What is a Mock Interview?
If you ask any career counselor the most important advice to give to anyone going for a job interview, they will tell you “preparation.” Interview preparation is often the difference between success and failure at your job interview, and yet most applicants go into interviews and wing it, making up answers on the fly without any degree of preparation beforehand.
It is in your best interests to thoroughly prepare for a job interview. One of the best ways to do this is to hold a mock interview with a friend or counselor, so that you can get used to answering common interview questions perfectly.
How to do a Mock Interview
Mock interviews are the best way to prepare for answering actual interview questions that the employer will ask. It is also a good way to pick up on habits that might harm your chances of impressing an employer. Before your mock interview, you and the mock interviewer should separately research the following:
- The job description to the position you applied for.
- The company you are interviewing for.
- Your resume and cover letter.
- Common interview questions for first interviews.
The mock interviewer should prepare a list of questions that are likely to be asked at your interview. You should separately prepare a variety of answers (without knowing the specific questions) that highlight your skills and utilize important interview tips. Once you have prepared, you and the mock interviewer should go through a fake interview process from introduction to conclusion.
What You Should Watch Out For
During your mock interview you should keep an eye out for the following:
- Questions that you struggled to answer.
- Any stories of your achievements you did not mention.
- Difficulties that you had with the interview process.
You may also want to tape your mock interview and listen to yourself to see how confidently you appeared and if there were any mannerisms that reflected your nervousness.
What the Mock Interviewer Should Look For
The mock interviewer also plays an important role. First and foremost, they should give you an honest account about how well you performed during the interview. However, they should also keep an eye out for the following:
- How often it appeared you rambled without a point.
- How often you used the words “Um” and “Uh.”
- How often you spoke negatively about a past employer or coworker.
- Where you could improve your answers.
- Whether you had any ticks, gestures or mannerisms that distracted the mock interviewer during your answer.
After the Interview
Once you have completed the interview, you should review all of the areas you can improve. Research any areas where you felt your knowledge or answers were lacking. If possible, consider doing the interview again, with some of the questions the same and some different to help keep you off guard and prepared for anything that might be asked at the actual interview.
The key to interview success is preparation. Mock interviews are the best way to prepare for an actual interview, as they give you practice answering interview questions and useful feedback towards how you can respond better.