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Job Interview Questions

Aim: This job interview questions exercise is to help you to improve your performance in interviews.

Instructions: Read the interview questions and click on the answer that you think is best. You will then see some feedback on your answer. You can click on more than one answer to see the feedback for each answer.

Related pages:

Question 1:
Explain to us, as best you can, why you have applied for a position in our company.

  1. I am very interested in the field your company is in.
  2. I need the money.
  3. Your company has a very good reputation.
  4. Yours is the only company that has offered me an interview.

Question 2:
Why do you think you might like to work for our company?

  1. Good pay.
  2. Famous.
  3. Good training.
  4. I've always wanted to work in this field, and your company is one of the leaders in this field.
  5. I've wanted to work for you since your representative gave a career talk on campus, and gave me a very good image of your organisation.

Question 3:
What do you know about our company?

  1. Famous.
  2. Your annual report describes you as...
  3. My friends in the field say that your company is...

Question 4:
What do you know about the type of work we expect from you?

  1. What it says in the job advertisement.
  2. Well at first I'd expect to... Then later, hopefully I will be promoted and I will...
  3. I'd expect to carry out the functions of the post, and be creative and a good team member.

Question 5:
In what way do you feel our company will help you to use your abilities fully?

  1. I think I will be able to use my inter-personal skills as a team member...
  2. I think I will be able to put into practice the skills I learned at University.
  3. I'm afraid I'm not clear on what exactly your company offers its employees in this area.

Question 6:
Have you any experience of this type of work?

  1. No.
  2. Well, from my summer working experience I have teamwork and organisational skills.
  3. No, but I'm sure I will pick up the job very quickly.

Question 7:
What do you think determines an employees' progress in a company such as ours?

  1. Company politics and relationships.
  2. Interpersonal and technical skills.
  3. Experience.

Question 8:
What qualities do you think the job requires?

  1. The qualities that I have learned in my university career, for example...
  2. I'm not sure.
  3. The qualities that you mentioned in the job advertisement...

Question 9:
What qualities would you expect of persons working as a team?

  1. Co-operativeness and enthusiasm.
  2. Team work.
  3. Obedience.

Question 10:
We have several applicants for this position. Why do you think you are the person we should choose?

  1. I don't know the other candidates, so I can't answer that question.
  2. I have no idea, but I'm sure I'd work hard.
  3. I have the abilities, qualities and experience that you requested in your job advert, for example...

Question 11:
How are your studies at the Polytechnic University related to this job?

  1. Well, they weren't really relevant, but I'm sure I can pick up the job quickly.
  2. Several of my courses were directly relevant to this job; for example...
  3. In fact, I want to change my career because I'm bored with doing the things I did on my course.

Question 12:
Why did you choose your course as your field of study?

  1. I chose the course because it would prepare me for this field, and I believe that this field suits my personality and strengths, for example...
  2. It wasn't my first choice.
  3. My teacher and career counselor recommended it .

Question 13:
What projects have you worked on?

  1. I did a final year project called...
  2. We did a lot of project work. The one I remember best was called... It was the best one because...

Question 14:
Could you tell us something about yourself?

  1. I believe that I am a well-qualified, experienced person with abilities that suit your needs, for example...
  2. Well, as you can see from my resume...
  3. I'm the perfect employee you are looking for, you shouldn't miss this chance to employ me.

Question 15:
I see you have done some voluntary work. What did you learn from that?

  1. I learned to be caring and compassionate, and to look after those less fortunate than myself.
  2. I learned responsibility and leadership, for example...
  3. I learned to be a better Christian from watching my colleagues and superiors.

Question 16:
What do you do in your spare time?

  1. I sleep, listen to music and read books.
  2. I enjoy cycling and wind-surfing.
  3. I enjoy team sports such as basketball and volleyball, and I am the secretary of my department's student society.

Question 17:
How do you see your career developing?

  1. After a few years of gaining experience in the company and furthering my professional qualifications I'd like to put my experience and skills to use in management.
  2. I aim to be promoted within two years, lead a team, and, when I have enough experience  in the field, I will start my own company.
  3. Well, I expect that after a few years management will promote me when they think that I am ready.

Question 18:
Do you have any particular strengths or weaknesses?

  1. I think I'm good at...
  2. I think I'm good at... As for weaknesses, my Chinese typing speed isn't very good, and I'm studying to improve it.
  3. I'm good at...  On the other hand I'm a little bit lazy.
  4. Sometimes I'm too hard-working and I put myself under too much pressure to make things perfect.

