Published on July 27 2017

 

“If you see the yellow light flash, do you slow down or speed up?”

“What did you want to become when you were a kid?”

“What would your room tell you if it could talk?”

 

These types of job interview questions are referred to as wild card questions. Although they may seem senseless, they serve a particular purpose: they test your ability to react effectively when you are caught off-guard.

 

How should you tackle a wild card question during a job interview?

 

Usually, your initial answers are clues to your character and core values, so don’t take your job interview answers for wild card questions lightly. Based on your answers, employers will be able to assess if you and the company share the same values.

 

For example, if they ask what you would save first if your house is on fire, you’d want to mention things that provide a glimpse into your values that a company may appreciate. If you’re applying as a systems analyst, you could say during the job interview that you’ll save your PC and your kids’ first baby pictures to emphasize the value you place in your IT skills maintaining solid relationships. Employers admire those traits.

 

It is impossible to anticipate all wild card questions during a job interview. Chances are, you will be caught off-guard. Just remember to use the job position, company values and culture as guides on how you should approach the job interview question. Finally, it is important to be honest. Follow your instincts.  

 

Three Things to Avoid When Job Hunting

 

Searching for a job can be difficult in these tough times. But keep in mind that there are ways to save time, effort, and money as you go on with your offline or online job hunt. Looking out for grapevine jobs, for instance, is a reliable method that can get you employed.

Here are a few tips and reminders to help you with your job search:

 

  • DO NOT send out resumes to any and every company you come across. Handing out unmodified copies of your resume and cover letters to employers will NOT land you a job. Take time to learn about the company and the position you are applying for (whether from the job grapevine or from the employer him/ herself) and customize your resume accordingly.

  • DO NOT waste your time attending job fairs. Employers in most job fairs don’t take resumes. Ask around from your job hunt network if there are job fairs that are worth attending lest you end up wasting precious time.

  • DO NOT spend money on unneeded certification programs. Though completing a certification training program may work to your advantage, it would be better to do some research on what employers are looking for.

 

Remember, study your potential job market seriously, and use resume editor. Shotgun tactics are definitely less effective - be a sniper, and choose your targets carefully.

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Written by Frederick Huston

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Published on April 17 2017

In languages like English, word order is very important. Compare these sentences:

(1) The boy loves the girl.

(2) The girl loves the boy.

You will find exactly the same words in both sentences, but neither the person who loves (the subject) nor the person who is loved (the object) is the same.

Languages with elaborate case systems can simply mark the words in such a way that whatever their position in a sentence, you will be able to tell what function they have. Take a look at these sentences in German:

(3) Der Hund beißt den Mann. (The dog bites the man)

(4) Den Hund beißt der Mann. (The man bites the dog)

Identical word order, but the article gives us the essential clue. “Der” is in the nominative case and indicates the subject, while “den” is an accusative (object) form.

So far so good. And when you don’t need word order to inform about the function of words, it stands to reason that it is freed up to serve other purposes. Typically, it will be used to signal emphasis instead. But it gets more subtle than this, because cases can take on a whole host of different functions (I once checked a respectable Latin grammar, and counted 15 or so different uses for the ablative case). Sometimes it’s difficult to know exactly what the function is, or there is a choice of cases where the difference appears to be minute. I think Russian is the perfect language to illustrate this point:

(5)

Весной его не было дома.

Vesnoj ego ne bylo doma.

Spring.INSTR he.GEN not was at-home

‘In spring he was not at home.’

(6)

Сегодня он не был дома.

Segodnja on ne byl doma.

Today he.NOM not was at-home

‘He has not been at home today.’

These sentences are extremely similar in form and meaning, both have a negated verb of existence, and yet the genitive case has been chosen for the subject in one sentence, the nominative in another. One suggested analysis is that the genitive emphasizes the place (“at home”) as opposed to the subject. It’s rather like a camera which passively records whoever happens to be there. The nominative is more like following the subject with a camcorder, which simply happens to lead you to that particular location.

However, lest the reader be left in a state of linguistic confusion, I will offer you the same advice I have received from the experts: just use the College Essay Checker and don’t worry any more about it.

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Written by Frederick Huston

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Published on April 17 2017

Any academic field is going to have its own terminology, words which are unique to that field. The reason for this is simple enough: some concepts are so important and common that you need to have terms for them which you will not have to explain all the time. While this is very efficient, there is one obvious drawback: outsiders will usually have no idea what you are talking about. And I think that’s actually a shame, because there’s no reason to hide our subjects from the outside world.

Therefore, in this series I would like to cover some terms which linguists and philosophers of language find themselves using time and time again, hopefully explaining things in a clear way which the layman can understand. We will begin with an important distinction made by philosopher Gottlob Frege (1848-1925).

The distinction is between sense (or Sinn in the original German) and reference (Bedeutung). The simplest way to understand it is to ask this question: what does a name actually mean? One historical answer to that question is that a name means what it refers to. So “Shakespeare” means just that, not (for example) “the person who wrote Romeo and Juliet”. This may sound plausible enough, but look at this case:

(1) The Morning Star is the Evening Star.

“The Morning Star” and “The Evening Star” are names which both refer to the planet Venus. So if we only look at the reference, this would have to be the meaning:

(2) Venus is Venus.

And yet, there is a very real difference between the two sentences. To say that “Venus is Venus” is obvious and uninformative. But a morning is something quite different from an evening, and there must be some sort of difference in meaning between a morning star and an evening star. And besides, not all meaningful terms have a reference anyway. It’s easy enough to understand what “the greatest number” means, but there is no such greatest number.

Therefore, Frege believes there is something else to meaning. And it is this “something else” which is sense.

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Published on April 17 2017

Language is constantly undergoing change. Which on the face of it may sound chaotic, but there is enough order in the chaos that we can find some patterns. Grimm’s Law (named after Jacob Grimm) is a very important example of this. It covers sound patterns in Indo-European languages, specifically the transition from Proto-Indo-European to Proto-Germanic (but the results can be traced in modern languages as well). Below is a summary with some examples.

First rule: Voiceless stops become voiceless fricatives.

A voiced sound is made with the vocal folds vibrating, which means that there is no such vibration in a voiceless sound. A stop is a sound where the vocal tract is completely blocked. And a fricative is a sound made by air being pushed through a narrow constriction in the vocal tract.

The upshot of this is that “p” turns into “f”, “t” into “th”, and “k” into “h”. Examples:

We have pada in Sanskrit and pes in Latin, but Fuß in German and foot in English. The Ancient Greek treis has become three. And corazón (pronounced with a “k”-sound) is the Spanish word for heart.

Second rule: Voiced stops become voiceless stops.

In short, b/d/g become p/t/k respectively. Examples:

French has deux where English has two. Latin genu versus English knee.

Third rule: Voiced aspirated stops become plain voiced stops.

The Sanskrit “bhratar” as compared to English “brother”. Similarly, “dh” turns into “d” and “gh” into “g”.

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