Language Matters - Genre Analysis: Expert Advice - Job Interviews


The following are all examples of websites giving expert advice on performing well in job interviews. Find as many typical genre features as possible – you can count a feature as typical if you can find examples from at least two or three of the sites. You may want to consider layout and content but you should be able to find at least five linguistic features.

Look only at the information on the page linked to. Ignore all links from that page, pop-ups etc. You'll find a suggested answer below.








a. Text divided into short, easy to read sections each with a heading in large bold font indicating the topic of the section.  Examples : texts 2 to 5

b. Photographs illustration the topic(s) of the text included at the top and/or side..  Examples : texts 2,3 and 4.



a. Advice on behaviour recommended or to be avoided when facing a job interview. Examples: all texts

b. Examples of model answers to specific interview questions or on specific topics. Examples :  Texts 3, 4 and 5


Linguistic features

a. Use of interrogative forms to indicate the topic of the section, either in the heading or the first sentence. Examples :

2. You’ve received a call for that dream job, so how do you prepare for the interview? 

3. What time should I arrive at my interview?

4. What steps did you take to achieve the goals outlined in the task? 


b. Use of imperative to give advice.  Examples:

2. Read and review the job description very thoroughly 

3. On arrival put your phone on silent mode, make conversation with the receptionist and take in your surroundings

5. Don’t be late!


c. Use of various exponents indicating  recommendations and advice. Examples :

1. …one of the most important things to consider is how you are going to get there.

3. … it’s a good idea to think ahead to some likely topics that might come up, 

4. … Your answer should focus on what you did personally 


d. Use of second person pronouns and determiners to address the reader directly.  Examples:

2. Before your video interview make sure your technology is up to date and working.

3. …  it's important to make sure you arrive early enough to allow yourself time to settle in

4. Your answer should focus on what you did personally. 


e. Style : Contractions used to give a conversational feel to the text.  Examples:

1.  I don't think it's wrong to have that information on hand, in case you'd like to reference it during your discussion.

3. … it’s all about smiling confidently, shaking hands firmly, making eye contact and generally looking as if you’re glad to be there

5. As we’ve mentioned, this is one of the most common interview questions.


f. Use of discourse markers to indicate relationships between ideas, typical of expository text.

1. However, it is not a good idea to bring notes on how you plan to respond to certain interview questions. For instance, if you've prepared short stories…

3. Similarly, it’s a good idea to have two or three key points that you want to make about what you have to offer and what you’re looking for – for example, ‘I’m ready for the challenge of managing a team’,

6. Therefore, interviewers have heard this answered time and time again. 


However, there is frequent use of co-ordinating conjunctions at the beginning of a sentence rather than more formal sentence adverbials such as those above, in line with the more conversational style described in point e above. Examples :

3. ….has your potential employer been in the news recently? Or could you ask about… 

5. But there is an opportunity for you in that ambiguity


g. If clauses with present tense verb forms (simple, continuous or perfect) – Examples :

1. …if you've done some research on the organization, I don't think it's wrong to have that information on hand…

2. If you're wondering how to dress for an interview, you're not alone.

3.  But if you don’t come across as having a firm grasp of the company and why it’s hiring, the interviewer can only conclude that …