Most of us wouldn’t dream of giving a big presentation, speech, performance, or demonstration without doing at least one run-through. Yet when it comes to hard-won job interviews, candidates often decide to skip mock interview practice and wing it.
While the “wing it” approach may work for a lucky few, investing a couple of hours to practice can help you get prepared, feel confident, and actually look forward to Interview Day.
Mock interviews can help you if:
You anticipate upcoming interviews and want to be ready.
You want to run through some of the basics, but also be prepared for the situational and behavioral interview questions specific to your area of expertise and/or industry.
You’re amazing at what you do, but you struggle to sell yourself.
I hear things like, “I’m an excellent operations/finance/engineering director, but I don’t know how to sell myself” or “I don’t want to sound like I’m bragging.” This is the time to perfect compelling stories and get comfortable with presenting your skills in a genuine way that won’t feel like bragging.
You’re actively interviewing, but you’re not getting job offers.
You can’t help it when there’s an internal candidate or the employer decided to put the position on hold, but if you’re consistently hearing “no,” then don’t wait too long to figure out what could be going on with your interview skills.
It’s been years since you’ve interviewed.
Even if you’ve been the interviewer, it’s a different story when you’re the one in the hot seat.
Here are 4 key benefits of mock interviewing:
1. You can practice answering the questions in a low-stakes environment.
Don’t wait until the biggest interview of your career to run through common and more challenging questions. If you stumble during a mock interview with a coach or a friend, you have nothing to lose.
2. You get honest feedback from a neutral third party.
Usually, it takes just one or two tweaks to take your skills from good to great. Learn whether you’re committing interview deal-breakers like poor eye contact, long-windedness, fidgeting to distraction, delivery hiccups like too many ums or ahs, or lack of energy. Make sure you choose someone who can be completely objective, up-to-date on interview best practices, and will provide brutally honest, practical, actionable feedback.
3. You gain a comfort level for distance interviewing.
Phone screens and video interviews are still an employer’s favorite, low-cost way to weed out candidates. Figure out ahead of time whether you have spotty cell service, a good internet connection and computer bandwidth to support platforms like Zoom, WebEx, or GoToMeeting, and a professional space/backdrop for your calls.
4. You can gain fluency answering all kinds of interview questions
Nail down your responses to common questions like “Tell me about yourself,” “What are your greatest strengths/weaknesses,” and “Why are you the best person for this job?” You can practice refining your best stories to respond to behavioral and situational questions. Talk through ways to address why you were laid off or have unusual circumstances.
No one has ever told me that they’ve regretted going through a mock interview. In fact, most people who’ve been stuck feel that mock interviewing is what moved the needle the most to win job offers.
Do you think running through a list of questions before your “real” interview can help? How can you build mock interviews into your job search strategy?
I’m Dalena Bradley, job interview coach and career marketer dedicated to helping you communicate your value, stand out from the competition, and win the job!
Contact me to discuss how we can collaborate.