Reading: The Challenges of Human Resource Management

Video: How to Build a Management Team!

Grammar: Articles

Career Skills: Job Interview

Dilemma: The Right Person for the Right Job.




William R. Tracey, defines Human Resources as: "The people that staff and operate an organization"; as contrasted with the financial and material resources of an organization. Human Resources is also the organizational function that deals with the people and issues related to people such as compensation, hiring, performance management, and training. A Human Resource is a single person or employee within your organization.





1. Discuss the questions with a partner.


1. What department is responsible for hiring personnel in big companies?

2. Is hiring a problem?

3. What knowledge and skills are necessary for those whose job is to hire people?


2. There are several methods of job interviews. Match the interview method in column A with its characteristics in column B.


1. Behavioral Based Interviews

a) are forums by which you can discover the nature of the industry without performance pressure. This style of interview allows candidates the opportunity to compare their expectations with the position. You may have the opportunity to speak with those currently employed in the position. Take this opportunity to discover the positive, and less positive, aspects of the position.

2. Case Interviews

b) focus on a person’s specific past performances and experiences. Questions will predominately surround past work experiences that can illustrate the candidate’s competence. For these types of interviews, the STAR system (Situation/Task, Action, and Result) may be useful for answering questions. These four titles serve as a framework for describing work experiences.

3. Informational Interviews

c) the candidate is given a scenario and is tasked with working through the details. These interviews highlight a candidate’s analytical ability. Case questions vary: some may be asked with the purpose of determining how a candidate formulates long-term strategy, while others may be asked with the purpose of determining how well a candidate performs specific tasks, such as pricing promotions for a product.


3. Divide the interview question into 3 groups.


Behavioral Based Interviews

Case Interviews

Informational Interviews




- What did you like/dislike about your last job?

- If you had met your project deadlines and your direct supervisor was unavailable, describe how you would remain busy

- What kinds of problems do you deal with?

- You are the manager of a small software testing team, and one individual is continually late for work and taking extended breaks. How would you approach the issue?

- During construction, a contractor unexpectedly finds a very large object in one of the trenches where he is about to dig. He requests that you tell him how to proceed. How would you deal with this situation?

- What do you do? What are the duties/functions/responsibilities of your job? What are your strengths / weaknesses?




1. Before reading the text about challenges that personnel managers meet check that you understand these important words. Match the words with their meanings a-p. Consult the dictionary if it is necessary.


1. employee

a) to recompense or requite a person for service, merit, achievement, etc.

2. human-resources executives

b) designed, trained, or fitted for one particular purpose or occupation.

3. to promote

c) badly in need of; short of

4. to reward

d) percentage of total workforce who are unemployed and are looking for a paid job.

5. unemployment

e) a fundamental economic concept that describes the total amount of a specific good or service that is available to consumers.

6. strapped

f) an economic principle that describes a consumer's desire and willingness to pay a price for a specific good or service.

7. qualified

g) people who manage the administrative tasks that involve employee compensation, benefits, education and motivation.

8. specialized

h) to surpass or exceed, as in speed, development, or performance:

9. challenge

i) an individual who works part-time or full-time under a contract of employment and has recognized rights and duties.

10. jobless rate

j) a speech or act that attempts to persuade someone to buy or do something:

11. demand

k) to stir up enthusiasm for; promote

12. to outpace

l) to change the rank or position of someone to a higher or more important one

13. supply

m) having the necessary skill, experience, or knowledge to do a particular job or activity

14. pitch

n) a call to engage in a contest, fight, or competition

15. to boost

o) trapped, caught, ensnared

16. to stick

p) the state of not having a job


2. After reading the text choose the most suitable titles for the paragraphs A, B, C from the list below.


A Creating Opportunities

B Controlling Your Brand

C Attracting Technical Talent


The Challenges of Human Resource Management


Organizations and companies succeed, or fail, based on the quality and effectiveness of their employees. These can't be easy times for human-resources executives. A weak economy makes it hard to promote or reward employees. Though unemployment is high, companies say they are strapped when it comes to finding qualified people for specialized tasks.

With that in mind, we asked HR executives across industries this question: "What is your biggest challenge in terms of human resources, and what are you doing to address it?" Here's what they had to say:

1 _____________________

Although the nation's jobless rate remains high at 9.1%, demand for technical workers such as engineers continues to outpace supply at many companies. To attract top tech talent, some HR departments are taking their pitches to the classroom.

2 ______________________

HR professionals say managing a company's image has become ever more challenging—and important—in the age of the Internet. Job candidates can easily use the Web to check out a company's financials, culture or even the boss before deciding to take a job.

3 ______________________

When times are tough, it can be a challenge to keep employees engaged. Many companies are trying to boost internal opportunities, so workers feel they aren't stuck.


