______ for my current company for just over 2______ ______ now, but I’d like a change. I’m good at 3______ thinking and I have excellent 4______ – ______ skills. In addition, I also have a positive 5______ towards my work and colleagues.

I don’t speak Cantonese, but I’m very interested in 6______ ______ and would love the opportunity to live and work there. I’d be interested in any information you can send me.

Please find my CV attached.

Yours faithfully,

Tania Sampson



Tania is thinking about looking for a new job and moving to Hong Kong.


1 working   2 a/one year   3 creative   4 problem-solving

5 attitude   6 Chinese culture


LIN   Have you done that presentation yet?

TANIA   Yeah, I did it yesterday.

 How did it go?

 Well, you know, the usual thing: I presented my ideas, everyone smiled and thanked me and then said nothing.

 L   So they didn’t even give their opinion?

T   No, but I could see they didn’t like the idea. The problem with the company I work for is that they’re continuing to use the same ideas and aren’t thinking enough about new markets. They’re not thinking enough about the phone app market.

 Isn’t that why they employed you?

 That’s what I thought. I mean, I’ve been working there for just over a year now and they haven’t said yes to any of my ideas. When they offered me the job, they said things like, ‘Oh yes, we’re very interested in your creative thinking and your problem-solving skills’ – but do they really want to use them? I get the feeling they don’t.

 Yes, it’s very disappointing.

 I think I’ve more or less decided. I’m going to look for a new job.


 Yeah, it’s getting hard to keep having a positive attitude.

 I can understand that. And I thought your app idea was a really good one.

 Thanks. So tell me, are there many jobs in IT in Hong Kong?

 In Hong Kong? Why there?

 Well, I’m thinking about making a big change.

 What? Going to live in Hong Kong?

 Yeah, well, you decided to come and live here – maybe I can do the opposite.

 Wow! That’s a very big change.

 I want to travel more and I’m really interested in Chinese culture – I’d love to find out more about it.

 Well, yes, everyone says there are plenty of IT jobs in Hong Kong, but it’s a bit of a crazy city.

 Well, it could be fun!

Exercise 4

1. Listen to part of a job interview. Put the topics from the interview in the order that you hear them.

___ a practical skill someone has learned at work

___ high school education

___ an ability the employers think is useful

___ work experience

___ a qualification from university

___ the place where one speaker was born

___ now the interview will be organised

2. Listen to the interview again and tick (✓) the correct answers.

1   Carlos came to the interview …

      a by car.     b by plane.     c by train.

2   How old is Carlos?

      a 23     b 24     c 25

3   Where did Carlos study Computer Science?

      a in Spain     b in the UK      c in the US

4   How many languages does Carlos speak?

      a 2     b 3     c 4

5   When Carlo says he is ‘a people person’ he means that …

      a   he can work with other people easily.

      b   he has a specialist knowledge of people.

      c   his family come from different countries.

6   What does Carlos do in his current job?

      a   He creates apps for mobile phones.

      b   He sells mobile phones.

      c   He teaches computer languages.



6, 3, 5, 2, 4, 1


1 c   2 a   3 b   4 b   5 a   6 b


DIANE   So, Carlos, how was your journey this morning? Did you drive or …?

CARLOS  Oh, it was fine thank you. I came by train from London.

D   I see. Right, well, let’s start, shall we? To begin with I’ll ask you a few questions about your CV and your education, your work experience and so on and then Steven is going to talk to you about the job. 0K? Any questions so far?

 No, no, everything is fine so far, thank you.

D   Great! 0K, so can you tell me a little bit about yourself?

C   Yes, of course. So, I’m 23 years old and I have just recently completed a university course in Computer Science. And that was in London, where I’ve been living for the last three, in fact, almost four years now. Before coming to England I was at school in Spain.

D   Ah yes, that’s right, I see from your CV that you went to high school in Madrid.

C   Yes. Although, I was actually born in San Francisco. But when I was14 I moved to Spain to live with my grandparents, who are from Madrid.

D   Ah, so you are a Spanish speaker, then?

C   Yes. And as well as English and Spanish I also speak German. That’s because of my father. He’s an engineer from Düsseldorf.

D   I see.  That’s very impressive. As you may already know, this company has offices in several different European countries so we’re keen to find people who can speak at least one other language as well as English.

C   Well, that’s good. I’d like the chance to use my languages.

D   0K, now, in your opinion, why should this organisation choose you for this job?

C   That’s a very good question. Well, first of all I’m a people person. I’m very friendly and so I have a real ability to work in a team. Specialist knowledge is important, but you also need to be able to explain ideas simply and clearly. And that’s something that I think I’ve learned In the job I do now. And I think it’s been a good experience for this job.

D   And why’s that, may I ask? We don’t really meet any customers in this job.

 True. But I soon learned that the best way to sell a phone wasn’t to talk about all the technical things – it was to show people the apps! I discovered that I could sell more phones if I used clear and simple language to explain how to use them. So for almost three years now, I’ve been staying up to date on all the most popular apps and selling more phones than anyone else.

D   Very interesting. OK, now, …

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