Interview Skills for Special Needs Students

Interview Skills for Special Needs Students

Job interviews can be challenging for high school special needs students, but with the right preparation and support, they can successfully navigate the process.

I am thrilled to be included in the Parenting Special Needs online magazine this month. I filmed a video specifically to discuss 5 actions a student can take to elevate their interview skills.

Here is a link to the video.

Etiquette Expert How to Prepare for Magazine Interview

Here Are Job Interview Skills and Strategies for Special Needs

  1. Preparation:
    • Understand the Job: Help students understand the specific job they are interviewing for, its responsibilities, and the skills required.
    • Research the Company: Encourage them to research the company to gain a basic understanding of its culture, values, and mission.
  2. Building Confidence:
    • Practice: Conduct mock interviews to help students become more comfortable with the interview process.
    • Body Language: Teach them about positive body language, like making eye contact, offering a firm handshake, and sitting up straight.
  3. Communication Skills:
    • Listening: Practice active listening skills to ensure they understand the questions being asked.
    • Clear Communication: Encourage clear and concise responses to interview questions. Role-play common interview questions and responses.
    • Use of Technology: If necessary, teach students how to use technology or assistive devices to communicate effectively.
  4. Dress and Grooming:
    • Appropriate Attire: Help students select appropriate interview attire based on the job and company culture.
    • Personal Hygiene: Emphasize the importance of good personal hygiene and grooming.
  5. Self-Presentation:
    • Self-Advocacy: Encourage students to share their strengths, skills, and accomplishments confidently.
    • Positive Attitude: Promote a positive attitude and the importance of showing enthusiasm for the job opportunity.
  6. Social Skills:
    • Interpersonal Skills: Teach basic social skills like making polite conversation and demonstrating respect. Our job skills component is customized for high school students and includes lesson plans and handouts to use in your classroom.
    • Handling Nerves: Help students manage anxiety and stress through relaxation techniques or coping strategies.
  7. Questions and Answers:
    • Prepare for Questions: Assist students in preparing answers to common interview questions, such as “Tell me about yourself” and “Why do you want this job?”
    • Ask Questions: Encourage students to ask questions about the job or company to demonstrate interest.
  8. Problem Solving:
    • Scenario-Based Questions: Practice answering hypothetical questions that assess problem-solving skills and adaptability.
  9. Portfolio or Resume:
    • Create a Resume: Help students create a simple resume or portfolio highlighting their skills, experiences, and accomplishments.
  10. Mock Interviews:
    • Conduct multiple mock interviews with different interviewers, if possible, to expose students to various interview styles.
  11. Feedback and Reflection:
    • Provide constructive feedback after mock interviews, highlighting areas for improvement.
    • Encourage students to reflect on their experiences and identify strategies for improvement.
  12. Follow-Up:
    • Teach the importance of sending a thank-you note or email after the interview to express gratitude and reiterate interest in the position.
  13. Advocate for Accommodations:
    • If necessary, work with students to identify and request reasonable accommodations for the interview process.

Remember Each Special Needs Student Is Unique

Tailor your approach to their specific abilities and challenges, and provide ongoing support and encouragement throughout the interview process. The goal is to build their confidence and skills, ultimately increasing their chances of success in job interviews.

We offer a curriculum specifically for job interview skills. Click here to learn more.

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How To Work On Interview Etiquette With High Schoolers (& Why It Matters)

How To Work On Interview Etiquette With High Schoolers (& Why It Matters)

As students progress through high school, the need for strong interview etiquette skills becomes even more important. Interview skills should be a priority in every high school classroom. 

As an educator, your role is to help your students succeed and thrive academically. But a huge part of this is preparing them for what’s to come. From scholarship and college admission interviews to their first jobs and internships, interviewing is going to be a huge barrier to success. That’s why you should focus on interview etiquette with your high school students. 

And luckily, it’s easier to implement than you might expect! 

Why Is It Important To Teach Interview Etiquette To High School Students? 

Aside from preparing students for college and career interviews, teaching interview etiquette helps shape other life skills, too. 

