4 Ways to Conduct a Mock Job Interview
Job interviews play an integral part in the hiring process, and they’re a key benchmark recruiters use when determining whether to offer a candidate an employment contract. Given the importance of a job interview, it’s natural to feel intimidated by the thought of sitting down with a complete stranger and telling them all about your goals, dreams, strengths, and weaknesses, especially when you know this information can have a major impact on your career trajectory. Although you can’t avoid the interview portion of the process, there are ways to practice for it so you feel prepared and confident, ready to tackle any question the interviewer throws your way, even the unexpected ones.
One of the best ways to prepare for a real job interview is by conducting a mock job interview, which replicates the real thing but without all the pressure. It is a practice run—it’s your chance to try out different strategies and fail without consequences, as well as to familiarize yourself with the interview process so that you can handle the real thing more confidently.
The goal of a mock interview is to obtain constructive feedback that will help you address any issues with your responses, body language, eye contact, or tone, among other things. It provides the perfect opportunity to make mistakes and say the wrong thing without feeling as if you’ve just destroyed your chances of getting hired. In fact, making mistakes in a mock interview can be a good thing—you’ll likely remember them, which will allow you to avoid them during the real interview. A mock interview is your chance to rework your responses, polish your anecdotes, practice your questions, and improve your communication skills.
Although you can’t predict exactly what questions a recruiter will ask you on the day of the real interview, a mock interview expert can help you practice both general and industry-specific questions, as well as give you tips on the best way to answer them. Even if the questions in your real interview are different, practice with answering similar questions will help you reframe your answers according to the context.
Remember: You want to sound natural and let the conversation flow—if you over-rehearse, you’ll sound robotic and inauthentic. Being prepared will help you stay concentrated and collected. It’s important to focus your practice on your attitude, presentation, and confidence rather than the specific words of each answer. If you want to maximize your chances of bagging that dream job, set up a mock job interview with our team of professionals.
So, how do you conduct a mock job interview? Here are four different ways to do it.
1. Conduct a mock job interview by yourself
If you don’t have anyone to play interviewer or would rather practice for your upcoming job interview by yourself, there are a couple of ways to do it that involve recording yourself on your phone, computer, or camera. Get some notes ready—prepare questions and responses for both parties in the conversation—and set your camera up in a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted. Make sure you can see your entire body in the frame—you want to be able to pick up on subtle body language that could influence your interview outcome.
The first way to run a mock interview alone is to speak directly to the camera as if it were the other person—pretend the camera lens is the interviewer’s eyes, and maintain good eye contact. When you watch the video afterward, it will be easy to judge how effective your eye contact is. The second way is to sit facing a mirror (full-length is better) and set your camera up at an angle that will allow you to see your entire body on the recording. If your real interview is to be conducted face-to-face, you want to check your body language and make sure you’re not fidgeting or otherwise signaling anxiety or a lack of confidence.
Once you’re done, watch the video and analyze your responses and presentation as objectively as possible. Don’t underestimate the value of recording your interview because the camera may capture a very different picture from the one in your head.
2. Conduct an online mock job interview with someone you know
It’s not easy to be objective about ourselves, especially when we see and hear ourselves on camera, which is why mock job interviews work much better with another person. Besides, when you have someone else to play the interviewer, you can focus all your energy on being the interviewee. It’s a better approximation of a real interview, even if the interviewer is a friend.
Practicing with someone you know can help put you at ease so you can concentrate on your answers rather than your emotions. There are no consequences for making mistakes here, so you can relax and focus on the best way to answer each question without worrying about putting your career in jeopardy.
Whether you get help from a friend or a family member, rehearsing with someone close is a great way to practice as they can help you find the best way to talk about yourself. Set up a time and ask them to prepare a few common interview questions—just make sure they give you constructive feedback and criticism at the end, which isn’t always easy to do when you’re close to someone. If all their feedback is positive, ask them for areas where they think you can improve—your friends may not want to hurt your feelings, but you can ask more specific questions about particular elements of the interview to get more informative answers. If possible, record the interview so you can watch it back—even if your friend provides insightful feedback, it’s not as powerful as seeing yourself with your own eyes.
3. Conduct a face-to-face mock job interview
If your upcoming job interview is an in-person meeting, you might want to conduct your mock interview face to face. Have a friend meet you at a predetermined place and time—aim for somewhere professional to replicate the environment of a real job interview, but if that’s not possible, a quiet living room or a study will work as well. In a pinch, any place where you can concentrate will do.
Just as with a real interview, make sure you’re there about 10 minutes early—if you’re not ready on time, consider that a lesson. Take the mock interview as seriously as the real thing, and make sure you practice your pre-interview routine as well. Dress and groom yourself as you would for the real interview (which we recommend doing for your virtual mock interviews as well) and stick to a time limit, meaning don’t get too caught up in your personal conversation. Stay in character (as the interviewee) as much as possible—for the duration of this exercise, the other person is no longer your friend or family member but the interviewer. If you slip up or say the wrong thing, get back into interview mode as quickly as possible.
4. Conduct an online mock job interview with an expert
If you want an interview partner who can not only be objective but also knows what hiring managers look for, you should set up an online mock job interview with one of our experts. Unlike your friends, who may be too worried about hurting your feelings to provide valuable insights, our mock interviewers are highly skilled at gently delivering effective feedback that truly helps you improve.
Partnering with a professional for a mock interview is the best way to recreate the real experience. We recommend that you dress the part and choose a setting that’s quiet, uncluttered, and clean. In fact, you should do this for all your online mock interviews, but there’s something about practicing with a professional that makes it seem all the more real. Our mock interviewers can also provide feedback on your outfit, environment (if your real interview is to be held online), and other factors that can have a major impact on the outcome.
Whether you decide to conduct your mock job interview by yourself or with a partner, online or in person, this simple exercise can help boost your confidence and improve your interview skills. Simply going through a mock interview can alleviate your anxiety because it makes the process more familiar and you have a better idea of what to expect. To learn more about setting up a mock job interview with one of our experts, check out our job success services and get ready for the next step in your professional journey!