3. Discuss these questions in pairs.


1. Is money the only way to make employees feel interested in their jobs?

2. Why is it difficult to find the right personnel even when the jobless rate is high?

3. What specialists are in need according to the text?

4. How company's image influence hiring?

5. How is the problem of keeping employees engaged solved?




4. Make a report on one of these topics.


1. The factors that influence the effective recruitment of quality employees.

2. The theories of occupational choice affect the recruitment process.

3. The most effective methods for recruiting quality employees.

4. The benefits of effective staff development programs.


Video: How to Build a Management Team!

You are going to watch Richard Scrushy, who has built several fortune 500 companies and have hired some of the world's top talent, telling how to select the perfect management team.


1. Watch and say in what context these phrases were used:


- how are they going to look to potential investor

- immediate circle

- athletes

- not aggressive enough

- beauty contest

- people that can back you up

- check references

- management and leadership


2. Answer the questions.


1. How does Richard Scrushy define the role of managers in the company success? What is Richard Scrushy’s strategy for building a team? What factors does he pay attention to? Why?

2. What character traits are the most important for managers? Why?

3. How should a leader, according to Richard Scrushy, treat his staff?

4. How does he understand the word “leadership”? What is the difference between management and leadership?


Grammar: Articles


1. Work individually. Study the information about the article and do exercises afterwards.


Definite Article (the)


1.   The definite article the is used when we are referring to something specific or already mentioned. It is used:

- In front of a singular countable noun

e.g. Give me the apple.

- In front of plural countable nouns

e.g. The apples I bought weren’t very ripe.

- In front of uncountable nouns if they are specified

e.g. The water from the bathroom tap is not very nice to drink.

2. Other uses of the:

- when there is only one of something,

e.g. the sun, the Prime Minister, the Pacific Ocean

- before cinema/theatre/radio

e.g. We went to the cinema last night.

(But you cannot say We watched the television.)

- when referring to a species or an invention

e.g. The whale is almost extinct.

Alexander Bell invented the telephone.

- in front of nationality words

e.g. the Canadians, the Japanese

- with some adjectives when referring to the group in general

e.g. the old, the young, the rich, the poor, the sick, the unemployed

- with superlatives

e.g. It’s the biggest theatre in Moscow.

- with names of newspapers

e.g. The Guardian, The Times, The Daily Mail

- with countries, regions or groups of islands which are plural

e.g. The USA, the Netherlands, the Bahamas, The Middle East

- with names of oceans, seas, rivers and canals

e.g. the Atlantic Ocean, the River Mississippi, the Corinth Canal (but not lakes)

- with mountain ranges, areas and deserts

e.g. the Andes, the Alps, the Himalayas; the west of Siberia; The Sahara Desert

- with names of hotels, pubs, restaurants, museums, art galleries, cinemas, theatres, ships

e.g. The Oriental Hotel, the Prado, the Odeon, the Piccadilly Theatre, The QE2

- with buildings and places containing the word of

e.g. the Great Wall of China

- with musical instruments, dances

e.g. the flute, the samba

- with names of families or groups

e.g. the Smiths, the Beatles

- with a part of smb’s body

e.g. She hit him on the ear =his ear).

- with titles (but the is omitted before titles with proper names)

e.g. The President, the Prince of Wales, the Queen (but Queen Elizabeth II)

- historical reference/ events

e.g. The French Revolution, the Second World War (but: World War II)

- with smb we visit regularly

e.g. She’s gone to the doctor/the dentist.

- with the words: beach, cinema, theatre, city, coast, country(side), earth, ground, jungle, radio, pub, sea(side), sky, station, shop, village, weather, environment, world, etc. but not before ‘man’(=people).

Note: the is optional with seasons.

We say space (without the) when we mean ‘space in the universe’.

- with the words morning, afternoon, evening, night

e.g. I went to the shop to buy bread. (but: at night, at noon, at midnight, by day/night, at 5  o’clock etc).

- with only, last, first (used as adjectives).

e.g. Alex is the first to come and the last to leave.


2. Study these sentences and explain the use of the article.


1. Could you pass me the documents lying on your table.

2. The package designers target the young.

3. John Corbin is the most successful package engineer in the USA.

4. Popov invented the radio.

5. I think he is the one who can conduct negotiations to the mutual benefit.

5. The Guardian published the article about our package company.

6. The Cullens started their business in 1989.


3. Complete the sentences with the where necessary.


1. My boss traveled to … Himalayas this summer.

2. Have you ever been to … Caribbean Isles?

3. We booked into a hotel on … Park Lane.

4. Mary got her degree at ….Oxford University.

5. Last time when I was on a business trip to … America, I had a stunning view of … Appalachians from my window.

6. We spent three weeks designing a new package for … Italians.

7. They heard … news about labeling on … radio and then watched a similar report on  … television.

8. … Project Team usually had … lunch together.


