Test Your Reading – Speed Reading Exercise
try the following exercise and as you read have a time limit in mind for when
you would like to finish. Do not keep looking at your watch or timer to see
whether or not you are going to make it. This will only slow you down. Just see
how close you can get to a realistic deadline which will give you a little improvement
on your best speed and recall score so far. Do not be disappointed if you do
not achieve it at the first attempt. As with all the techniques. you will
become more used to them and more successful in using them with practice.
Start timing and begin reading NOW.
The Right Person
CFX pic had a problem. Morale was low. Staff turnover was high. Nobody knew
what was wrong. But everybody knew that something was wrong and that
something would have to be done about it. The question, however, was what?
One suggestion was to bring in a firm of consultants to study the problem and
make recommendations. The managing director was not in favour of that idea,fearing that they might conclude that he was at fault. He preferred first of all to see if they could find a solution in-house. He summoned his Head of Personnel.
What is the problem, John?’ he asked.
‘Well, sir, that’s fairly easy. People are just not happy here. They do not get on
with each other. It seems that every time we appoint somebody we seem to
have a knack of selecting square pegs.’
The managing director sighed and said, ‘Well, we have to do something. We
can’t go on like this otherwise the board are going to notice and start asking
awkward questions. Last quarter’s figures are already going to raise some
eyebrows on faces I’d prefer to keep happy. Get your people to start from square
one and see if they can find out where we’re going wrong.’
The personnel director called his senior team members together and put the
situation to them.
‘We have got to come up with a solution,’ he concluded.
They all sat silent for a full minute and then the newest recruit shuffled in his
chair. They all turned to look at him expectantly. He reddened and looked
‘Well,’ he began, ‘You’ve all been here for some time. I only started two months
‘So?’ asked the deputy director of personnel.
‘Well,’ stumbled the newcomer, looking at her with a mixture of embarrassment
and apprehension, ‘I think there’s something not quite right with our selection
There was a general gasp of astonishment.
‘We use a combination of interviews, the latest assessment tests and practical
tests/ scorned the deputy director.
‘I know, but we use the same procedure for every job. I think some people are
getting through because they are good actors, because they are already familiar
with the test or because the practical tests we use are not always appropriate to
the job they are applying for.’
‘What do you mean?’ demanded the deputy director.
Take my own case. I’ve always been good at interviews. I’ve practised in front of
a video camera, with feedback from friends, and our interviews are typically only
about thirty minutes long, regardless of the level of the job. I was more than
familiar with the tests and had practised on them extensively. My practical test
was to repair a broken typewriter. That’s not really a relevant skill to my job as
assistant training officer and, besides, my father used to run a second-hand
office equipment business and I used to help him out in school holidays and
‘So what do you think we should do?’ asked the director.
At that moment the bell rang for the usual Thursday morning fire practice drill.
Stop timing and make a note of the time and answer the following questions
without looking back at the passage
1. What was the name of the company?
2. What was the first suggested solution to the problem?
3. Why did the managing director not favour this idea?
4. Whom did he summon to discuss the problem?
5. What were going to raise some eyebrows?
6. Who spoke first when the personnel director put the problem to his senior
7. How long had this person worked for the company?
8. What event ended the meeting?
9. Name two of the techniques the company was currently using in staff selection.
10. What was the newcomer’s practical test when interviewed for his job?
Convert the reading time into words per minute.