We are going to conclude our lesson series with the company we met at the beginning – New Mail Ltd located in London. They employ around 100 people in a number of various fields and corresponding departments: management, marketing, accounting, human resources, programming, web design, software maintenance, journalism, editorial work, maintenance workers etc. It is obvious that a company such as this cannot do without an effective Human Resources (HR) Department. We have already met Jennifer English, one of HR Department assistants. Her colleague, who is responsible for corporate and leadership training, is shortly going on maternity leave and New Email is looking for someone to replace her.

            Jennifer was put in charge of the recruitment process organisation. First, she had to compose a job advertisement and (a) post it up on New Mail website, (b) place it with a couple of recruitment advertising agencies.

Job Advertisement

Have a look at the job advertisement Jennifer has prepared and see how it is structured.

Reading Cover Letters and CVs

Jennifer is now facing the difficult task of taking the first step in screening the candidates who responded to the job advert. She has to read about 100 cover letters/emails and CVs and select maximum of 15 applicants who will be invited for an interview. Her primary criterion is how the candidates get to the point in their applications, i.e. how relevant their information is in terms of the advertised position.

Below are two examples of cover letter openings. It is clear which one of them will go directly to the rubbish bin. Study and compare the reasons why she approves or disapproves of them.

In a similar manner, Jennifer will read also candidates’ CVs. Among other things, she will consider
the following issues:

*proper layout

* proper grammar and spelling

* relation of the information to the applied position

*how specific the information is; or is it just a generic job description avoiding concrete evidence of achieved results?

*whether a candidate tries to hide something important, i.e. how long and/or how many gaps there are in their employment history

*whether there is an evidence of increase of responsibility in their career path

When Jennifer has selected the 15 candidates, she will have to write them interview invitation emails/letters. Below is an example of an email.

Subject: Invitation to Interview


Dear Jane Perfect,


Thank you for applying for the position of Corporate Training Manager
with New Email Ltd. in London.

We would like to invite you to attend an interview in our HR Department offices. Your interview has been scheduled for 15 May 2015, 1pm, 123 Mail Drive, London. Attached is a document with further information on the venue, including
a map showing the location of our offices.

Please call me at +44 20 1111 2222 or email me at if you have any questions or need to reschedule.



Jennifer English

New Mail HR Department

123 Mail Drive

EC 2A 2AB London

Conducting a Job Interview

Usually, the final stage of screening job candidates is a job interview. The role of the chief interviewer rests with Mr. Tom Headhunter, Head of New Mail HR Department. He will be assisted by Jennifer English and Ms. Carol Johns, CEO of New Mail.

Mr. Headhunter’s role as the interviewer involves a number of tasks which can be summarised in terms of a general job interview structure.

Job Interview Stages

Establish rapport

greet the candidate, relax them and outline
the interview objectives and structure

Ask for/gather information

look for very specific information from the CV,
ask the candidate to expand on it

Provide information about the company

be honest about what you expect from the candidate if you hire/recruit/take them on, as well as what they can (cannot) expect from you

Close the interview

thank the candidate for their interest and time and indicate next steps including the corresponding time frame

Evaluate your notes and compare
the candidates

note down specific information, rate the candidate


Mr. Headhunter is an experienced interviewer and he knows what kinds of questions he should (not) ask.

A. He should ask open ended questions, i.e. such that eliminate yes and no answers.

close ended question:

Are you organised?

open ended question: 

How did you organise your work in your last job?

Other examples of open ended questions:

Why are you interested in this position?

Why are you leaving your current job?

What contribution can you make to our company?

Tell me about something you’ve done in your current (or most recent) job that is creative.


Describe a work situation in which you can demonstrate that you encouraged the motivation of another person.

B. He should avoid any questions that have nothing to do with the position he needs to fill.
This concerns primarily questions that could be considered discriminatory.

For example:

How old are you?

When did you graduate from high school?

Are you married?

Do you have children?


Where are you from?

What religion do you follow?

What church do you go to?

What are your political views?