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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