by Lisa McGrimmon
Below you will find tips for conducting an effective mock job interview as well as a list of practice questions to use to prepare for anything an employer might ask you.
Review tips for answering interview questions.
The more preparation you do before your mock interview, the more you will benefit from the process.
Take time to prepare answers to interview questions before your mock interview.
You will be able to provide better answers to interview questions if you take some time to prepare before your practice interview. Again, the more preparation you do, the more you will benefit from going through this process.
Practice with a career professional if possible.
A good career professional will be able to focus on the types of interview questions that are important based on your career history and future plans. He or she will be able to provide you with excellent input into the strengths and weaknesses in your answers to the questions and help you to polish up any answers that require some improvement.
In some countries, you will find government funded agencies where you can work with a career expert free of charge. In other countries, you must pay to work with a career expert. Employment counseling services can be a bit pricey, and many government funded agencies have excellent career professionals on staff, so it is well worth looking for free resources in your area before you commit to paying to work with a career professional.
Practice with someone who will be kind but honest about your answers.
If you are not able to work with a career expert, find a friend who ideally knows a bit about effective job searching (perhaps someone who has been involved in hiring staff) to play the role of the interviewer in your mock job interview. Look for someone who will tell you honestly if your answers need some improvement but who will provide suggestions for improvement in a way that is kind. Someone who either tells you your interview was perfect when there was room for improvement or who is critical to the point of crushing your confidence is not going to help you improve your job interviewing skills.
Have a specific type of job in mind.
Your practice interviews will be much more effective if you have a specific type of job in mind while you prepare your answers. In fact, it is wise to even have a specific company in mind when you prepare for your mock job interview. You may choose to do a mock job interview for a specific job that you have applied to, or simply for a job or company that is of interest to you.
If you try to do a practice interview for an unspecified job at an unspecified company, you will not be able to develop good, specific answers. It is much easier to come up with good answers to interview questions for a specific job than to try to answer interview questions with no specific job in mind.
Dress the way you would dress for a job interview.
Use the practice interview as an opportunity to get out all of your job interview attire, try everything on and ensure it is clean and in good repair. If you wear your interview clothing during your mock interview, you will have the opportunity to make sure your clothing is comfortable and not distracting in an interview setting. You will be able to ensure your waistband doesn't pinch or ride up uncomfortably, or your skirt or pant hems don't ride up too high when you sit, or your bracelets (if your wear them) don't jingle when you gesture with your hands.
Make the situation as realistic as possible.
The more realistic the practice interview is, the more effective the practice will be. Ensure you are in a quiet place with few interruptions. Sit across from your mock interviewer at a desk or table to make the situation as realistic as possible (don't sprawl out on your living room sofa during your mock job interview), and have your interviewer greet you with a handshake as an employer would in a real interview.
Require yourself to answer difficult interview questions.
I know from my experience with clients, that it is very tempting for job seekers to try to gloss over difficult interview questions during a mock job interview and simply hope that an employer will not ask those difficult questions during a real interview. Do not allow yourself to fall into this temptation. Require yourself to work out good answers to all standard interview questions, including the ones that are difficult to answer.
Review your answers and work on improving any answers that need improvement.
After your mock interview, review your answers with your partner, make note of what was good about the interview, and work out better answers to any questions that you did not answer effectively.
Ask for feedback on your tone of voice, body language and your handshake.
A lot of the information you communicate to people has nothing to do with the actual words you say; you communicate volumes about yourself with your tone of voice and the way you carry yourself. It is very difficult to be objective about your own body language and vocal tone, so ask your mock interviewer to give you some feedback on these aspects of your job interview.
Many people have difficulty watching themselves on video, but if you have any reason to suspect there are issues with your body language or vocal tone during job interviews, you may benefit from video taping your mock interview so you can review your interview more thoroughly.
The practice interview questions listed below are questions that are very commonly asked during a job interview. Employers may phrase the questions in slightly different ways, but the basic questions will be the same. If you work out good answers to these questions, you will be ready for many of the questions you will be asked in most job interviews. You will find tips to help you work out good answers to these interview questions on the following pages:
Practice Interview Questions
Be sure to do at least one mock job interview (more if you are nervous about answering interview questions) before you go to a real job interview. The practice will make a big impact on your ability to answer questions with confidence and make a great impression on your interviewer.