High school students are unique in that, when they feel fully confident, they have a contagious level of positive energy. When they learn new skills that feel relevant to real life, it’s easy to see their joy and sense of accomplishment. 

That’s right—high school students will be incredibly enthusiastic about learning new skills, as long as those skills feel relevant and practical. Interview etiquette is hands-on and lets students think and learn in a new, different way. 

Students love learning things that benefit themselves. Studying something like geometry is important, but many students don’t see how it’s relevant to their real lives. When you teach interview etiquette, you’re supporting your students in preparing for adulthood. 

Plus, you get to build that confidence in your students. A huge part of interviewing is learning to showcase yourself in the best light and celebrate your skills. Many high school students are vulnerable and feel insecure….and you have the chance to change that while helping them make a good impression and achieve their goals. 

3 Types Of Interview Etiquette You Should Teach To High School Students

If you’re worried about how to teach etiquette to your high school students, it’s way easier than you’re anticipating. 

There are actually three main types of etiquette you should focus on. We’ll go over those three types and then move into some easy strategies for incorporating interview etiquette into your classroom. 

1. Teach Them How To Have A Strong Interview Presence

The first main component of interview etiquette is having a presence. This means things like: 

  • Having good posture throughout the interview
  • Walking into the room with confident body language
  • Keeping your body language confident throughout the conversation

Our body language tells interviewers what they need to know before we even start talking. Many students are completely uncomfortable with interviews, and that shows in their body language.

Prioritize walking in with confidence, maintaining eye contact, and keeping your shoulders back and down, your torso elongated, and your chin up.  

2. Teach Them To Dress The Part

Dressing the part—and more specifically, dressing for what you want—matters. The way we dress helps portray our values and attitude toward a role. 

You’ll want to encourage students of all backgrounds to do their best to dress in an authentic, appropriate, and professional manner. Remind students that it’s okay to ask about interview dress codes if they aren’t sure. 

Typically, you can advise male students to wear slacks and a clean, pressed, collared shirt. The same outfit will work for female students, but a dress or skirt with a business-appropriate length will also suffice. 

Just remember that all students do not come from the same background, home environment, or resources. Keep that in mind when discussing appropriate interview attire

3. Work On Conversation Skills

The final fundamental piece of interview etiquette is conversation skills. There are a few important things here that you’ll want to teach your students. 

First, let your students know that they should always do research on the company (or university) that they’ll be interviewing with. Even better, if they know the name of the person who will be interviewing them, they can research that person, too. 

Next, prioritize conversation skills during the interview. Of course, basic manners and conversation skills matter here. But there are also specific that matter, like asking open-ended questions and using phrases like “describe,” “please explain,” and “tell me.”

You can have your students interview each other with scripts to practice these types of skills! 

Related: Why You Should Teach Etiquette for Teens In High School

How To Easily Teach Interview Etiquette

Now let’s get to the fun part. How do you easily teach interview etiquette in your high school classroom? 

Here are four steps you can take to do this. 

Make The Process Fun With Role-Playing

As a high school educator, you know how important it is to keep learning fun and engaging. When it’s time to prepare your students for interviews, you need to keep things hands-on and engaging whenever possible! 

Role-playing activities are a great way to engage students with real practice. You can even pair students up in groups and have them consistently practice interview etiquette once a week. 

Use An Etiquette Curriculum To Help You Plan These Lessons

If you’re looking for structured plans for etiquette in your classroom without extra stress, the Manners to Go curriculum is perfect for you! 

Manners To Go offers a job skills curriculum complete with tons of engaging activities to guarantee student success during interviews. A huge part of interview etiquette is how you carry yourself (not just your answers to questions) and that’s exactly what our curriculum focuses on. 

As a high school educator, you have lots on your plate. Manners To Go’s curriculum gives you a clear path for teaching interview etiquette in your classroom without tons of extra work. 

Practice Key Interview Skills Consistently

There are so many skills that your students need to know in order to be successful in interviews. Breaking this down into a specific checklist helps you stay on track while creating snackable lessons for your students. 

Here are some of the key interview etiquette skills you should focus on: 

  • Preparing a list of questions for the interviewers
  • Answering typical interview questions students might be asked
  • Eye contact
  • Confident posture
  • Body language and delivery
  • Inclusivity and conversation skills

Make sure to point out successes at each of these skills as students start to use them. Manners To Go’s curriculum features lessons for each of these essential skills. 

Prioritize Following Up After Every Interview  

If you want to help your students stand out, going above and beyond with interview etiquette is a must. 

And the best way to do that is to implement manners through following up! 

Teach your students that following up with an interviewer isn’t just acceptable—it’s encouraged. Then, focus on practicing those skills by writing a handwritten thank you note or email. 

These follow-ups are quick to put together, but take practice to master. They’re worth doing, particularly because they show good character and strong leadership skills. 

Working on interview etiquette with your high school students is an incredible way to prepare them for the real world. Whether your students are heading to jobs, college admissions, or scholarship interviews, they need those essential skills to succeed.

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6 Things Needed to start an etiquette business

Here Are Your Next Steps

Step 1

Get to Know Manners To Go™

Most likely, you will want to get to know us. Feel free to call or email us. Click on the links below. We are happy to discuss the details with you.

Step 2

Decide on the best training option for you

We offer two trainings to become certified to teach manners to children:

Professional Consultant Certification - Live video training

Option #1:

“Live” Video Training

If you are looking to start immediately and save money on travel and time, then this is your best option.You choose the dates of our trainings. Most choose to have their sessions once a week, others twice. This is a “live” and private training. It is NOT self-guided.

2 Day Etiquette Certificate Training

Option #2:

Two-Day In-Person

PRIVATE Training.  That’s right, we meet in person, the two of us and our focus is completely on your business.  Click the image above or follow the button below to learn more and to see a list of cities available for your training.

Step 3

Receive the curriculum and book your training dates

Upon payment, you receive the curriculum. Next, we will send an email asking you to schedule your first training date.

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How To Work On Interview Etiquette With High Schoolers (& Why It Matters) | Manners to Go
How to Teach Your Students to Have a Conversation

How to Teach Your Students to Have a Conversation

Etiquette Expert

How do you teach your students to have a conversation?  Isn’t it special to have someone be fully present with you?  To have a conversation with anyone, an adult or a child is something to behold these days…a conversation without distraction.

My most popular topic when teaching business etiquette in the workplace is The Art of the Human Connection. The art of having a conversation, is a lost “art”.  We are so consumed with social media that often we are so buried in it we miss out on so many opportunities.  Often, it is the first request I have from a human resource director to discuss the basic skills of conversation to their team.

Take the time to teach your students how to converse!  Life is fuller when you have this life skill.  You actually become interesting.  A children and teens learn so much about life when they hear others conversing.

5 Tips to Teach Students to Have a Conversation

  1. Eye contact: This is a social skill that is so very important.  By making eye contact, it shows someone that you are interested.  It sends a message that you are confident.  Point this out to your students.  Explain why this is important.  Take the opportunity to talk about confidence and how it feels. If your students are six or younger, get on their level.  Literally!  Get down on your knees if necessary and make eye contact with them.  
  2. Teach them to listen to others: Another important social skill is to listen. Tell them it is alright for there to be silence when having a conversation.  This is the time to practice sharing-sharing the space to tell ideas and experiences.
  3. Ask questions:  By asking questions, you show others that you are interested in their experiences. Ask a student questions.  Explain to them that you are having a conversation.
  4. Phone skills:  The Wall Street Journal had an article about answering the phone.  Remember when we were growing up and we took messages for our parents?  With smart phones, this most likely is not happening. This was a great way to teach conversation skills.  It is still important for children to know how to answer a phone and converse.
  5. Read a story.  After reading a story, talk about it with your students.  Did they like the story?  What was their favorite part?
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What Are Good Manners in the High School Classroom and Why They Are Needed

What Are Good Manners in the High School Classroom and Why They Are Needed


What Are Good Manners in the High School Classroom and Why They Are Needed

Do high school students need to learn good manners?  Is it still useful for students to learn good social skills?  Are you the one that needs to teach this?  Do you even have the time?

These might be the questions you are asking yourself about now.

