Developing Interview Skills

I often help my high school students create resumes and sample job applications. SLPs working with young adults are in a perfect position to support the language and social skills required for job interviews. Young adults with language disorders are expected to obtain and keep jobs, even though their disability may be a hindrance. This is perhaps most true in the interview process, when first impressions are key— “… the ability to communicate effectively during the interview process is paramount when job applicants are considered for a position…”


How can we support a student during this process?


Possible therapy activities may include:


1) Mock interviews, recorded, for student and SLP to identify positive and negative interviewing behaviors, and set personal goals in preparation for the interview day, (e.g. choosing appropriate clothing, timeliness, schedule)


2) Practicing responses to common interview questions, such as:

“What are your reasons for applying to the job?”

“What are your strengths?"

“How do you feel about working weekends?”

… plus alternative wordings of such questions


3) Spending considerable therapy time devoted to helping students understand and respond appropriately to potential interview questions


4) Focusing on what an interviewee should do, using role play and prompt cards


5) Practicing positive non-verbal behaviors, such as eye contact, smiling, and standing when the interviewer stands, practicing positive verbal behaviors, such as requesting clarification and using specific examples to answer questions


For more information and research behind working on these skills, see Mathrick, R., Meagher, T., Norbury, C.F. (2017). Evaluation of an interview skills training package for adolescents with speech, language, and communication needs. International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1111/1460-6984.12315

Harold, M. (2017, Sept). Research Watch Report, Issue 4., Article 19235. Retrieved from: