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.

Take your language skills and your career to the next level
Get unlimited access to our self-study courses for only £5.99/month.


Worksheet79.69 KB

Submitted by Andrea Cabrera on Thu, 13/08/2020 - 18:03

Dear Daniel, you need to be more realistic and less arrogant and you need to make some reaserch about the company in which you are goning to apply

Submitted by ishernandez on Tue, 02/06/2020 - 22:12

Daniel needs to be less arrogant and make good research regarding the company where He is an applicant, also He may give more details about his strengths and be accurate with the lines written on the CV.

Submitted by nikoslado on Tue, 26/05/2020 - 17:22

I'd like to disagree with the opinions about a most or less polite feedback answer to Daniel.It's not about a social relationship or a daily conversation.It's about a choice based on specific criteria and facts.Speaking based on the scenario in the video, the guy was at least unacceptable.He had written a lot of deliberate lies or inaccuracies in his CV ... His body language, his way of talking, the whole behaviour-especially at the end, wanting to sing a song of his own(!!!..), all of these show a person completely ''out of order'', it seems rather like a joke than a professional interview.( In English you could say something, light- informal, like : ''poncy'', ''popinjay'', ''smug'', ''peacock'', ''screwball'', ''big head'', ''stuffed shirt'' and many, many others, slang ones..I think it's a hypocritical and hollow thing and a waste of time trying to give feedback or advice to such a person.You might have to write only the typical text ''We regret to inform you that you failed''.Maybe that could make him think about...

Submitted by Rawan Mohammed on Sat, 02/05/2020 - 22:33

What feedback would you give to Daniel about his interview performance? The feedback that I would give to Daniel is he must be honest in the future interviews, always tell the truth about himself and avoid being over arrogant and vague because he have positive points like what he said the team he was works with them they loves him and I think he is effective with being part of a team and he should be aware of the company before he does the presentation. This what I think.

Submitted by Rawan Mohammed on Sat, 02/05/2020 - 22:07

This video was really helpful for me teach me how to reject someone by choosing my words so carefully to avoid hurt their feelings and how I be polite with them.

Submitted by GERARD on Thu, 30/04/2020 - 21:50

What feedback would you give to Daniel about his interview performance? I would advise him: -to change his CV to a more realistic one and update the information, -to prepare his interview thinking beforehand of questions he can been asked, examples of achievements -to do research on the company and its business -to change his behaviour and body language and tailor his dress style to the company

Submitted by EddieLuv on Sat, 25/04/2020 - 17:06

Mr. Watson Good Afternoon, Thankyou very much for your application. Despite your experience, we regret to inform you that you were not selected for the vacancy because the strong competition surrounding this. You could, in an upcoming interview, talk more about how you work as a team and be more humble about your professional qualifications. Best Regards! Edmar Santos.

Submitted by gerardbarrachina on Thu, 23/04/2020 - 19:19

Mr Daniel, First of all thank you for your interest in our company and for coming here to do the interview. We're really sorry but the competitiveness of the pos was hard enough, so you've not pass the candidate process as well. Nevertheless we hope you to stay focused on the next job oportunities and we wish you the best. Bye.

Submitted by OlaIELTS on Sun, 19/04/2020 - 01:20

The kind of feedback I would give to Daniel about his interview performance will be a bit direct, moderate, polite and positive.

Submitted by Joel-0505 on Thu, 02/01/2020 - 15:32

These videos are very useful for me. I'd have loved someone to give me a feedback like that during my first interviews for working.

Submitted by Loc Dang on Sat, 07/09/2019 - 16:32

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!

Submitted by A_Ichiro on Tue, 09/07/2019 - 11:27

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.

Submitted by Vuqar on Mon, 25/02/2019 - 09:52

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

Submitted by Acentanaro on Sun, 03/12/2017 - 20:39

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.

Submitted by Armağan on Tue, 29/08/2017 - 18:01

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

Submitted by Maestre on Thu, 06/07/2017 - 21:06

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?

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

Submitted by Rebecca Lukusa on Thu, 22/06/2017 - 14:08

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

Submitted by fagloux on Wed, 25/01/2017 - 17:42

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

Submitted by fagloux on Tue, 24/01/2017 - 19:22

Hello, 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 Fabrice

Submitted by Peter M. on Wed, 25/01/2017 - 07:25

In reply to by fagloux


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