IBM 8-bar logo Career Readiness Toolkit for Teachers

How to prepare students for interviews lesson

60 min lesson

3 Activities

Grade 9-12

Low threshold, high ceiling

Common Core Standards

English Language Arts College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards For Speaking and Listening

Comprehension and Collaboration

India Miles from Open P-TECH

Lesson approved by India Miles

India spent years teaching teenagers and college-level students, and also worked as an Assistant Principal in Dallas—and she approved this lesson.

You'll need

Stopwatch / timer

If you’re here, it means you’re looking for ways to teach your high school students professional skills. This 60-minute lesson plan has everything you need to teach your students interviewing skills so they’re ready to land that summer internship or nail their first job interview.

It includes materials, learning objectives and standards, activities and instructions, and student handouts. We also recommend tech tools that you can use to make the learning experience fun and interactive for your students.

Learning objectives

  • Students will prepare answers to commonly asked interview questions.
  • Students will practice answering commonly asked interview questions.
  • Students will write and deliver an elevator pitch.
  • Students will gain confidence and feel more comfortable about preparing for future interviews.

02Warm up

Warm up
Get students warmed up and ready to tackle the next activity with a quick Do Now and Debrief, and Framing to help them understand the importance of interview prep.
Do Now

5-7 min

When students enter the classroom or sign into class online, project the slide that has this scenario. You can also use a collaborative tool like Padlet and post the question there.


Imagine that you are going to an interview. The hiring manager says, “Tell me about yourself.” How do you answer? Take five minutes to write down what you would say.

Debrief Do Now

5 min

1. Invite students to share out. If you use Padlet, give students the opportunity to read each other’s responses before they share. If you’re teaching in person, you can cold call or ask for volunteers. Online, you can ask students to type in the chat box. As students are sharing, note patterns that come up in their responses.


2. Once several students share, ask the class if this question was hard to answer? Why or why not? Ask them if they felt prepared to answer it. Show students this video to dig deeper into the debrief if you find it useful and have time.

Framing: Why learn this?

5 min

It’s likely that many students will find this hard or feel put on the spot. It’s not always easy to talk about ourselves. Where do we begin? What’s important to share? How do we describe ourselves without sounding arrogant ? Taking the time to sit down, think, and prepare a thoughtful response to questions like, “why are you a good fit for this job?” and “where do you see yourself in five years?” helps us become more self-aware.


Share with students that they’ll soon have the opportunity to interview for jobs and/or schools. Share that you want to teach them how to prepare and give them the chance to practice in class, so they feel ready and confident when the time comes.

03Pick an activity

Pick an activity

04Cool down

Cool down
Whether you did one activity or all three, give students the opportunity to reflect and set goals afterwards. These self-assessments will also help you figure out what you need to do next to help them meet the learning objectives/grow stronger in interviewing skills.
Here are some suggestions:
  • You can use a tool like Mentimeter or Poll Everywhere to do a pulse check. Ask students on a scale of 1-5 (1 not confident, 5 ready for the interview now), how prepared they feel for interviews. This information is also helpful for you, as you can use their responses to think about how much more practice they need and whether or not you want to dig deeper into this skill.
  • Create a Google Form that gives students a place to reflect and set a goal. Here are some questions you might include:
    • What do you feel your interviewing strengths are?
    • What do you want to work on before you are interviewed?
    • What do you need more practice with?