3 Benefits of Mock Job Interviews
Job interviews are stressful for everyone, but they’re especially stressful for those whose interview skills are a bit rusty or who find it hard to cope in high-pressure situations. A lot can ride on a single interview, so it’s no wonder most people feel anxious—it’s not quite a regular conversation.
It’s hardly ever easy to sit in front of a stranger and speak objectively about yourself or answer questions about your goals and professional failures. In fact, it’s an uncomfortable experience for just about everyone. The key is to act confidently regardless. Unfortunately, you can’t opt out of the interview portion of the process, but you can practice until you feel better prepared. The thing about job interviews is that the most prepared candidates are usually the ones who move on to the next stage, so preparation is basically mandatory if you’re serious about the job. So, how can you prepare for a job interview?
Mock job interviews are a great way to build your confidence through practice and feedback, as well as to acquire lifelong transferable skills that can have a significant impact on your career. To ensure a successful job interview, candidates must communicate clearly with the hiring manager, provide thoughtful answers, and be memorable (for the right reasons, of course), which isn’t always easy to accomplish when you’re under pressure. Even if you look up the most common interview questions and consider your answers in advance, unless you have undertaken a mock interview or two, you risk your nerves getting the better of you.
Since practice does make perfect, mock interviews are an excellent way to improve your interview skills, which will serve you well beyond your next job interview. There are different ways to conduct a mock interview—alone in front of the mirror, with a friend or someone else close to you, or with a professional mock interviewer. In all scenarios, record the exercise if possible—this will allow you to see yourself more objectively and may help you pick up on quirks or tics you wouldn’t have noticed otherwise.
If you’re ready to get started, set up a mock interview with one of our experts, who will give you constructive feedback and personalized advice on correcting any issues that might affect your performance in a real job interview, thus helping you feel more confident and prepared.
So, what are some of the benefits of mock job interviews?
1. They boost your confidence
Humans have an inherent fear of the unknown, and that also applies to job interviews. Since it’s impossible to predict exactly what questions the hiring manager will throw your way, you can’t memorize your answers—which is good, in fact, as you don’t want to sound over-rehearsed and robotic. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t practice. Rehearsing your answers will still help you field unexpected questions, and the confidence you gain will show whatever challenges the interview presents.
Mock interviews offer the perfect opportunity to steady your nerves, say the wrong thing, and then correct it and try again. The pressure’s off, so it doesn’t matter if you mess up—this is where you can try different strategies, fail, and learn. If you record your mock interview, you can watch it later and spot anything that needs improvement, from your responses to your body language. Seeing yourself more objectively will also help you identify your strengths and weaknesses and make any necessary adjustments before the day of the real interview. If you have a mock interview partner, they’ll certainly be able to offer some feedback, but nothing they say will hit quite as hard as seeing your performance with your own eyes.
If you’re working with a professional mock interviewer, they’ll throw some industry-specific questions your way to make the mock interview even more realistic, and they’ll give you constructive feedback at the end. Once you get more comfortable with the format and the types of questions you can expect, you’ll be more confident in your ability to ace your real interview. Indeed, simply undertaking a mock interview will familiarize you with the process, making it less of an “unknown” and thus alleviating your natural fear, at least to some degree.
2. They make you better at thinking on your feet
Since you can’t predict the questions you’ll be asked during a job interview, it’s important to be able to think on your feet and provide thoughtful, honest answers to even the most unexpected questions without getting flustered or stuck. Rehearsing your answers to common questions in a mock job interview will help you come up with more focused responses even when you’re under pressure. If your nerves take over, it will be difficult to think clearly and provide high-quality answers, so it’s important to practice and build confidence in your interview skills.
A mock interview will also help you mobilize your analytical and decision-making skills when you’re asked to solve hypothetical problems in a real interview. These questions can be even more nerve-racking than the ones about you and your professional achievements because they put you on the spot and provide immediate proof of your industry knowledge. If you panic, you won’t be able to think clearly and risk underperforming, even if you could easily solve the problem under normal circumstances. When you work with a professional mock interviewer, they will likely present such industry-specific hypothetical problems to help you practice.
A mock interviewer can teach you strategies to get better at providing quick but intelligent responses and guide you to new ways of approaching different types of questions. They can teach you how to identify what a question is actually asking and tailor your answer accordingly—all employers generally ask the same sorts of questions, just in different ways. Practice also helps relieve stress by making an intimidating situation (in this case, the interview) seem more normal, so you will be able to focus on listening to the interviewer and divining what they really want to know. Listening to the interviewer rather than racking your brain for what to say next means you can connect more deeply with them and offer more pertinent answers, which they’ll definitely notice.
3. They improve your communication skills
Mock interviews are an investment in your future since they provide a safe space for you to improve your communication skills and the way you present yourself in a professional setting. The main purpose, of course, is to prepare you for your job interview, but the skills you learn can be applied in various areas of your professional life.
Keep in mind that communication goes far beyond the words coming out of your mouth and that an expert interviewer will be able to catch things most people don’t notice during a normal conversation. They’ll be making mental notes on your body language, eye contact, tone of voice, the speed and volume of your speech, and the level of formality of your language, all of which can be affected by anxiety.
Practicing your answers to common questions and rehearsing the stories you tell about yourself will help you develop a more articulate and concise communication style. This, in turn, will allow you to argue your case for employment much more convincingly. You don’t want to over-rehearse, but you do want to know how to best present yourself and think through some template answers that you can tailor to the specific questions the interviewer asks.
If you wish to reap the benefits of a mock job interview, check out our professional services for job success and take the next big step in your career today!