Job interviews can be nerve-wracking. You have to think about the different kinds of questions the interviewer might ask — whether situational interview questions, behavioral interview questions, or hypothetical interview questions. You have to do extensive interview preparation with practice interviews either on your own or with the help of career centers and other professionals. You have to make sure you’re emotionally, mentally and physically ready for the few hours you’ll be seated behind the desk of (hopefully) your new workplace.
But sometimes, even the days and hours leading up to the interview can be even more daunting. You get inside your head, try to prep with questions, and psyche yourself out. But to fight against this job interview anxiety, having your own mock interview can help you see the light.
What is a mock interview?
A mock interview is an interview you stage between yourself and a career counselor or other professional who has an understanding of the questions and the expectations your actual job interviewer will have. You can have a mock interview with anyone, so long as they take it seriously and help you practice.
Benefits of practice interviews
A mock interview can be super helpful if you do one with the right people. They can offer feedback on the interview experience as a whole, as well as smaller observations like whether you have good eye contact, body language, and display specific skills. They can let you know about your interview attire and your previous interview preparation. Maybe you’re not prepared enough, or you’re overprepared. Whatever you need help with, a mock job interview can help fill in the gaps.
The best way to ensure a mock interview will be effective is to genuinely think and act like this is a real interview. Take the questions seriously, and ask your interviewer to do the same. These mock interviews can help you answer difficult questions, get you ready for curveball questions, and help you come up with an effective strategy for the interview itself. This should help alleviate your stress and anxiety and put your mind at ease for when it’s time for the real interview. The feedback you’ll receive from this practice interview will be invaluable come interview day.
For optimal results, make sure the interviewer knows what questions to asked. It’s vital that the person who is interviewing you is in your professional field. This way, they can come up with questions and can offer advice on how you’re answering questions. And make sure you make eye contact and keep your body language open and engaged — just like you should in a real job interview. You want this to be as authentic as possible.
What's a Mock Question?
A mock question is a practice question that's a simulation of an actual question that'd be in a job interview. What are the most asked questions in an interview? They include:
• Tell me about yourself.
• Why us?
• Why do you want this role?
• What are your strengths?
• What are your weaknesses?
• Tell me about a mistake you made at work.
Take a look at some of the following resources on common interview questions and how to answer them for more help:
- 40 Interview Questions You MUST Be Prepared to Answer
- 7 Common Job Interview Questions We've All Gotten Wrong
- The 15 Most Common Phone Interview Questions — And How to Crush Them
Where Should You Conduct a Mock Interview?
To really get into the mock interview, conduct the interview in an office space. If you’re making an appointment with a counselor, they will likely have space already. If not, try finding a coworking space or an open office that has a conference room you can use.
And just like with a real interview, come to the mock interview prepared. Arrive early. Bring your resume. Take notes. This will give you a full, well-rounded mock interview experience and will have you ready to ace the big interview.
Interviewing is meant to be stressful for the interviewee. Interviews themselves are meant to test a job seeker on their experience, skills, and abilities. You should feel the need to prepare beforehand, but you don’t have to feel like the interview process is the end of the world. If you take some time to set-up a mock job interview with a career counselor or other professional from a career center or professional development center, you’ll be blowing your next interviewer away with your preparedness come interview day.
In-person vs. remote mock interviews
It's best to emulate the setting of your actual interview, so if it's going to be conducted in-person try to have the interviewer there to assess your body language and other features. If it will be on the phone, do your mock interview over the phone, too.
Next Steps for Interview Prep
For starters, read our comprehensive interview guide. You'll find out what to wear and what to bring, what to say and how to respond and even what to put in your thank you note and follow up.