The ESL Job Interview

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This is another great activity that will allow you to review and reinforce new vocabulary and wh- question words. I usually use this ESL activity after teaching about jobs and job skills or you can even incorporate personality traits. A word of caution: it can get loud as students will be speaking all at once and trying to convince each other that they are the best prospective employee. It is a great feeling though to see them engaged and animated.

Class English Level: All Levels Group size: either pairs or groups of three

The Set-up (Pre-interview Activity)

For this exercise for your adult or kids ESL classes you want to begin by first having students brainstorm different types of jobs and what qualities or skills you need for these jobs. Do this with groups of three or four. Let your English as a Second Language students work on lists for about 10 minutes. Then you are going to have them go around the room and count off from one to two. This will break the class in half quickly and efficiently. Then instruct all Twos go to the front of the classroom.

The Interview Begins

If you have desks you can move, this is the best way to set this up. Have the students put all the desks in a row with the Ones sitting down and a chair in front of each of them. You then tell the Twos to find an empty chair and begin the interview process. Students will sit down and begin to interview for whatever job the number one student has chosen.

This is a Speed Interview (Awesome Way to Keep Students Engaged)

After two to three minutes have them switch and move to the person to the right’s desk, with the student on the far right end coming around to the opposite end. I usually keep a bell or alarm on my phone go off to keep on time. If you have a loud physical bell it really helps. Like a bell from a bike or the kind that you see at hotel front desks. I find that class gets so loud that they just won’t hear you but the bell keeps them on the ball.

Now it is Time for Interviewers to Become Interviewees

Try to make sure that students have a chance to go through at least three different partners. Now you want to have them all switch places and Two’s sit down and Ones move from seat to seat trying to interview for the job. I usually try to split it so they both get equal time being both interviewers and interviewees.

Finish and Follow-up

After I have determined that they have all had enough time to go through the lesson I do a follow-up by questioning students on which person was the best interviewer and which was the best prospective employee. This will allow your English as a Second Language students the chance to relay the information they heard and practice their past tense and reporting ability.

There are other ways to use this type of lesson.

  • Have them try to sell their dream house to one another,
  • Have them try to convince the other students that they are the perfect roommate.
  • Alternatively, you can do a mock speed dating in which they try to get to know each other in a short amount of time. (This is a nice ice breaker. Have them report back to the class all they have learned about each other.)

As you can see, there are many ways to change and extend this lesson for your class. I often did this with ideas I found from another exercise and just adapted it to the situation or class that I had at the moment. If you have any ideas on how to use this type of active ESL class, leave me and others a not in the comments below.

If you have any ideas or questions, don’t hesitate to ask and I will get back to you soon.

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