Job Interviews & Uses of Should – Business English Podcast – Ep2

Learn English With Everest Ep 6:

Job Interviews & Uses of Should 


Job interviews English podcast

  • Do your homework


Research the company and know something about the job you are going to job interviews for.

What does the company do? Who are their competitors? Where would your role fit?

This applies to a dress code too – don’t come to an interview for a bank in jeans and a t-shirt but don’t go to a restaurant job interview in a suit

People often say you should dress one level up



  • Know your CV


Make sure you can talk about everything on your CV in detail. An interviewer may not have read your CV that recently, or in much detail. Be ready to refresh their memory and expand on the details in your CV

You should bring a copy of your CV to the interview too.



  • Practice!


Google a list of common questions from job interviews and practice answering them. For example, “Why should we hire you?” “What skills do you bring to the job”?

Make sure you are selling yourself as best you can.

Get any English vocabulary you’ll need for the job, especially if there is vocabulary specific to the industry. You have to know the key vocabulary for the job you are looking for.



  • Get to the point


Don’t give long-winded, rambling answers – you’ve only got a limited amount of time to sell yourself

You really should make the first few minutes count – an interviewer will make up their mind very quickly, often in the first couple of minutes.



  • Be positive


Nobody wants to hear a list of complaints about your last job or why you think everything in the industry is done wrong. Don’t be a whiner!



  • Prepare a few questions


You should have at least two or three question ready to ask the interviewer. You don’t want to seem uninterested or unprepared.



  • Follow up


Send a short email after the interview to thank the interviewer (and remind them who you are)

You should also jot down some notes immediately after the job interviews so you’ll be prepared for any follow-up interviews


Grammar: Uses of Should


We use should in quite a few different ways, but there are three main ones:

The first, and one of the most common ones, is for advice (in the positive or negative):

You should dress appropriately for a job interview (this is a good idea, good advice)

You shouldn’t arrive late for an interview (this is a bad idea)

Students don’t usually have any major problems with this usage.


The second use of should is for a mild obligation. We use must or have to for a strong obligation.

So, in the last section, I said you have to know the vocabulary for the job you’re looking for. This is not just a good idea, it’s essential. If you go to a job interview in a shop and the interviewer says you’ll be working at the till – and you don’t know what a till is – you’re not probably going to get the job (the till is the machine with a drawer where you keep the money in a shop)

So, this is essential, we use the modal verb of strong obligation “have to”.

When we want something milder, not so strong, we use “should”. So, you should bring a copy of your CV to the interview. It’s not essential, but it’s a sensible idea.

Another example might be, In Ireland you should have to wear a seatbelt while driving a car. It’s the law. But you should drive more slowly if the roads are wet. There’s no precise law about the speed you have to drive if it’s wet, it’s just sensible, a good idea.


One thing to be aware of as well is that we often use should, instead of must or have to in formal situations, to be more polite. Especially in written signs or notices. So, you might see a sign saying “All visitors should go to reception”. This isn’t really an option – you have to go to reception – but we use should because it sounds more polite.


The third use of should I want to mention, is one students often get confused about. This is when should is used for something which is logical to expect. To talk about something that normally happens, sth that should happen, but this time it hasn’t.

So, say your friend calls you and says – I’m near your house, I’ll see you in 5 minutes. 10 minutes later she’s still not at your house. You might say, I wonder where she is? She should be here by now – it is logical to expect her to be here

Another example. You always leave your car keys on a hook beside the door. One morning, they are not there. You say, where are my keys – they should be here = I expect them to be here

It’s not the same as may or might or could for uncertainty. If you ask your friend to help you look for your keys your friend might make some suggestions: your keys may/might/could be in your coat pocket, they may/might/could be in the kitchen. These are possibilities, not the same as a logical expectation.


You can learn more Business English and English for Work (Job interviews , CV development, writing reports, negotiating, and much more). If you are Dublin join our professional English course. Keep learning: check out this BBC job interview lesson.

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