4. Use this map to answer the questions in the way shown. Write the name of the place and the place it is in. On maps we do not normally use the, but in your sentences, use the if necessary. 


5. Work individually. Study the information about the Indefinite Article (a/an) and do exercises afterwards.

Indefinite Article (a/an)


1. The indefinite article a/an is only used in front of a singular countable noun mentioned for the first time. The is used when it is mentioned a second time

e.g. I bought a jacket and a dress. The jacket was quite cheap.

2. Other uses:

 - to talk about any one of a group of people or things in general

e.g. He buys a newspaper every day.

- with all things of the same kind

e.g. Is a spider an insect?

- to talk about someone’s job

e.g. She’s an artist.

- with numbers, fractions, certain words that express an amount

e.g. a hundred, a million, a third, a few/ a great deal

- to talk about a type of a particular thing

e.g. This area produces a fine cheese.

- with two things that are often mentioned together as though they are one thing

e.g. a cup and saucer (not ‘cup and a saucer’)

- with smb’s name when we don’t know the person

e.g. There is a Mr. Brown to see you.

- to mean every with expressions of time

e.g. once a week, twice a year

- with What…! Exclamations, such, rather

e.g. What a nice person!

He’s such a fool!

It’s rather a high price, isn’t it?


 6. Study these sentences and explain the use of a /an article.


1. We have signed a new contract.

2. Each dress has a label.

3. She is a package development engineer.

4. He earned a million last year.

5. - I won’t meet you tomorrow.

- What a pity!

6. Tomorrow I have an appointment with Mr. Smith. 


7. Work individually. Study the information about the cases of Zero Article and do exercises afterwards.

Zero Article (No Article)


There is no article:

- in front of plural countable nouns when making general statements

e.g. Apples are good for you.

- in front of an uncountable noun when making general statements

e.g. Coffee keeps me awake.

- in front of abstract nouns

e.g. Honesty is the best policy.

- in front of meal times

e.g. We have lunch at one.

- In front of certain places like hospital, school, college, university, church, prison, home, work, bed when talking about the activity which normally takes place in that place or building

e.g. He had an accident and was taken to hospital.

- with the names of most towns, cities, countries, islands

e.g. Berlin, France, Jamaica

- with lakes and individual mountains

e.g. Lake Baikal, Mount Everest

- with names of streets, squares, bridges, parks, stations, airports

e.g. Oxford Street (but: the High Street, the Strand, the Mall, the A11, the M4 motorway), Times Square, Tower Bridge (but: the Bridge of Sighs, the Fourth Bridge, the Severn Bridge, the Golden Gate Bridge), Central Park, King’s Cross Station, Gatwick Airport

- with named buildings, airports and institutions

e.g. Padua University, John F Kennedy Airport, Coventry Cathedral

- with pubs, restaurants, shops, banks and hotels which have the name of their founder and end in –s or –s’s

e.g. Tom’s Cafe, Harrods, Baring’s Bank

- with churches and cathedrals

e.g. St Martin’s Church, St Paul’s Cathedral

- with most names of companies, airlines etc.

e.g. Fiat, Sony, Kodak, British Airways, IBM

- with the words father/mother when we talk about our own parents

e.g. Mum is home now.

- with means of transport: by bus/by car/by train/by plane, etc but: in the car, on the bus/train

- with names of sports, games, activities, days, months, holidays, colours, drinks, languages (not followed by the word ‘language’)

e.g. I love polo.

- with a disease or illness

e.g. He’s got pneumonia.

Note: We say flu/the flu, measles/the measles, mumps/the mumps


8. Study these sentences and explain the use of the zero article.


1. The boss invited us for _ lunch.

2. More over, he speaks _ French fluently. I guess, it is one of the reasons he was sent to _ France as a representative of our company.

3. You can always get there by _ plane.

4. _ Jacob’s company is one of the most reliable transport companies.


9. Read these texts and decide if you need to add nothing (the zero article), a/an or the.

Text 1

Mr. Smith felt  --- vibration. --- vibration was from his mobile phone. It was his secretary Miss Jones.

--- secretary told Mr. Smith about James  Doe waiting for him in --- office. It was one o’clock.  Mr. Smith got a bit surprised because --- meeting had been scheduled for two o’clock and his colleague was --- very punctual. Mr. Smith did not want to go back to --- office without having  --- lunch, so he asked --- colleague to join him.

Text 2

Margaret is --- label designer. Today is her first day at --- work.

