The official website of educator Jack C Richards

Practicing interview skills

Submitted by Lester John Cajes, Manila, Philippines

Letting students conduct an oral interview can be an effective task to help them enhance their skills in formulating accurate and appropriate WH questions.  Also, it can serve as a good practice for their oral communication and interpersonal skills, and boost their confidence in speaking. Here are the steps:

  1. Have a brief discussion on formulating WH questions. Let students transform statements into questions to assess if they can already do it correctly.
  2. Decide on who the interviewees will be – they can be teachers, their fellow students or some members of the community. General questions or specific topics like job-related stuff can be the focus of the interview.
  3. Let the students draft ten to fifteen questions. Be sure to remind them to consider courtesy in their choice of questions and avoid too personal ones such as those on romantic relationships, salary, age, etc.
  4. Have them submit the draft. Then, check the structure and meaning of the questions. Give comments and corrections if necessary. Upon receiving the paper, they should be advised whether they have to revise, add some more questions, just rewrite or finally conduct the interview. Multiple revisions may be necessary. This may also serve as an exercise or drill for them to master the structure of WH questions.
  5. Once the questionnaires are finalized, tell the students to set an appointment with their interviewees. Issuing them with a copy of the rubric to be used can also be a signal that they can finally conduct the oral interview. The rubric contains indicators on voice, delivery and confidence. It should be accomplished by the interviewees.
  6. Before they finally take on the interview, they should be reminded about some tips in conducting it, i.e., appearance, greetings, follow-up questions and voice modulation, among others.
  7. You may ask them to videotape the whole interview or make a written report out of it. This is for you to have your own assessment of their performance.