Job Interview Lesson for ESL

Students in ESL classes (and some EFL classes) will eventually need to take job interviews as they integrate into society. It can be a touchy subject for many students as they societies they have come from may have very different employment environments. Also, students may be under pressure to find a job financially. In any case, job interviewing can make the best students nervous for a variety of reasons.

One of the best ways to deal with this is to explain that job interviewing is a game, although an incredibly important game. It's important to pragmatically understand the rules and not get up in the difficulties of the job market. At the end of this lesson, you will find a number of links that students can visit to help understand job interviewing and improve their skills written especially for English learners.

Aim: Improve job interviewing skills

Activity: Simulated job interviews

Level: intermediate to advanced


  • Distribute the work sheet to students in the class. Students should follow each of the instructions carefully.
  • In groups of three people, choose one person to interview for the positions, one to interview the job applicant, and one to take notes on the job interview.
  • Review notes taken after each interview and have students ask their opinion on how they could improve your job interviewing skills.
  • Have students switch roles and either interview another person, or take notes. Make sure that all students have taken notes AND interviewed so that they can understand the job interviewing process better.
  • While students are in their groups, have them note disagreements on good job interviewing technique. At the end of the session have students to ask other students their opinions on these disagreements.
  • As a follow-up activity, have students go online and find a few jobs they would like to do. Have them write down their qualifications as practiced in class.

Practice your job interviewing skills in English using this exercise:

Job Interviewing: Directions

  1. Visit a popular employment web site such as to search for positions. Put in a few keywords for jobs that you would like. Alternately, find a newspaper with jobs offered listed. If you don't have access to job listings, think of some jobs that you might find interesting.
  2. Choose two jobs from the list of positions you have found that you would like to apply for. Make sure to choose jobs that match your skills in some way. The jobs do not need to be identical to the jobs you have had in the past, or to the subject you are studying at school. However, the jobs you choose should be related to the jobs you have done in the past, or the jobs you would like to do in the future as they relate to your studies.
  3. On a separate piece of paper, write down your qualifications for the job. Think about the skills you have and how they relate to the job you would like. Here are some of the questions you should ask yourself when thinking about your qualifications:
    • What tasks have I done at past jobs that are similar to the tasks required in this job advertisement?
    • What are my strengths and weaknesses and how do they relate to the tasks required in this job advertisement?
    • How do I relate to people? Do I have good people skills?
    • If I don't have any related work experience, how does the experience I have / studies I've done relate?
    • Why do I want this job?
  1. As a follow-up activity, go online and find a few jobs you would like to do. Write down your qualifications as you have practiced in class. Pretend you are interviewing. Take both sides, both as the person interviewed and the person interviewing.

Job Interviewing Resources for English Learners

Example Job Interview Questions and Answers
Finding a Job - Writing a Cover Letter Writing Your Resume
The Interview: Basics
Listen to a Typical Job Interview
Example Interview Questions
Useful Job Interview Vocabulary