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Mock Interviews – An Overview

Mock interviews

What is a mock interview?

Interviews can be intimidating and nerve-wracking. However, succeeding in an interview depends largely on your preparation and confidence. One technique to prepare confidently for an interview is by practicing through mock interviews. Mock interviews are simulations of job interviews, where candidates can practice in an interview-like scenario and work on their areas of improvement.

Why go for a mock interview?

  • They provide a good opportunity for you to evaluate your answers realistically, identify your strengths and areas of improvement, and make changes based on the results.
  • They help you practice, giving you an understanding of what to expect and how to tackle difficult questions, reducing anxiety, and building confidence.
  • You get an idea of your body language during the interview, that you can assess against the best practices and improve further.
  • The feedback received from your mock interviewer can be used to enhance the overall performance.

Who to select as a mock interview prep partner?

Choosing an interview preparation partner is an important decision. It is always wise to go for people genuinely interested in helping you. Even with unrelated experience in your field, they can provide constructive feedback that can help you prepare well for the final interview. Here are some suggestions for you.

1. Career strategists

Career strategists support professionals in making informed career decisions by addressing their needs. They have the resources to identify your requirements and guide you on how to meet them.  They know the tips and tricks for better interviewing, enhancing your chances of succeeding in an interview.

2. Mentors

A boss reprimands you for your mistakes but a mentor guides you to the right step.” A mentor, who knows your background and personality, is highly capable of giving you personalized feedback on your performance. However, not everyone can find a mentor suited to them. In such cases, you can approach sector leaders or coaches to act as mentors to you and support you through the process.

3. Colleagues

Colleagues have seen you at work, which makes them great judges of your professional skills. It is even better if you approach someone currently holding your target position. However, some of them may not be able to give feedback on your overall performance and skills because of a lack of experience.  Thus, it is essential to choose the right person.

4. Friends

This is a good option if your problem is a lack of confidence, not knowledge. Practicing with friends in your comfort zone can greatly relieve your stress. However, keep in mind that not all your friends may be able to give you feedback on your sector knowledge.  Try finding someone who knows about your domain.

5. Family members

Family members are the best option if you are an introvert. Practicing in your home ground reduces your anxiety considerably. Make sure to communicate about expectations and the areas of feedback that you want to receive. However, their interview feedback may be biased because of their relationship with you.

How do we get it right?

Conducting a mock interview needs preparation. Your responsibility increases even more if your preparation partner is a personal acquaintance. For your convenience, we suggest dividing the process into the following four parts:

1. Initial planning

Once you finalize your prep partner, approach them with these details:

  • Relevant documents, including a resume, job application details, and cover letter.
  • Details about the interview, like the job description, target jobs
  • Company profile

These will help the interviewer to create a closer simulation of the actual interview. Communicate your needs and desired results with your partner. Discuss your strengths and areas of improvement in detail. This will help the interviewer prepare a realistic and problem-focused scenario for you.

2. Homework for a mock interview

With the questions prepared, read and refresh well on the target organization, job role, and job description. Depending on your rapport, the mock interviewer may work with you to set the expectations and structure the interview. In some cases, they can even get you preparation materials. 

3. Mock interview

You have your prep partner. You’ve set the ground. It’s time to play. It is usually a single attempt, but you can schedule another if the need arises. Sector experts and career coaches are better options if the problem areas are domain knowledge and content delivery.

4. Feedback session

Imminent, detailed, and personal feedback is what makes mock interviews great. The interviewer will assist you in understanding the positives and negatives of your performance, with suggestions to work on.  Based on it, you can decide if you’d require another mock round.

How long is a mock interview process?

The actual interview can go up to an hour, depending on your situation, but the process of preparing for the interview must start earlier. Approaching prospective prep partners, researching about the interview, scheduling it, and sharing feedback could take a minimum of three days.  Reach out to the mock interviewer as soon as you start applying for jobs as it leaves you with ample time to prepare and practice.

What to do in a  mock interview?

Like the actual interview, the mock interview also requires preparation. Prepare well, and, more than half of your work is done. Here is what you can do.

1. Carry all relevant materials with you

It is essential to carry all necessary materials with you to your mock interview. This includes your documents like a cover letter and resume and stationery. Prepare your folder as if you are attending the actual interview.

2. Wear professional attire

Athletes practice in their jerseys for a reason. Dressing professionally for the mock interview will put you and your interviewer in the right mindset. Additionally, your interviewer will also get a chance to assess your attire and make recommendations if required.

3. Record your responses

Carry your smartphone or any voice recording device to record the mock interview process. Be articulate and eloquent while speaking so that you get clear audio. You can use this audio later to assess your performance, tone of voice, and answer quality.

Frequently asked questions in a mock interview

Interview questions depend on the job, but you can expect common ones like these:

1. Can you tell me something about yourself?

This question is usually asked to break the ice between your interviewer/s and you. It also gives them an idea of your background. We suggest drafting a reply that comprises your education, KSAs, and experience aligning well with the target role.

2. Why do you want to be part of this company?

This is a good question to show that you have done your homework well. Demonstrate your knowledge about the culture and work environment at the organization, how your experience and skills complement the job role, and how your goals align with the company’s long-term goals. You can refer to the company website, social media pages, and publications to learn more about the company.

3. Do you have any questions for me?

Always ask an impactful question when this is put forward. People usually make the mistake of going for a ‘what’s in it for me’ question. A good way to answer would be to state a unique skill or experience of yours and ask how they can be put to work towards the greater goal. You can even check your genuine doubts with the recruiter or the headhunter at this point.

4. Where do you see yourself in the next five years?

This is where you can highlight the domain specializations that you plan to achieve in the specified time. Understanding the job role and its prospects can help you ace this question. Make sure this answer is aligned with the job role you are applying for.

5. What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Don’t be too frank here. List your skills and achievements that align with the needs of the job. Keep weaknesses to a minimum, and make sure to share what you’ve done to improve them.

Many of you may undermine the effectiveness of a mock interview when given an opportunity. We strongly suggest going for it to help you practice, gain experience, and make any changes required to improve your performance. Make sure to choose the right interview prep partner, and if you can identify the right one, reach out to us. We would be happy to help.