Question 19:
What exactly do you know about dealing with subordinates who create a bad atmosphere in your team?

  1. I would fire or transfer that subordinate.
  2. I would talk to him or her  to try to find out the problem.
  3. I would first give him a verbal warning, and then go on to disciplinary procedures if necessary.

Question 20:
What were the benefits of your summer work?

  1. Money.
  2. There were no benefits, I just did a very low level job.
  3. I learned what it's like to be an employee, how to work in a team, the procedures used by companies, and all the little things that make life in the workplace so different from life as a student.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Congratulations, you have finished.

Your score is

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

 

Feedback for Question 1, Choice 'a': "I am very interested in the field your company is in."
Yes.
It is good to show that you are well-motivated about the work.

Grammar points:
The prepositions after 'interested' are 'in' or 'by'; e.g. "I'm interested in engineering", or "I'm interested by the problems of building tall buildings on unstable reclaimed land." "Interested in" is the most common. "Interested by" is often used for problems, theories or concepts.
Before 'field' use the article 'the'; e.g. "the accounting field" or "the engineering field".
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Feedback for Question 1, Choice 'b': "I need the money."
No.
Although this may be true, you should not give this as your only reason.
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Feedback for Question 1, Choice 'c': "Your company has a very good reputation."
Not bad.
However, many companies have good reputations, and you should give an answer that shows a link between your motivation to work in the field and the company.
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Feedback for Question 1, Choice 'd': "Yours is the only company that has offered me an interview."
No.
Even if this is true, don't say it because it is a negative point about you.
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Feedback for Question 2, Choice 'a': "Good pay."
No.
Choose some attractive features about the company to display your knowledge of the company, and link your abilities and qualities to the company and the job.
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Feedback for Question 2, Choice 'b': "Famous."
No.
Choose some attractive features about the company to display your knowledge of the company, and link your abilities and qualities to the company and the job.
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Feedback for Question 2, Choice 'c': "Good training."
OK.
This answer shows that you are motivated to improve your skills, but some employers might worry that you will do the training, then leave the company.

Grammar points:
It is better to use longer sentences; e.g. "Your company has a good reputation for training.", because the interviewers might think that your English is not good enough to express more complex ideas.


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Feedback for Question 2, Choice 'd': "I've always wanted to work in this field, and your company is one of the leaders in this field."
O.K.
A better answer is to choose some attractive features about the company to display your knowledge of the company, and link your abilities and qualities to the company and the job.

Grammar points:
In the expression, "One of the (things)," the article should be 'the', and the following noun or noun phrase is usually plural; e.g. "One of the best companies in the field.", "One of the leading organisations in Hong Kong."


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Feedback for Question 2, Choice 'e': "I've wanted to work for you since your representative gave a career talk on campus, and gave me a very good image of your organisation."
O.K.
A better answer is to choose some attractive features about the company to display your knowledge of the company, and link your abilities and qualities to the company and the job.

Grammar points:
Use the present perfect tense to talk about things that started in the past and have continued until the present, such as the desire to work for the company in the above example.
Use the past tense to talk about on-campus recruitment events, because they have finished.

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Feedback for Question 3, Choice 'a': "Famous."
No.
You should know more than this. Read some background information about the company, for example the Annual Report.
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Feedback for Question 3, Choice 'b': "Your annual report describes you as..."
O.K.
It's good to show that you have some background information about the company.

Grammar points:
Notice the use of the present simple tense to talk about this year's annual report.


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Feedback for Question 3, Choice 'c': "My friends in the field say that your company is..."
Yes.
It's good to show that you have contacts in the field. You should also have read some background information on the company, for example, the Annual Report.

Grammar points:
Notice the use of the present simple tense in "My friends say..." to imply that their opinion is still true.


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Feedback for Question 4, Choice 'a': "What it says in the job advertisement."
No.
You should know more than this. Read some background information about the company, for example the Annual Report.
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Feedback for Question 4, Choice 'b': "Well at first I'd expect to... Then later, hopefully I will be promoted and I will..."
O.K.
You should show a realistic knowledge of the job, and then show a little bit of ambition and career-mindedness.

Grammar points:
In this answer "I'd expect to..." means "I would expect to...". "Would" is correct because it shows that you are modest, and recognise that the company may not give you the job. It can be expanded to, "If I am accepted for this job, I would expect to...".
After "I'd expect to", use an infinitive verb."
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Feedback for Question 4, Choice 'c': "I'd expect to carry out the functions of the post, and be creative and a good team member."
Yes.
It would be better to give examples of the functions of the post.

