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Episode 08

Marcia writes to the unsuccessful candidate to give them the bad news.

Do the preparation task first. Then watch the video and do the exercises. You can also read the transcript.


Marcia: OK, OK, that's great! We'll be pleased to have you on the team. Looking forward to seeing you next week. Bye!

Philip: Was that Sarah?

Marcia: Yes. She's going to accept the job and wants to come in next week for a chat.

Philip: Oh, great news! Now you just have to tell the other guy that we don't want him.

Marcia: Mm, I hate giving bad news.

Philip: I'm glad that it's your job and not mine!

Marcia: OK, may as well do it straight away. 'Dear Mr Watson, we regret to inform you you have not got the job.' Hmm, sounds a bit too direct. How about: 'Dear Mr Watson, thank you for your application to WebWare. We regret to inform you you weren't successful'?

Philip: Erm, I think you should say something positive.

Marcia: But he was terrible!

Philip: Well, he wasn't great, no, but I think we should be positive and polite.

Marcia: Yes, you're absolutely right. OK, how about this: 'Dear Mr Watson, thank you for your application to WebWare. You were a promising candidate. However, we regret to inform you that the competition for the post was very strong and we will not be offering you the position. Yours sincerely, etc. etc.'

Philip: Yes, that's more like it. But we should include some feedback.

Marcia: Of course. How about if I add this? 'In future, you may wish to moderate your personal style and carefully fact-check your CV.' How does that sound?

Philip: Erm, I'm not sure what 'moderate your personal style' means. It's a bit vague.

Marcia: Hmm, OK. How about 'give more specific examples of your achievements and show how you work as part of a team'?

Philip: OK, yes, I like that. And remember to finish with something like, 'We wish you the best of luck in the future.'

Marcia: Of course. I certainly do wish him luck! OK, done. I'll send it now.



Language level

Intermediate: B1
Upper intermediate: B2


Marcia speaks pretty quickly, and it is not going smooth for me as a beginner of studying English. The listening part is, I can say, usually the main problem in learning English, so it's worth pursuing Marcia's speed speaking (of course, it's no walk in the park!) once you win to get used to catching her sentences, you are successful!

Once I got a rejection letter from a software company. In the email, it said "It was a very difficult decision." in Japanese. I accepted the words as they were and felt a little relieved to know that was close. However they might have thought just like Philip in the video and gave me the positive comment.

Marcia Boardman speaks very fast, as if she is in a hurry. But Philip Hart speaks normal and fluently in my opinion.

Thats what all the companies should do with their candidates, i mean, sometimes you go to an interview, and after days, if you are not the chosen one, they dont call you back, i guess feeback is good for all of us.
Sorry for my english.

You're right, I agree with you.

At the top of this web page, '' Marcia writes an email to one of the candidates giving THEM the news that THEY have not got the job.'' is written. The point I do not understand is why '' THEM and THEY '' were used in that sentence.
The person who did not manage to get the job is only Mr. Watson. So I think that sentence should be '' Marcia writes an email to one of the candidates giving HIM the news that HE has not got the job. '' do not I?

Hello Armağan,

We use 'they' to mean 'he or she'. When we know the gender of the person we can use 'he' or 'she' if we prefer, but 'they' can still be used if we prefer. In this case, 'they' is a good choice because the reader has not yet learned who the candidate is and so from the reader's perspective 'he or she' makes perfect sense.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

It is very dificult to me to understand what Marcia is saying, she speaks really fast and she didn't even pronounce some words, but with Sarah the thing is different, I can understand everything she says. Why does Marcia have to speak that fast?

I think that's her, she is British and that's their accent.

Hello Maestre,

It is indeed frustrating when people speak very fast -- it happens to me quite often here in Spain! -- but I'd recommend looking at this as a learning opportunity. Read the transcript as you listen to Marcia and try to match what you hear with what the transcript says. Noticing how her pronunciation is streamlined -- for example, she often doesn't pronounce 'to' as /tu/ but rather /tə/ -- can be really useful. There are plenty of other native speakers who speak just as fast, so it will be good practice.

Good luck!

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team