She got dressed and ate at --- Haven cafeteria. Then she went back to her flat and picked up --- sketches she had done last evening. She wondered if her boss Mr. Williams would approve --- job.


10. Explain the use of articles (including the zero article) in these sentences.


1. _ Bright coloured labels catch my eye.

2. The label on the shirt has caught my eye.

3. I’m studying _ engineering.

4. I bought an iron and a phone. The iron only cost ₤35.

5. He got the contract they were hunting for.

6. _ Labeling is used due to different reasons.

7. _ Learning makes a good man better, and an ill man worse.


11. Choose the correct form.


1. Aim/ The aim of a trademark/ the trademark is to show what firm was the product/ a product produced by.

2. Businessmen / The businessmen try to maintain their business reputation. 

3. The owner's rights / Owner’s rights in the trademark/a trademark can be sold and bought.

4. Written on the label: the item/an item/item can be dry cleaned

5. Written on the label: Warning: contains the sugar/sugar.

6. I recommend consumers use the scissors/ scissors or other sharp implements to open their snack food bags.

7. Label / The label is a piece / the piece of card or other material attached to an object to show its ownership, use, contents, or destination

8. Truth/The truth is that I don’t trust labels anymore.


12. In this exercise you have to write whether you like of dislike these things:


tests                major                   dogs                   label                  cricket

football             Marilyn Monroe           Alps                    Volga                  school


Begin you sentence with one of these:


I like … / I do not like …

I am crazy about … / I hate …

I do not mind …

I feel like …

I’d prefer … to …

There is no point in ...

The most important thing for … is …


13. Put a verb in you phrase. Pay special attention to the articles.


1. I don’t like writing tests. (no article)

2. ………………………………………………………………………………….

3. …………………………………………………………………………………..

4. …………………………………………………………………………………...

5. ……………………………………………………………………………………

6. ……………………………………………………………………………………

7. ……………………………………………………………………………………


Career skills: Job interview

Process task: take part in a role-play.


Situation 1.

Student A

Student B

You are looking for a job of a Quality Manager. You think that you do not have anything that could impress your potential boss. But you want to get a job and you ask your friend for advice. Your friend is an image-maker.

You are an image-maker. You know how to invert a bad argument into the best. Talk to your friend and pick up all necessary information. Help him to prepare for the interview.

Situation 2.

Student A, B

Student C

You’ve come for an interview with a personnel manager of some company. Convince him or her you are what they need.

You are a personnel manager. You interview several people for a position of a Quality Manager. Pick up all necessary information and chose the best candidate. Explain your group mates your decision afterwards.


Dilemma: The right person for the right job


1. Process task: you are going to read the text and make up a dispute afterwards. 

There is an opinion that each job needs a person with special character traits. Finding a career that best fits your personality profile may be a factor to consider when thinking about professional success. Far too often, people start out on career paths for the wrong reasons: direction by well-meaning parents or teachers, taking a job "while they figure out what they want to do" and never moving on, for example.
People who excel in their careers are usually highly motivated and energized by their jobs. They wake up in the morning eager to get to work because their career lets them take advantage of the natural preferences and strengths of their personality. Their job is not a chore to be endured but a vehicle to exercise their talents. They achieve the most important of things in job satisfaction: "a fit" with who they are.

- Do you agree with such an opinion? Are there any ideas in this article that seem to be debatable?

- What character traits are necessary (desirable, harmful) for doctors, businessmen, programmers, lawyers, etc. What about a Quality Manager? Why? Support your ideas with arguments. 


2. Look at the questions concerning work experience. Compare ideas in pairs or small groups within 5 minutes.


- There is an opinion that work experience is the most important point in your resume. Do you agree with it?

- Do you have a job? Some students have jobs. What is your attitude towards it? What are the advantages and disadvantages? Will it be helpful in their future career?

- Look at the picture and say what kind of job is the most suitable for a) a student, b) a person wishing to make a career, c) a woman having a baby.

- Voluntary work is becoming more and more popular in the USA and Europe. Could you make a suggestion about the reasons of such a tendency? What about Russia?

- Looking for a job of a Quality Manager where will you go? Will your potential employer be interested in your work experience? Why?



Word list



Behavioral Based Interviews

поведенческое собеседование

Case Interviews

ситуационное собеседование











human-resources executives

руководители кадровых ресурсов

Informational Interviews

групповое собеседование

jobless rate

уровень безработицы






действие, направленное на то, чтобы уговорить кого-либо сделать что-либо












испытывающий острую необходимость в чем-либо


сильные / слабые стороны




предложение /поставка

to boost


to highlight


to outpace


to persuade


to promote


to recompense


to reward


to stick


to surpass



в ловушке