Grammar points:
Notice the infinitive verb, "carry out" after "I'd expect to".
Notice the verb "be" before the adjective "creative". The infinitive is used here to match the infinitive verb after "I'd expect to". Use different forms of the verb 'to be' in different tenses; e.g. "He is well-educated." or "He wasn't happy this morning."


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Feedback for Question 5, Choice 'a': "I think I will be able to use my inter-personal skills as a team member..."
O.K.
However, inter-personal skills may not be the most important skills for this job. Select what you think is the most important ability.

Grammar points:
The question uses "will", so it's O.K. to use "will" in the answer.
Remember that the future tense of 'can' is 'will be able to' plus an infinitive verb such as "use".
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Feedback for Question 5, Choice 'b': "I think I will be able to put into practice the skills I learned at University."
O.K.
However, you should relate the skills you learned at university to the skills needed for this job, in order of importance.

Grammar points:
The question uses "will", so it's O.K. to use "will" in the answer.
Remember that the future tense of 'can' is 'will be able to' plus an infinitive verb such as "put".


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Feedback for Question 5, Choice 'c': "I'm afraid I'm not clear on what exactly your company offers its employees in this area."
Could be better.
It's good to ask questions if you don't understand something, as it shows that you are a good communicator. Organisations do not want staff who pretend to understand, but don't. These staff sometimes make expensive mistakes.
However, this is not the best answer.
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Feedback for Question 6, Choice 'a': "No."
No.
Even if you don't have any direct experience, talk about something related, such as inter-personal skills or computer skills.
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Feedback for Question 6, Choice 'b': "Well, from my summer working experience I have teamwork and organisational skills."
Yes.
This is a good answer if you don't have any directly-related experience.

Grammar points:
Use 'have' in front of skills; e.g. "I have organisational skills."
Use the verb 'be' in front of adjectives; e.g. "I am good at...".
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Feedback for Question 6, Choice 'c': "No, but I'm sure I will pick up the job very quickly."
No.
Anyone can say this. If you don't have any directly-related experience talk about skills from other working experience, such as teamwork or analytical ability. If you don't have any working experience at all, you can talk about working in groups at university.
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Feedback for Question 7, Choice 'a': "Company politics and relationships."
No.
Even if you know that this is true, don't say it. Talk about interpersonal and technical skills instead.
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Feedback for Question 7, Choice 'b': "Interpersonal and technical skills."
Yes.
For 'technical' you could substitute something more specific and related to this job; e.g. accounting skills.

Grammar point:
As you have mentioned two types of skill, use the plural "skills".
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Feedback for Question 7, Choice 'c': "Experience."
No.
Experience is useful, but a good employee should have other abilities, and may need further qualifications, such as professional qualifications.
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Feedback for Question 8, Choice 'a': "The qualities that I have learned in my university career, for example..."
Yes.
You should include not only things that you learned on your course, but also things you learned from extra-curricular activities and part-time jobs.

Grammar points:
When talking about the things you have learned at university, things that you still know and are relevant to the job that you are applying for, use the present perfect tense; e.g. "The qualities that I have learned..."
You can use the prepositions "in my university career" or "during my university career".
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Feedback for Question 8, Choice 'b': "I'm not sure."
No.
You should prepare for this question and be ready to talk about the qualities that you think the job requires, and have some example situations where you showed these qualities.
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Feedback for Question 8, Choice 'c': "The qualities that you mentioned in the job advertisement..."
OK. 
You should also be prepared to describe some example situations where you showed these qualities.

Grammar point:
Use the past tense to refer to things written in the job advertisement; e.g. "You said in the job advertisement that you want an independent person." "Want" in this example is present simple tense because the company still wants that type of person now.
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Feedback for Question 9, Choice 'a': "Co-operativness and enthusiasm."
Yes.
You could also mention other qualities such as creativity and time-management skills. You should also be prepared to describe some example situations where you showed these qualities.
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Feedback for Question 9, Choice 'b': "Team work."
Not bad.
You should be more specific, team work is quite general. Useful qualities include co-operativness,  enthusiasm, creativity and time-management skills. You should also be prepared to describe some example situations where you showed these qualities.
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Feedback for Question 9, Choice 'c': "Obedience."
No.
Although this is a useful quality, it does not show any managerial potential.
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Feedback for Question 10, Choice 'a': "I don't know the other candidates, so I can't answer that question."
No.
This is a negative answer and contains an implicit meaning that the question was not a good one. Even if you think that the question is stupid, don't annoy the interviewer by showing that you think this.
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Feedback for Question 10, Choice 'b': "I have no idea, but I'm sure I'd work hard."
No.
Anyone can work hard. You should take this opportunity to highlight how your skills, abilities, education and experience make you suitable for the job.
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Feedback for Question 10, Choice 'c': "I have the abilities, qualities and experience that you requested in your job advert. For example..."
Yes.

