Employment Interviews
Employment Interviews

Employment Interviews

Lead Author(s): Jonathon Sweetin

Source: NCLOR

Student Price: FREE

A job readiness resources for learners of English as a Second Language by Jonathon Sweetin.

This content is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

ESL: Employment Interviews


Competency Objectives:  The adult learner will understand what to do and what not to do during an interview.

Suggested Criteria for Success:    

  • During role-play (mock interviews), the learner will
  • demonstrate positive interview behaviors in role-play,
  • avoid negative actions that affect the interview and the employment prospect,
  • be prepared for the interview.

Suggested Vocabulary:               interviewing techniques                first impressions

             interviewer                                     employer

             applicant                                         references

             body language                                  dressing for the interview

             posture                                                personal appearance

             qualifications                                    interview questions

             salary                                                   benefits

             experience                                         work history

             interview preparation                    appropriate/inappropriate

Suggested Materials:      

  • pens or pencils and paper
  • attached handouts, one per person
  • chalk/markers and black/white board
  • newspapers, magazines, catalogs with clothing pictures
  • lesson plan from http://www.spring-institute.org/ . Click on Projects, then on English Language Training Project (left side of screen) then on Free Resources/Publications.  Now click on SCANS Plans:  Completing Interviews.

Suggested Resources:      Interview handouts obtained from local career centers

w Any favorite or available Job Readiness and/or Job Search Workbooks, pamphlets, brochures, and handouts  Some material may need to be modified for ESL lessons.

w NCSOICC (North Carolina State Occupational Information Coordinating Committee) site has wealth of information on all job readiness and search topics at http://www.nccareers.org/Click on Begin NC Careers.

w Resources available through your local Public Library, County, State, or Federal Employment Centers, JobLink Centers, Local Community College Career Centers, and Human Resources Development Programs.

w http://www.ncesc.com/ The Employment Security Commission of North Carolina.  Click on Individual Services.

Suggested Methods:       

  • Open discussion, introduction, and/or review of terminology and vocabulary.
  • Explanation and presentation of the interview’s purpose and intent
  • Modelling and demonstration of interview techniques.
  • Individual/paired practice activities.
  • Role-play interviews before the class.
  • Guest professional(s) to address the class. 

Some Suggested Steps

First Impressions.  Explain the interview process.  Define the terminology and vocabulary associated with interviewing.  Explain that there are expectations and techniques that allow learners to present themselves most effectively.

Demonstrate positive and negative techniques for the start of an interview.  Include first impressions, introductions and handshakes, body language, posture, and personal appearance in your lecture/demonstration.  Encourage students to role play each of the following aspects of interviewing with you or with another student:

·       How to greet the interviewer and make proper introductions, including handshakes

·       How to enter the room

·       Good posture and proper sitting

·       Unspoken or “body language” and the impact it has on interviewing

Provide ample time for individual practice.  Let the groups/class critique performances and allow students to try out the suggestions for improvement in a “repeat performance.”  If your class is large, learners may practice in pairs or small groups before appearing before the whole class.

Interview Questions.  The questions on the “Questions Often Asked During An Interview “ handout are ones that can be expected during an interview.  Even though each learner will respond differently to the questions, it is the intent of this lesson to inform the learner of potential questions and the meanings behind them.

Learners can first respond independently to the questions by thinking about and making notes for their answers.  Then pair learners to interview one another.

Next ask for volunteers to demonstrate their question/answer practice in front of the class.  Ask the class to constructively critique this activity. Explain and demonstrate positive interviewing behavior.

Allow all learners to practice/demonstrate interviewing techniques.  Help the class identify behaviors and reactions that can affect the interview outcome.  Allow class members to critique role-plays, thereby helping participants to strengthen their positive responses and to identify and avoid their negative behaviors.  Assist the learners with understanding the reason why each behavior may be viewed as positive or negative. 

Learners may choose to share personal interview experiences.  Ask learners to supply additional questions that they have been asked during past interviews that are not found on the lists.

Make learners aware of questions that are inappropriate and/or illegal for the interviewer to ask during the interview.  Explain why these questions should not be asked.  Assist learners with ways to respond to inappropriate questions.  You may want to invite a guest speaker to address this issue. 

Learners also need to know questions that are appropriate for the interviewee to ask during the interview session.  Working with the students, develop a list of questions appropriate for to ask the interviewer during an interview.  Again, have each student partner with a classmate to practice responses to answers one might receive.

Dressing for the Interview.  Assign learners to small groups to identify and discuss proper and improper attire for interviewing.  Use newspaper advertisements, catalogs, or magazines to select proper and improper examples of interview dress.  Discuss, and address all questions or concerns.

Discuss general hygiene and appearance.  Work with the class to create a checklist of personal appearance item such as clean hands and nails; clean, pressed clothes; shined shoes; smoker’s breath.

Pick a day for learners to practice dressing for interviews.  Invite a guest speaker from an employment agency, career center, or local company’s human resources department to talk about the employer’s expectations relative to dressing for an interview.

After the Interview.  Show learners how to keep a file containing interviewing paperwork and notes for future references.