3 Ways to Rehearse for Your Job Interview

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Practice does make perfect, or as close to it as possible. Although you can’t predict every single question you’ll be asked at a job interview, there are ways you can prepare so that you walk in there exuding confidence. Of course, you can’t control every aspect of the interview, and there are never any guarantees in a job search, but with a calm, confident, and professional demeanor plus thorough pre-interview prep work, you can dramatically increase your chances of landing the job. 

The job interview is your opportunity to present yourself as the best candidate for the role, but you have to believe it’s so before you can convince anyone else. To do that, you’ll need the certainty that you’re not only capable and qualified for the job but also ready for the interview. Carefully preparing for the interview lets you know what to expect and how to handle it, including how to navigate potential challenges or obstacles. This knowledge will help you stay calm and focused as you present your best traits and accomplishments.

Whether you choose to record yourself on your phone or computer, practice in front of the mirror, rehearse with a friend, or hire a professional to run a mock interview, the important thing is to prepare for your job interview. The only wrong approach is to not practice at all, so just go with whatever method works best for you. 

Regardless of how you choose to do it, we recommend recording yourself while you rehearse so you can watch it later. The way you present in the recording may be entirely different from how you experienced the interview, and watching the footage can shed light on areas that need improvement, allowing you to polish your answers and correct any distracting tics brought on by nerves. 

Watching and listening to yourself on video isn’t the most pleasant experience, but it’s the best way to spot any weaknesses you may be unaware of. By analyzing the recording, you can see what the interviewer will see, helping you improve your body language and the way you speak. It can be uncomfortable, but given the stakes here, we believe you’ll agree that a little discomfort is a small price to pay. 

1. Practice common interview questions

Although every job interview will have its own set of questions, there are some basic ones that most interviewers ask. These are the easiest to prepare for, and even if you’re not asked any of these common questions directly, thinking about what you want, who you are, and how your skills and experiences have prepared you for this role will help you gain confidence and field any other questions with composure. Even if the questions themselves differ, all employers seek the same kind of information, so be aware of what an interview question aims to achieve and make sure you’re prepared to give the interviewer the information they want.

You can write your questions on flashcards, a whiteboard, your computer, or wherever you can easily access and read them, but we recommend flashcards because you can look through them and answer your questions in any order. Avoid simple “yes” or “no” answers, and don’t try to memorize your responses as you risk sounding robotic and unnatural when you recite them. 

Also, don’t write down the full answers—instead, use keywords and short phrases to trigger your responses. You can’t predict exactly how a question will be phrased, so focus on speaking clearly and confidently and having a good understanding of what you want to say rather than committing a prepared speech to memory. Learning to recognize what each question is really asking can help you deliver more effective answers.

Remember: This is a conversation, not an interrogation. It’s not just about the content of your answers but also their delivery, and it’s important to exude confidence throughout the interview.

2. Dress for the job you want

The way you present yourself will be key on the day of the interview, so why not do a proper dress rehearsal? We recommend trying on the outfit you’ll wear and paying attention to how the clothes feel. Are they comfortable? Itchy? Constricting? Obviously, you can’t show up in sweatpants, but if you choose clothes you’re uncomfortable in, you’ll likely be distracted throughout the interview and appear less confident. 

Make sure you look clean and well-groomed, and choose an outfit you’d wear to a meeting with your boss or a potential client—you want to look good, but you don’t want anything too over the top that will distract you or the interviewer. Aim for an outfit that compliments you, not eclipses you. Keep in mind that your clothes will say a lot not only about you personally but also your understanding of the company’s culture, so dress appropriately for the job and follow the same rules for jewelry, shoes, makeup, and accessories. Since you don’t yet work at the company, you may not know every detail about its culture, but that’s fine—when in doubt, dress a little more formally, but don’t take it too far.

Doing your mock interview in your office attire—even if you’re practicing by yourself—will help put you in the right frame of mind, prompting you to take the rehearsal seriously and giving you the chance to make any wardrobe changes that may become apparent when you watch yourself on camera. It may sound like a nuisance to don your interview outfit for the mock session, but going the extra mile while you prepare can give you an edge over the other candidates, who may be just as qualified as you.  

3. Set up a comfortable interview space

If you have a home office or a professional space you can use, do your mock interview there. The point of this exercise is to prepare you for the real thing, so the more realistic the setting, the better. The environment can make a big difference psychologically, and conducting your mock interview in a setting similar to the interview environment can help bring the things you learn to the forefront of your mind on the big day.

Don’t worry if you have no access to an office because even your kitchen table will do—just make sure the space is quiet, well-lit, and uncluttered. Sit on a chair rather than on a bed or the floor, and try to set up your recording device in a position that will capture your full body language. Even at home, you want to recreate a professional environment to the best of your ability as this will have an impact on your subconscious attitude and the way you carry yourself.

Once you’re done, go back and watch your practice run. In fact, watch it multiple times. First, focus on the way you answered the questions. Were you talking too fast? Was your use of crutch words distracting? Were you making sense? Then watch it again, but this time, focus on your body language. Were you fidgeting? Grimacing? Did you look too relaxed or tense? Study yourself objectively, and work on any lingering issues you may notice because the more prepared you are, the less you will struggle to come up with coherent, appropriate answers. 

You can also show your recording to friends or family to obtain their insight, but only if you can trust them to provide honest feedback. Seeing yourself through someone else’s eyes can go a long way in helping you perfect your interview strategy.

This exercise is much easier and more efficient if you do it with another person, but even doing it by yourself will boost your confidence and reduce your stress on the day of the interview. Still, interviewing yourself can be distracting—you’re trying to play both parts and can’t fully immerse yourself into the interviewee role. So, if you can’t enlist the help of a friend, a family member, or a colleague, set up a mock interview with an expert who will give you constructive feedback and the confidence to take the next step in your professional journey. 

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