Human Resources & Recruitment

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This Business English ESL lesson plan on human resources and recruitment has been designed for business professionals or other adults and young adults at an intermediate (B1/B2) to advanced (C1/C2) level and should last around 45 to 60 minutes for one student.

Without staff, companies would not exist. And getting the right staff ensures that the company will be a success. Human resources and recruitment ensure that companies hire the best workers and ensures that these workers receive the training and development they need to prosper in the company. HR also has the responsibility of making sure employees follow company guidelines and disciplining the ones who don’t. In this Business English lesson plan on human resources and recruitment, students will have the opportunity discuss and express their opinions on issues such as the roles and responsibilities of HR and recruitment departments.

For advice on how to use this English lesson plan and other lesson plans on this site, see the guide for ESL teachers.


Reading activity
Before the English class, send the following article to the students and ask them to read it while making a list of any new vocabulary or phrases they find (explain any the students don’t understand in the class):

HR Affiliates | Biggest challenges facing HR departments

The article looks at the top challenges facing HR professionals, including recruitment, retention, and motivation; leadership development; and organisational culture. At the start of the class, hold a brief discussion about what the students thought about the article. What do they think about the issues raised in the article? Do they agree with what was written? Can they think of any ways they can add to the content of the article?

Video activity
To save time in class, the English teacher can ask the students to watch the video below at home. In the class, the students will answer a number of conversation questions directly or indirectly related to the content of the video.

The video for this class is a TEDx Talk called “Expect the Unexpected in an Interview” which offers advice on giving interviews and how to build trust between the interviewer and the interviewee.


The focus in the class is on conversation in order to help improve students’ fluency and confidence when speaking in English as well as boosting their vocabulary.

This lesson opens with a short discussion about the article the students read before the class. Next, the students can give their opinion on the quote at the beginning of the lesson plan – what they think the quote means, if they agree with it and how it could relate to business. This is followed by an initial discussion on the topic including when to speak to the HR department, why some staff are suspicious of HR, and employment laws.

After this, students will learn some vocabulary connected with HR and recruitment such as turnover, retention and redundancy. The vocabulary is accompanied by a cloze activity and a speaking activity to test the students’ comprehension of these words.

If the students didn’t watch the video before the class, they can watch it after the vocabulary section and answer the conversation questions. Before the conversation, ask the students to give a brief summary of the video and what they thought about the content.

Finally, there is a more in-depth conversation about HR and recruitment. In this speaking activity, students will talk about issues such as what determines the best person for the job, biases in the recruitment process, and the differences in recruiting between large and small businesses.


After the class, students will write a report with suggestions on how to reduce staff turnover. The writing activity is designed to allow students to practise business-style writing as well as improving their grammar with the feedback from their teacher.


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