Grammar point:
Experience is usually uncountable, and so does not become plural in the above example.
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Feedback for Question 11, Choice 'a': "Well, they weren't really relevant, but I'm sure I can pick up the job quickly."
No.
If none of your courses are relevant, talk about other qualities that you developed, for example teamwork and interpersonal skills used in group project work. Make sure that you have specific examples; e.g. how you motivated your team by organising a BBQ and sports day to encourage the other team members to get to know each other better and to work together as a team.
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Feedback for Question 11, Choice 'b': "Several of my courses were directly relevant to this job, for example, ... "
Yes.
First talk about courses that were directly relevant. Then, or if none are relevant, talk about other qualities that you developed, for example teamwork and interpersonal skills used in group project work. Make sure that you have specific examples; e.g. how you motivated a team member by involving him or her in the decision-making process.

Grammar point:
The verb "were" in this example is past simple tense because the courses have finished. If you are still studying courses you should use "are".
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Feedback for Question 11, Choice 'c': "In fact I want to change my career because I'm bored with doing the things I did on my course."
No.
This may give the interviewer the impression that you get bored easily and cannot concentrate on things. If none of your courses are relevant, talk about other qualities that you developed, for example teamwork and interpersonal skills used in group project work. Make sure that you have specific examples; e.g. how you motivated a weak team member by giving him or her a number of simple tasks to build up a momentum of success.
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Feedback for Question 12, Choice 'a': "I chose the course because it would prepare me for this field, and I believe that this field suits my personality and strengths, for example..."
Yes.
This answer shows a careful choice of course and relates the field to your personality and strengths.

Grammar point:
Notice the use of the past tense to refer to the time when you were choosing what course to do, and the present tense to show that this field still suits your personality and strengths now.

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Feedback for Question 12, Choice 'b': "It wasn't my first choice."
No.
Even though it wasn't your first choice, it was one of your choices. You should be able to give a reason for this, or a reason why you accepted this course. Even if you had little or no choice of course, you can say that your liking for the subject has increased as you have taken the course.
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Feedback for Question 12, Choice 'c': "My teacher and career counselor recommended it. "
No.
This is not a very good answer, as it does not show your independence or decision-making ability.
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Feedback for Question 13, Choice 'a': " I did a final year project called..."
O.K.
You should also say what you learned from the project, both in the technical aspects and the inter-personal ones.
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Feedback for Question 13, Choice 'b': "We did a lot of project work. The one I remember best was called... It was the best one because..."
Yes.
You should say what you learned from the project, both in the technical aspects and the inter-personal ones.

Grammar point:
"Remember" is present tense because you are remembering it now.
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Feedback for Question 14, Choice 'a': "I believe that I am a well-qualified, experienced person with abilities that suit your needs, for example..."
Yes.
Use this chance to sell yourself.

Language point:
Notice the use of "I believe..." because "I am..." is too assertive.
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Feedback for Question 14, Choice 'b': "Well, as you can see from my resume..."
No.
There is no need to repeat what the resume says, unless you suspect that the interviewers have not read it or don't remember it. Even if this is so, just state the information, don't refer to the resume.
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Feedback for Question 14, Choice 'c': "I'm the perfect employee you are looking for, you shouldn't miss this chance to employ me."
No.
This is too much. The interviewers will think that you are too proud, and will look for reasons to disprove what you say.
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Feedback for Question 15, Choice 'a': "I learned to be caring and compassionate, and to look after those less fortunate than myself."
If caring and compassion are qualities useful in this job, then this answer is O.K. However, these qualities are rarely asked for in job advertisements.
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Feedback for Question 15, Choice 'b': "I learned responsibility and leadership, for example..."
Yes.
Choose qualities that are relevant to the job that you are applying for, and be ready to give examples.

Grammar point:
You can use "I learned" plus "to be" and an adjective; e.g. "I learned to be responsible"; or you can also use "I learned" plus a noun; e.g. "I learned responsibility".
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Feedback for Question 15, Choice 'c': "I learned to be a better Christian from watching my colleagues and superiors."
This is a good answer if you are applying to a Christian organisation.
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Feedback for Question 16, Choice 'a': "I sleep, listen to music and read books."
No.
Anyone can do these things, and this answer reveals no special qualities that would be useful to employers, unless the employer is a music or book shop.

