Practicing Job Interviews

Lesson plan for English for Specific Purposes

Teaching ESL or English for Specific Purposes classes almost always includes preparing students for job interviews. There are a number of resources on the site focusing on the type of language used during job interviews. This lesson focuses on helping students practice job interviews with each other while using prepared notes helping students recognize appropriate language to be used during the job interview.

There are three essential parts to dealing with job interviews for students:

  • Raising consciousness as to what expect in job interviews
  • Having students carefully reflect on their own skills, strengths and weaknesses
  • Providing pragmatic language skill guidance on appropriate language including tenses, vocational vocabulary, and standard application documents such as the resume and cover letters

This practicing job interviews lesson plan helps with providing pragmatic language skills for the job interview through extensive note taking combined with appropriate tense and vocabulary review.

Aim: Improve job interviewing skills

Activity: Practicing job interviews

Level: intermediate to advanced

Outline:

  • If you haven't already done so, discuss the job interviewing process in detail with your students. Make sure to mention and / or help students understand that the job interviewing process in the United States (or another country) is probably very different than in their own native country. Discuss the differences in detail, suggest that students think of the process as a game in which rules must be followed to help them get over possible frustrations with the job interviewing process.
  • Take a look at some standard job interviewing questions and replies. Here are some examples:
    • How long have you been in current position? - I've worked here for two years.
      When did you join XYZ Inc.? - I began work at XYZ Inc. in 2003.
      Why would you like to work at ABC Ltd.? - I'd like to work at ABC Ltd. because I'd like to use my experience in a customer service setting. etc.
  • Ask students / work with students to review the various tenses used to answer these questions. Review the concepts of:
    • Present perfect (continuous) to speak about work experience up to the present moment
    • Present simple to discuss current job responsibilities
    • Past simple to discuss past responsibilities
    • Use of conditional forms to imagine situations at work
  • Introduce the concept using specific vocabulary to more specifically define responsibilities and capabilities (here's a great list of useful vocabulary for the resume and interview)
  • Pass out the job interview worksheets (copy and paste into a document and print out for use in class).
  • Ask students to complete both sections 1) as interviewer 2) as interviewee. Encourage students to focus specifically on tense usage and specific job vocabulary while completing this task.
  • Circulate around the room helping students with the task, providing specific vocabulary, etc. Encourage students to write questions and responses beyond the cues provided on the worksheet.
  • Give each student a number. Ask even number students to find an odd number student.
  • Have even number students interview odd number students, asking them to refer to their worksheets when they get stuck.
  • Have even number students team up with a different odd number student.
  • Ask odd number students to interview even number students. This time, students should attempt to use their worksheets as seldom as possible.
  • Discuss the practice sessions in detail.
  • As a variation / extension, ask student interviewers to spend five minutes after each interview taking notes on strengths and weaknesses of the interview and share the notes withe the student interviewees.

Job Interview Practice - Worksheet

Use the following cues to write out full questions for a job interview.

  1. How long / work / present?
  2. How many / languages / speak?
  3. Strengths?
  4. Weaknesses?
  5. Past job?
  6. Current responsibilities?
  7. Education?
  8. Specific examples of responsibility at past job?
  9. Which position / want - like to have / new job?
  10. Future goals?

Use the following cues to write out full responses for a job interview.

  1. Current job / school
  2. Last job / school
  3. Languages / skills
  4. How long / work / current job
  5. Three specific examples from past job
  6. Current responsibilities
  7. Strengths / weaknesses (two for each)
  8. Why are you interested in this job?
  9. What are your future goals?
  10. Education