Trust me, your students need you to show them how to not be socially awkward or uncomfortable.

When you teach manners and life skills in your classroom, you add a great deal of value to the lives of your students.

Here is how they feel when using good manners:

Here is How Students Feel When Using Good Manners and Life Skills:

  • More confident
  • Self-assured
  • Ready to take more risks
  • Prepared for college or job interviews and internships
  • Happier and healthy
  • Friendlier

Today, I am sharing an activity/lesson plan that you can easily easily teach in your classroom. In fact, if you click on the image below, you can download the specific manners lesson plan.

I believe when we set a goals or intention we need to understand our “why” behind it. This lesson plan will help your students understand the “why” we use our good manners everyday – in public, at at home, with others and especially in your classroom.

This is a fun activity and one that can take only five minutes – or more. You choose.

Your students can engage in a conversation, answer as a group or write down their answers independently.

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Why Not Join Our Manners Movement and Teach Life Skills in Your Classroom?

We offer done-for-you lesson plans to teach manners and life skills in your classroom.

Let us show you what is possible in your classroom.

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10 Tips to Teach Manners in Your Classroom

10 Tips to Teach Manners in Your Classroom

Life Skills | Manners | Character Education | Social Emotional Learning      

10 Tips to Teach Manners in Your Classroom

Now more than ever, teaching manners in your classroom is critical. Children today are looking to learn more about building relationships and creating community.

At Manners To Go, we believe that all children deserve to learn the social skills that will help them grow up to become healthy, happy, successful adults. Here’s your chance to make it happen. We owe it our children to teach them good manners.

Eye Contact

It is amazing what happens when you bring this to a child’s attention. Eye contact is the basis for feeling and showing that you are confident.


What a great way to start the day.  Greet your students every morning or end the day with “good morning” or a “good bye”. Make eye contact and smile.

Lesson plan introductions


The best way to teach introductions is to organize a role-playing activity for your students. They can pretend they have never met each other. Teach them to say “hello, my name is”.


Sit up straight.  Stand up straight.  Having good posture shows that you are confident and interested.

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How to Hold a Fork

Holding a fork correctly is important and shows that we have good table manners.

Napkin in Your Lap

Teach your students to put the napkin in the their lap during recess or lunch.

Conversation Skills

Do your students know how to start or carry on a conversation with each other or with someone they don’t know?

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Be Fully Present | Put Down the Phone or Device

Isn’t it a beautiful gift when someone pays attention to what you are saying and shows they are interested?

What does respect look like?

Deference | Respect

Allowing someone to go first or opening the door.  This is deference.  This is respect. Model this in your classroom.


Say good morning or good bye to your students or co-workers

Teach Manners in Your Classroom

Good Manners Set the Stage for Future Success

As an educator, you know how important social skills are for a child’s success. Children who are polite, well spoken, and attentive to others find it easier to get along with their peers and make a positive impression on the adults in their lives.
As a result, more opportunities come their way, laying the foundation for future success in life.

Yet too many children are not being taught proper manners or other valuable social skills at home. Which means it’s up to us as educators to equip them with these important life tools – and help them grow up to be responsible, caring, successful global citizens.

Now you can help students improve their behavior in as little as 10 minutes a day… a week… or month.

Preschool | Elementary | Middle School | High School

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About Manners To Go

Most likely we already share something in common. We believe that teaching children manners, character and social emotional skills are very important.

Manners To Go™ is a full-service company for those choosing to teach manners to children. You can make a difference. All children and teenagers deserve to feel what it is like to be confident, and use good manners out in the world.

Manners To Go™ is taught in public, private and charter schools around the world. The New York Times, Parents Magazine and Fox News have all featured Manners To Go and the many benefits of teaching social skills to children.

Whether you are an educator who wants to teach it in the classroom or someone who is looking to become trained and certified, we provide all the solutions.

My name is Lisa Richey, and I am the founder of Manners To Go™ . This brand has given me the honor of teaching manners to thousands of people around the world. The journey has taken me from Portland, Oregon to the Middle East. I believe that manners are not about judgment or rules. Manners are about self-interest. It really is about how using good manners makes you feel on the inside.

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