Preparing Student for Interview (Business/Adult)

Teaching ESL to adults

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Preparing Student for Interview (Business/Adult)

Unread postby bridget » 20 Oct 2007, 15:59

Hi everyone :-)

I know it's a bit cheeky to join up and immediately demand help but... I need it! I am a teacher of mainly young learners in central Poland but I have a special case coming up in the coming week. Because I am the only native speaker around (well, British English anyway, which is what they all seem to want here... lucky for me!) I get a lot of random requests for private lessons, individual lessons etc etc.

I turn some down, but I had a desperate plea yesterday from a lady who is being interviewed in 3 weeks time for a job where she will be required to speak both English and Polish. Her English is therefore being tested - baptism of fire style - by the fact that the interview is to be conducted in English.

She is coming to me for 3 1 hour lessons to brush up. I imagine that after the first lesson I will have a good idea of what needs work and what I should be focusing on -- but I am struggling with inspiration for structuring the first lesson. Actvities and such. I guess I should effectively be giving her a practice interview... but I can't just bark questions at her for three hours straight. I also suppose she needs a bit of grammar focus (eg. past simple, what I did and also the ability to talk about future plans and her demands from the company and job). Basically I am looking for a bit of advice, somebody to point me in the right direction really!

Would be HUGELY appreciated, really.

Thank you in advance to any kind soul who can aid me.

Peter Easton
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Unread postby Peter Easton » 25 Oct 2007, 04:05

I did the very same thing a few weeks a ago as a favour for a friend of a friend.

I just did mock up interviews and it seemed to work. Each time I developed the dialogue a bit more and gave her a dozen questions which are always asked in job interviews such as:

Tell me about yourself?
What will you bring to the job?
What are you strengths and weaknesses?
etc, etc, etc.

Make it formal and realistic and give extensive feedback at the end of each one.

If the lady is feeling a great deal of pressure, the priority for you is to calm her down and bolster her confidence. Remind her that it's only a job interview, not a war or an earthquake or something. The person giving the interview is not going to intimidate her or demoralize her (unless he's a sadist..).

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Unread postby Kootvela » 28 Oct 2007, 09:06

Meet somewhere for the introduction and do a kind of placement test to find out her level and problems. Don't charge for that lesson, just get to know her. It can be done in a cafe, that's how I always meet my potential students. If after the meeting we decide not to meet again for some reason, it's also not a problem.

During the meeting, ask what kind of an interview is that, what is she supposed to speak in English about. I hope she knows something about the structure of that interview. Is it only work-related issues or they want her to speak about her freetime activities as well?

Next, insist on an intensive course. 3 1 hour lessons is not enough unless you can pour English into her mind with a jug :-) Every second day for 1,5 h is good. People always say they want to brush up but then you find out that they cannot relate DOES to the third person singular question! :evil:

Peter Easton gave good tips. Try asking different questions that need answering in different tenses, using gerund, conditional sentences; ask her to translate something to see how prepositions work.

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Re: Preparing Student for Interview (Business/Adult)

Unread postby Living Languages » 13 Oct 2008, 11:40


There have been some great suggestions here so far, I just wanted to add my 2 cents...

IMO, the best way to approach interview prep classes is to go prepared with lots of questions and do as much Q and A (with error correction) as possible. If the material could be relevant to their field even better.

I hope that helps!

Teach English in Madrid:

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