In the Job Interviews ESL activity, students imagine that they run a business and conduct job interviews with their classmates.
For the purposes of this activity, students will first need to invent a company and required positions. A great way to do this is the Create A Company project.
Divide the class into pairs.
- If they haven’t already in a previous activity, each pair creates their company and two or three positions to fill. They also write down a list of possible interview questions for each one.
- Write the available jobs on the board (or display them by doing the Job Adverts activity).
- Each student then chooses one job at each company that they would like to apply for (less applications could also work, but make sure you have some applications for all positions). If you did the Writing A CV / Cover Letter activity, you could even get the students to submit their CV / cover letter for the ‘company’ to review beforehand.
- One student in each pair now interviews potential applicants, while the other takes on the role of a job seeker.
- The job seekers all stand up and go to interview at other companies (switching companies every three to five minutes depending on the level). During each interview, the interviewer writes notes on each candidate.
- If your target language is reported speech, partners should switch roles frequently. At each switch, give them some time to help their partner for future interviews, telling them what they were asked using reported questions. If not, they can just switch roles once.
- At the end of the interviews, the companies decide who they want to hire for each position. They then share their decisions with the class, explaining their reasoning.
Tip – Set up the seating so that interviewer and applicant sit across from each other, replicating a real-life situation.
Particularly for adults, the Job Interviews ESL activity is excellent practise for real life, and can be easily adapted depending on the level of your students. For any level of student, it can be a good fit for a jobs or business topic. Or, you can use it for a specific grammar.
For high beginner or low intermediate students, use it to practise the past simple. Students create and ask interview questions and answer those questions about life events/experiences (e.g. Where/What did you study? What was your last job? Why did you leave?). They can also use these answers in their reasoning (e.g. We chose Felipe because he studied marketing / worked in a shop …).
For higher intermediate or advanced students, use it for reported speech. As described above, it’s a great way to practise reported questions in particular (e.g. They asked me if I had experience / when I could start). Student can also use reported speech in their reasoning (e.g. We chose Felipe because he said he had studied marketing).
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