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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


All these courses are so constructive. The way to adress a problem even it's one bad. I learn the positive way to do with less stress.
As a french speaker, there is a lot of difficult words to understand.
It'll be appreciate if at end of the course we may find a smal lexical for the technical words.
Thank you

Hello Rebecca,

Thank you for your suggestion. One thing I would suggest is to read through the transcript first. When you find words or phrases you don't understand, look them up in the Cambridge Dictionary. This should help you with most, but if there are any you still don't understand, please feel free to ask us here.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Dear Peter,
Thanks you a lot for your precisions; It's more clear for me now.


Godd morning.
I'm a new member; I have just registered to make a comment about this episode.
Fisrstly, I'd like to thank the team of britishcouncil to offer us those free exercices.
Secondly; about my comment, I am sure to make a mistake; nevertheless; I wish to have a feedback concerning the comprehension task :
On point 5; I replied "Yes" whereas to "No" like in the feedback correction;
When Marcia Boardman proposed to write " “In future, you may wish to moderate your personal style, and carefully fact check your CV...” I understand that it's song like a blame of what he did during the interview.
About the third point; I replied "No" because she not really refused; she made a comment as she does not like to write negative's letters.
Thanks in abvance for your feedback

Hello Fabrice,

In the fifth question the answer is false because it is Philip who suggests including some feedback (constructive criticism); Marcia responds to his suggestion with an example, but the suggestion to do this comes from Philip.

The third question does not ask if she refused to write, but whether or not she wanted to write. Often we do something even though we do not want to - we do it because we must, and I think that is the case here. The question really asks if she is happy to do it, and so the answer is 'true'.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team