This lesson plan combines so many good things I don’t even know where to start: talking, asking questions, listening, feedback skills…
The lesson plan is in two parts. The first deals with job advertisements and job interview do’s and dont’s; the second is the actual job interview and feedback. Dividing the theme into two makes sense also in the sense that it teaches the students the benefits of getting prepared.
The first lesson
First we talk about job interview do’s and dont’s. Usually the textbook has a text on the topic that we go through. If not, the web is full of articles like this. Pick one that is concise and clear. One option would be to have the students research the topic as homework for the first lesson and gather all those ideas together.
At the end of the first class I explain what is going to happen in the second lesson. We go through the authentic job advertisements and everyone gets to pick the one that interests them the most. If all goes well, each vacancy has at least three people interested in it. If not, make it so :) The students’ homework is to prepare both for the role of job applicant and interviewer.
The second lesson
The classroom is organised so that each “vacancy” has its own job interview setting: a table with two chairs on one side for the interviewers and one on the other for the applicant. Then we choose roles (or the teacher assigns them): each vacancy should have at least two applicants (there can be more) and at least one interviewer, although two would be ideal. The applicants go in the hallway to prepare and the interviewers of each vacancy get a few minutes to gather their questions and make a plan of who asks what. They are also allowed to come up with new names and identities for themselves. It’s often easier to take on an unfamiliar role if you don’t have to be yourself. Then the first interviewees are asked to come in. Hands are shaken and introductions are made. The interviews take place at the same time and the teacher walks around the classroom making sure everything is alright. Usually I try to stay away from the interviews so as not to disturb the authenticity. Each interview lasts about five minutes – I tell them when it’s time wrap up. Again, handshakes and thankyous and goodbyes. Then the next set of applicants are invited in and so on and so on.
When all the applicants have been interviewed, the interviewers get a few minutes to make their decision. While the applicants wait in the hallway, they can write down (or just talk) some feedback for the interviewers. Then everybody gathers in the classroom and each vacancy will then tell the whole class who has been chosen for the job and why. The reasoning is important here. The applicants also get to give their feedback to the interviewers.
What is very important in this exercise is that the students really take on their role and imagine it is a real situation. The tables and the handshakes really help in this. I usually motivate them by saying that this is something they will definitely encounter in the future, not necessarily in English, but same things apply no matter what the language. Usually the students realise this and are happy to play along.