How to Prepare and Practise for a Mock Interview
By Indeed Editorial Team
Updated 9 October 2022
Published 26 August 2020
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
To feel confident during real interviews with employers, you should hone your interviewing skills with mock interviews. Practicing for an interview will help you become accustomed to the interview process and gain more confidence. In this article, we examine what a mock interview is, the purpose of a mock interview and details about how you can prepare for it.
What Is A Mock Interview?
A mock interview is a practise interview that simulates a real interview as closely as possible. A mock interview involves accustoming potential job candidates to various interview settings and helping them to prepare their responses to commonly asked interview questions.
Actual interviews take place in person, in group settings and over the phone, and you can practise all these scenarios in a mock interview. You will be able to make a note of how you perform and what you can do to improve both your verbal and non-verbal communication skills.
You can ask family members, friends or colleagues to conduct mock interviews for you and give you honest feedback. However, you might find a greater benefit if you can arrange a professional mock interview. Professionals and counsellors in your field will often help you with this. Just be prepared to accept criticism when it is warranted and work at improving your shortcomings.
What Are The Benefits Of Mock Interviews?
The main purpose of a mock interview is to accustom you to the different interview environments and increase your self-confidence. You will then be less likely to be nervous during the real interview. Additionally, mock interviews will familiarize you with commonly asked interview questions. You will be able to practise different iterations of the responses to these questions. That way, during the real interview, you will be able to adjust your answers to fit the setting and appear natural and conversational.
How To Prepare For A Mock Interview
You should take a mock interview as seriously as you would a real one. Following these suggestions can help:
Practise with the right mock interviewer
Interview with multiple people
Recreate the interview setting
Research the company before the interview
Dress well for the interview
Have your CV and other materials at hand
Practise using the STAR method
Record the mock interview
Review your recording
1. Practise with the right mock interviewer
It is best if the person who will carry out the mock interview is from your field, as that will enable them to ask you probing and career-specific questions without needing to do too much research. They will also be able to give you an accurate assessment of your interview performance and let you know if you are likely to be considered for the position. You can ask an experienced and senior professional to help you out, or you can check with online and offline job portals to find out if they offer mock interview opportunities. Additionally, you can ask family members and friends to help you practise.
2. Interview with multiple people
If you have the opportunity, do mock interviews with multiple people. This will prepare you well for real interviews where you will have to interact with and respond to different interviewers. You will learn how to remain calm and collected when facing a panel of interviewers or dealing with different personalities one-on-one. The different interviewers will give you feedback on how well you did at the mock interview and offer tips and advice on what you can do to improve. It is a good idea to undergo several mock interviews until you feel reasonably confident that you will fare well at the real ones.
3. Recreate the interview setting
Whether it is an in-person mock interview or one over the phone or through video, you will get more out of it if it is as close to the real thing as possible. The point is to be at ease with the setting during the interview so that you are not nervous or self-conscious and can concentrate wholly on having a professional conversation with the interviewer.
During an actual in-person interview, you and the interviewer would be facing one another across a desk or a table. Your CV would be on the surface before you. You might sit back in your chair or lean forward to talk with the interviewer. So, try to recreate that scenario during the mock interview and ask the interviewer to evaluate your body language. Determine whether you appear awkward or at ease and what you can do to appear more confident without seeming as if you are making an effort to do so.
For a phone interview, make sure you have a clear phone connection and that your cellphone has a full charge. You should also be in an area where there is minimum or no external distraction. As phone interviews take place at designated times, you should be ready to answer the phone when it rings. Speak clearly and confidently. Smile when you greet the interviewer. Even if they can't see you, it will make your voice sound better.
4. Research the company before the interview
One of the most commonly asked questions at job interviews is, ‘What do you know about our company?' It will help to be well-prepared with a thoughtful answer. Research the company thoroughly and also the position for which you are interviewing. Read through the company's website, their mission statement and their blog. Check their social media posts and any news articles on the company.
It will help to spend some time pondering over how the company's values correspond with yours and what you think you can bring to the position. Prepare a few talking points and practise confidently delivering them. You want to be able to convince the interviewer that you have what it takes to thrive in the position.
5. Dress well for the interview
You can make a favourable first impression on your interviewer if you dress appropriately for the occasion. Your attire needs to be comfortable so that you can be at ease during the interview. That is true for in-person meetings as well as video interviews. Dressing up for a phone interview could also put you in a more professional frame of mind.
After the mock interview, your interviewer can give you feedback on how professional your attire is, how you appear and if you need to make any changes.
6. Have your CV and other materials at hand
At a real interview, the interviewers will expect you to bring along your CV, a work portfolio and any other relevant documents. Make a point of doing the same for a mock interview. Take along everything you think that you will need to provide the interviewer with information about you and your capabilities.
The mock interviewer will let you know if you have come well-prepared or need to have more materials at hand when you attend a real interview.
7. Practise using the STAR method
The STAR method consists of framing responses to interview questions according to the situation, task, action and result. You will need to take your time to make such well-considered responses. Along with providing the interviewer with evidence of your skills and abilities, you will be able to impress them with your logical thought processes.
You should practise the STAR method until it becomes almost second nature to respond to questions in this thoughtful manner. While skills are crucial, most companies also want self-aware people who are capable of in-depth thinking and analysis. You will increase your chances of getting a job if you can present yourself as such.
8. Record the mock interview
While the mock interviewer's feedback about your interview questions can be valuable, you will also benefit from recording the mock interview and reviewing your performance yourself. Try to be as objective as possible when you view the recording. Keep a notepad at hand to make notes. Note if you have a straight posture or if you are slouching, if you are making too many hand gestures, what your facial expressions are and if you appear calm or flustered.
9. Review your recording
It will also help to listen carefully to how you sound. Consider what your tone is like, if you are talking too fast, if are you attentive and not interrupting the interviewer and if you come across as enthusiastic or overeager.
After reviewing the recording, make a note of the areas in which you need to improve. Repeat the mock interviews until you can reasonably smooth over your shortcomings. It may take a while, but it will shore up your self-confidence and will, therefore, be well worth the effort.
When practising with mock interviews, approach them as having a two-way getting to know each other conversation. Keep in mind that you should be assessing the company as they are assessing you. Prepare a list of valid questions to ask about the everyday duties of the position and the company work culture. Just as you want to fit their criteria for the job position, they should also fit your criteria for having a decent work environment. With that mindset and frequent mock interview practise, you will be more likely to pass the real job interview and get selected for the position.
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