Mock Job Interviews: What They Are and How They Work

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If you’re in the midst of a job application process, you’re probably already familiar with the concept of mock job interviews. They are great for practicing before the real interview, helping you feel more prepared to land your dream job. You’ll be pitted against dozens or even hundreds of other qualified candidates who want that job just as much as you, so it’s crucial to get in as much practice as possible before the big day to outshine the competition. If you’ve been invited to interview for a position and still haven’t started practicing, you should seriously consider setting up a mock interview to help you gauge how prepared you are and what areas or skills you need to improve. 

Mock interviews are basically practice runs for real job interviews and can be incredibly helpful for people who get nervous under pressure, feel insecure about their skills and qualifications, struggle with expressing themselves clearly, or find it hard to stay on topic. Of course, a mock interview can’t quite generate the feeling of anxiety a real job interview does, but this trial run is a great way to learn to deal with those nerves and ensure a smooth, successful interview.

Although a mock interview can’t guarantee a perfect performance during the real one, it can help candidates feel more confident and better prepared, which is undoubtedly one of the most positive outcomes of this exercise. While mock interviews should be taken very seriously, they don’t place the same kind of pressure on an applicant as a real job interview. For this reason, they offer you a great environment to experiment with different interview strategies while feeling safe in the knowledge that any faux pas won’t ruin your chances of success.

There are several types of mock job interviews you can do—by yourself in front of a mirror, with a friend or a colleague, or with an expert trained to prepare candidates for job interviews. Whichever you opt for, we recommend recording the interview so you can play it back later and evaluate your body language and overall demeanor—you may come off as completely different from what you intended. If you have an upcoming job interview that you’re particularly nervous about, set up a mock job interview with one of our professionals and start preparing for your future today. 

Why are mock job interviews important? 

The true value of a mock job interview lies in helping you prepare and show up at the real interview feeling empowered, qualified, and confident. It’s a great way to practice and identify your blind spots and weaknesses, which can have a habit of making themselves felt at the most inopportune times, like in the middle of a high-stakes job interview. If you’re working with a mock interview professional, they’ll offer deep insights into your strengths and weaknesses, as well as personalized advice to help you maximize your chances of acing the interview. 

Doing mock interviews will also boost your confidence, not only because you’ll receive valuable advice but also because you’ll be familiar with the process and thus have a better idea of what to do. Even if the real interviewer asks questions you didn’t cover in your mock interview, a few practice rounds under your belt will help you handle any curveballs with poise and confidence.

Having the chance to practice, go over your answers, prepare questions, and even try on your outfit for the big day can have a huge impact on how you feel during the real interview, in the same way that actors have dress rehearsals before they start filming or go on stage in front of a live audience. So, do everything you can to replicate the atmosphere of a real job interview in your practice runs. Wearing the outfit you’ve picked is a good idea because you’ll be able to check if it’s comfortable—tight or itchy clothes will distract you and negatively impact your performance.

Also, doing the mock interview with an expert means you can get specific tips and pointers on how to offer better answers, ask more original questions, and improve your overall communication skills so that you express yourself clearly when facing the interviewer. While this certainly won’t guarantee you the job, it’ll dramatically improve your chances of impressing the person questioning you.

How does a mock job interview work? 

To get the most out of the experience, you should take mock job interviews just as seriously as real interviews. Many candidates wear the outfit they have picked for the big day to make sure that they feel comfortable and that it’s an appropriate choice for the setting, which also makes the whole exercise feel more real. If your outfit is in some way inappropriate, a professional mock interviewer will certainly let you know.

You sit down with the (mock) interviewer, whether it’s face to face or on a video call, and answer common interview questions about your work history, personality, and goals. Then you get feedback on your performance and tips for improving the way you present yourself. A professional will also be able to prepare job- or industry-specific questions to make your mock interview even more realistic and helpful. Obviously, it’s impossible to predict exactly what questions you’ll be asked during the real interview, but practice in answering any common job interview questions is valuable. Generally, employers are after the same kind of information, so in many ways, it’s more about recognizing what a given question is asking and adapting your answer accordingly.

A great way to get more value out of your mock interview is to record it and then watch the video, analyzing your body language, eye contact, tone, vocabulary, the speed at which you speak, the length of time it takes you to answer questions, and the clarity (or lack thereof) of your answers. This will give you the chance to study yourself objectively and improve your answers and skills before the real interview. Of course, if you work with a professional mock interviewer, they’ll also provide this feedback, but it’s valuable to see for yourself how you looked during the interview, which is likely to leave a more lasting impression than the mock interviewer’s words.

As with a real job interview, you should prepare for the mock version by being ready early, dressing and grooming yourself to look professional, and having some general answers and questions prepared so you’re not scrambling for words when the pressure is on. Treat it like a real interview to derive the most value from the experience. To learn more and set up a mock job interview, check out our professional job success services and contact our team of experts. 

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