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What is a Mock Interview?
A mock interview is a useful practice interaction meant to simulate an actual interview. They can be incredibly beneficial for job applicants as they help increase confidence, articulation, and preparation. Mock interviews are typically used to prepare an individual for an upcoming interview.
Why are Mock Interviews Important?
Interviewing can be incredibly stressful for a job applicant and being calm and prepared can make the difference between getting the job offer and having to continue the search. Mock interviews can help reduce stress and prepare individuals for questions they may be asked. No matter the format, a mock interview can help an interviewee be more prepared, confident, and articulate.
- Confidence. Practice breeds confidence. Mock interviews provide a confidence boost through practice in a less stressful environment than an actual interview. Mock interviews are intended to help candidates gain the necessary confidence to ace a real interview and should be embraced for what they are: an opportunity to build self-esteem, assertiveness, and courage. Additionally, practicing with multiple mock interviews will likely make the actual interview less intimidating. When you know who you are, what you have to offer, and what you plan to say, your confidence will climb.
- Articulation. Have you ever been asked a question only to have your mind go completely blank? Mock interviews help prevent this from happening when it counts. Additionally, rehearsed answers are often more articulate and eloquent than non-rehearsed responses. Mock interviews allow interviewees to formulate what they may say professionally and persuasively.
- Preparation. Surprises in a job interview can be incredibly intimidating. Mock interview preparation allows an interviewee to organize their thoughts ahead of time and respond quickly with strong answers to interview questions. Additionally, it is impressive to a recruiter if a candidate is well prepared with responses to their questions.
Types of Mock Interview Questions
There are multiple types of interview questions from introduction, behavioral, situational, job centered, and company centered questions. These types of questions allow an interviewer to get to know an interviewee in depth and evaluate what they have to offer. Mock interview questions should mimic typical interview questions as much as possible.
Many interviewers start the interview with a version of, “Tell me about yourself.” Interviewees should practice how they introduce themselves in a professional way. Consider what is most crucial about you. Another way to practice introduction questions would be to develop an elevator pitch. Additional introduction mock interview questions include:
- What got you interested in this field of work?
- Why do you want to work for us?
- If you could only use three words to describe yourself, what would they be?
- What are your career goals?
Behavioral interview questions focus on how an interviewee has acted in the past. They are often used to determine how a candidate will likely act in the future. Behavioral questions often revolve around past circumstances a candidate may have encountered. Examples of behavioral questions include:
- Tell me about a time when you faced an ethical dilemma and had to make a difficult decision. What was the result?
- Consider a time when you had to adjust to a major change. How did you feel and what did you do to make the change smooth?
- Tell me about a time when you disagreed with your supervisor. What happened?
- Give me an example of a time when you had to achieve a difficult task in a tight timeline.
- Tell me about a time when you made a mistake at work. What did you do following the mistake?
- Please share an example of a time when you received criticism and how you handled it.
While behavioral questions focus on how an interviewee has acted in the past, situational interview questions ask about how an interviewee would act in a given situation in the present. Situational questions ask about hypothetical situations while behavioral questions ask about actual situations from the past. Examples of situation questions include:
- If you were assigned what you thought was an impossible task given the time frame, how would you respond?
- What would you do if you and a coworker were assigned to work together and you could not agree on how to move forward?
- How would you handle feeling disheartened or unsatisfied with a particular facet of your job?
- If you were presented with an obstacle in your work, what would you do to move forward?
Some interview questions are focused on the company. These types of questions are either looking for how much you know about the company, trying to determine if you understand important elements of the work, or measuring your interest in working for the organization. Additionally, it can be incredibly helpful to have a representative of the organization conduct a mock interview. They can provide company-specific interview questions. Examples of company centered questions include:
- Why do you want to work for this company?
- At this company, we utilize XYZ software. Can you explain your familiarity with this software or how you have used it in the past to solve complex problems?
- What aspects of our company’s values appeal to you the most?
Additional Interview Questions
There are many unique mock interview questions, so mock interviews should be tailored to the specific organization and role you are applying to. One notorious question often used near the end of an interview is, “Do you have any questions for me?” It is wise to have questions to ask at the end of an interview to show your interest. This question gives the interviewee an opportunity to show they have researched the company. Mock interviews give interviewees an opportunity to practice their questions. Additional examples of mock interview questions include:
- What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
- Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
- How have you utilized XYZ skill in your past roles?
- What sets you apart from other candidates?
How To Do a Mock Interview
Many people are interested in practicing for job interviews using mock interviews, but often do not know how to start the process. It’s a surprisingly simple process that can be incredibly worth the effort.
Step 1: Find an Interviewer
Anyone can conduct a mock interview, however, it is beneficial to practice with individuals who have experience conducting mock interviews. Career coaches and college career advisors often offer mock interviews. Additionally, representatives of the organization you are interviewing with can be fantastic resources for mock interviews. They have been through the process before and may have some unique insights
Step 2: Determine the Format
When organizing a mock interview, it is critical to determine the format of the interview. You can ask your interviewer to ask a variety of questions including introductory, behavioral, situation, and company-centered so that you are fully prepared. Additionally, it is important to predetermine if the interview will be in-person, over the phone or virtual. No matter the format, it is crucial to set a specific date and time for the interview rather than leaving it open-ended.
Step 3: Practice
Now that you are scheduled to conduct a mock interview, it’s time to practice. Mock interviews are more effective when you prepare beforehand. During the mock interview, you can refine your answers to questions.
Step 4: Show Up Prepared
It is incredibly beneficial to treat a mock interview like a real job interview. Show up to the mock interview on time and professionally dressed. This gives the interviewer an opportunity to give you advice on both matters. Lastly, as you treat the mock interview as if it were a real interview, maintain a professional persona and keep up the interviewee/interviewer rouse until the end. These suggestions will help you get the most out of the practice session.
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Rae has acquired HR experience in team leadership, research, training, recruiting, project management, and mentoring upcoming HR professionals. She is fascinated by workplace culture and the many implications it has on the world of business, especially HR. When possible, she seeks out opportunities to expand her knowledge and give back to her community.
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