Grammar point:
Notice the use of the present simple tense for these activities.
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Feedback for Question 16, Choice 'b': "I enjoy cycling and wind-surfing."
These are individual sports, they do not show any ability to work in a team.

Grammar point:
Notice the use of the '_ing' form of a verb after "I enjoy". This also applies after "I like"; e.g. "I like playing basketball." Although you can say "I like to play basketball", you should not say "I enjoy to play basketball."
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Feedback for Question 16, Choice 'c': "I enjoy team sports such as basketball and volleyball, and I am the secretary of my department's student society."
Yes.
This answer shows that you are a person who likes to work with, lead and organise others, and that you are interested in your subject.

Grammar point:
This example of the use of "I enjoy" is different from the one above because there is no verb such as "like" or "play". It is correct, for example, to say "I enjoy basketball" and "I like basketball". Only when there is "enjoy" and another verb should the second verb have "_ing".
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Feedback for Question 17, Choice 'a': "After a few years of gaining experience in the company and furthering my professional qualifications I'd like to put my experience and skills to use in management."
Yes.
This answer is not over-ambitious, shows that you will not leave too soon, and that you will develop your abilities to become a more useful employee.
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Feedback for Question 17, Choice 'b': "I aim to be promoted within two years, lead a team, and, when I have enough experience  in the field, I will start my own company."
No.
Two years may not be a realistic aim, and you should not say that you aim to start a rival company in the field.
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Feedback for Question 17, Choice 'c': "Well, I expect that after a few years management will promote me when they think that I am ready."
This answer does not display any ambition or career planning.
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Feedback for Question 18, Choice 'a': "I think I'm good at..."
This is an OK start, but the interviewer might then go on to ask again about your weaknesses.
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Feedback for Question 18, Choice 'b': "I think I'm good at... As for weaknesses, my Chinese typing speed isn't very good, and I'm studying to improve it."
Yes.
Highlight the strengths that make you good for the job, and pick a weakness that is relevant to the job, but not very important. Show that you are trying to overcome this weakness. Other possible weakness might be that your Putonghua is only at upper-intermediate level, or that sometimes you have trouble recognising simplified Chinese characters. Say that you are studying to improve these abilities.

Grammar point:
After "I'm good at" you can use an "_ing" form, e.g. "I'm good at communicating with people". You can also say "I'm good at" plus the name of a subject; e.g. "I'm good at physics."
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Feedback for Question 18, Choice 'c': "I'm good at...   On the other hand I'm a little bit lazy."
No.
Lazy is a major weakness, don't mention it.
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Feedback for Question 18, Choice 'd': "Sometimes I'm too hard-working and I put myself under too much pressure to make things perfect."
No.
This is not a good answer. Either this is not a problem for a company, as companies want staff to work hard and make things perfect, or the company will reject you because you do not have enough self-control. The interviewers may also think that you are making up a false weakness that is not really a weakness.
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Feedback for Question 19, Choice 'a': "I would fire or transfer that subordinate."
No.
This may not be possible, and would cost a lot of money and time.

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Feedback for Question 19, Choice 'b': "I would talk to him or her to try to find out the problem."
Yes.
This is a good first stage. The interviewers might then ask what you would do then, so think about this issue.

Grammar point:
Notice the use of "would" plus an infinitive verb ("talk") to show that this is an imaginary situation.
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Feedback for Question 19, Choice 'c': "I would first give him a verbal warning, and then go on to disciplinary procedures if necessary."
No.
This may not solve the problem, and may take a lot of time and money.
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Feedback for Question 20, Choice 'a': "Money."
No.
This answer shows that you are money-minded, and that you have not understood the other things that you can gain from working experience.
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Feedback for Question 20, Choice 'b': "There were no benefits, I just did a very low level job."
No.
Even if the job was very low level, you should talk about things that you learned, things that are true in all organisations, such as working with other people to finish a job.
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Feedback for Question 20, Choice 'c': "I learned what it's like to be an employee, how to work in a team, the procedures used by companies, and all the little things that make life in the workplace so different from life as a student."
Yes.
Even if there is no direct relationship between your summer job and the job that you are applying for, it is still useful experience. Be prepared to give examples of the things that you learned.

Language points:
Notice the use of the simple past tense to say what you learned in the summer job, because that job has finished.
"The workplace" does not refer to one company, but is a general term for places where people work, and it contrasts with university or school.


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Last updated on: Monday, March 26, 2012