Job Interview Project

Steve McCarty, Osaka Jogakuin University

Quick Guide

  • Keywords: Job interview, project, role play, performance
  • Learner English level: Lower intermediate or above
  • Learner maturity: University or vocational
  • Preparation time: None
  • Activity time: 120-150 minutes over three classes
  • Materials: Grading sheet or seating chart

A simulated job interview motivates students by appealing to their desire to enter the job market. A project performed in front of the class provides various communication indicators to evaluate. At most foreign language levels in Japan, a rehearsed job interview fits students’ expectation that the performance is fully prepared. Yet rather than a ‘bowling’ presentation communication style, this role play assures frequent interaction, more like tennis (Shaules & Abe, 2007, p. 12). In this activity, students need to assert their communication skills positively, preparing them for actual job interviews.


Step 1: Adjust these suggestions to your class and grading criteria. At higher levels, for instance, presentations could be less rehearsed.

Step 2: On the presentation day, arrange chairs in front of the room so that students face toward each other and the audience.


Step 1: In the first class, explain the activity. In groups of about four, one student will be the interviewer representing a company or organization with a certain open position, perhaps for international work, while the rest of the students are job applicants. Each student should speak for at least two minutes, so the performance should span about 10 minutes in total, for four students.

Step 2: Pre-teach some interview language patterns. For example, interviews should start with greetings and conclude with the interviewer saying that the applicants will be contacted later about the results. Some key phrases to model might include, “Please introduce yourself,” and “Let me introduce myself.” Students should also learn that real interviewers will ask for questions about the organization or position, which can make the difference in getting hired.

Step 3: In groups, students decide their real or fictional organization, a specific job opening, and their roles. Encourage students to visualize or investigate details that might be important in an interview situation.

Step 4: Students brainstorm interview questions to elicit self-introductions, knowledge about the organization, ability to do the job best, and free questions.

Step 5: The interviewer introduces the organization, open position, and works with the interviewees to formulate questions. The job seekers prepare self-introductions and answers, showing knowledge of the organization and their suitability for the position. Homework is to gather more information and plan what students will say.

Step 6: In the second class, give tips on oral and physical delivery. For example, looking up with their face visible to the audience when speaking is vital for intelligibility and evaluating individual speakers.

Step 7: Allow some class time for students to prepare and practice their interviews together. Monitor to make sure they are on task, asking each group about the organization, job opening, and their roles. Encourage any language or pronunciation questions. Homework is for students to refine and practice what they will say.

Step 8: On the third day, each group takes turns entering the ‘interview room,’ exchanging greetings, and taking their positions. Then they enact their interviews, as prepared in the steps above.

Step 9: When the groups are finished, give general feedback on weak and strong points. Praise students for overcoming traditional reserve, as positive self-expression in job interviews will actually increase their chances for career success.


In this engaging activity, students practice preparing for international job hunting, receiving interview tips and feedback. They could gain confidence in L2 communication through a realistic scaffolding with frequent turn-taking and a topic they are interested in.


Shaules, J., & Abe, J. (2007). Different realities: Adventures in intercultural Communication. Tokyo: Nan’un-do.