Mock Interviews: Questions to Ask, How to Practice, and More

Mock Interviews: Questions to Ask, How to Practice and More

Do you ever wish there was more you could do to prepare for your upcoming interview? No matter how often you read and reread your qualifications, you feel like you’re not conveying what you’re trying to communicate effectively.

Or, perhaps you’ve had some interviews and come away unsuccessful. After feeling like they went great, you came home and waited for the phone to ring and…crickets.

When you’re getting no callbacks, it might be time to consider getting some feedback on your interview style. Better yet, set yourself up for success before you even begin with a mock interview.

What Is a Mock Interview? Definition & Meaning

Exactly what it sounds like, a mock interview is simply a practice interview where you’ll get feedback on your poise, demeanor, and responses. You might learn that need to tweak your verbiage. Or, perhaps your body language is unintentionally stiff and unwelcoming. A mock interview is a terrific way to modify your interview style for better results.

Ideally, you’ll have an expert career counselor conduct a mock interview. If you don’t have the resources for a professional coach, we’ll offer some tips on setting one up with a friend or relative.

Before you ask one of your cousins if they’re free, consider all of the nuances of a mock interview. Then, you can consider who is your best connection and will offer the best chance for success.

How Can You Benefit From a Mock Interview?

Did you ever have to give a speech in school? How many times did you practice it beforehand? Probably a bunch. The same goes for interviewing.

Essentially, you’re giving a presentation about yourself, communicating why you’re the best fit for the role. The more you practice, the better, especially if you have a chance to record the interview to review it later.

Perhaps you understand the connection between your transferrable skills but don’t realize you’re not connecting the dots well for the recruiter. If your interviewer doesn’t know how it correlates, it’s a sign that you need to rephrase your answer for a better result.

How to Prepare for a Mock Interview

You might feel silly, especially if you’re interviewing with a relative, but you should prepare the same as you would for your actual interview. That means carefully choosing your attire, having your interview materials ready to go, and arriving early.

Why? Well, you want to genuinely recreate your interview experience. You’ll be able to analyze any attire challenges. What looks great on the rack might not be comfortable sitting in. Or, you might not realize that sitting in the wrong light makes your shirt a little see-through when you’re on video.

The list of reasons goes on. But the principal idea is that getting the best and most honest feedback requires you to have a full dress rehearsal for the main event.

What Types of Questions Should Be Asked In a Mock Interview?

What questions get covered in a mock interview depends on what stage of the job search you’re in.

Job-Specific Mock Interview Questions

When you’re practicing for a specific job, you’ll probably consider situational questions that describe your experience with particular tech or soft skills needed for the role. You’re best prepared by considering situations or tangible data that showcase your skills.

Professional coaches will most likely pull their questions from the job description, along with your resume and cover letter. Ensure that you’ve reviewed what you wrote and are prepared to back it up with more detailed answers. Questions might include:

  • Describe a recent project you were involved in to improve [role-specific] outcomes.
  • Give me an example of when you utilized [role-specific] software.
  • What do you think makes someone an exceptional [role-specific]?
  • Of your certifications and experience, what do you fee has made you most successful as a [role-specific]?
  • What motivates you about being a [role-specific]?

Company-Specific Mock Interview Questions

What if you’re attending a hiring fair and one of your dream companies is there? There’s no doubt that you’ve done your research, and that’s why you’re excited about the opportunity. Here’s your chance to polish your answers to create a concise mission statement. Consider the following questions:

  • What attracted you to this company?
  • What’s your ideal schedule?
  • Where do you see your career in five years?
  • How does our mission align with your career goals?
  • What about our company culture is appealing?

General Mock Interview Questions

For times when you’re preparing for a round of interviews without a specific company or job in mind, you can still find success by practicing answers to basic questions.

A great deal of interviewing success is a result of reviewing your materials beforehand and being familiar enough to answer questions on the fly.

You’ll have more success than if you’ve memorized answers to anticipated questions that the recruiter doesn’t ask. You might find yourself thrown off and then struggling to reformulate your answers. Consider general interview questions, such as:

  • What would you consider your greatest strength? Your greatest weakness?
  • What motivates you to do a good job?
  • How would your previous coworkers describe you?
  • What has been your favorite role? Your least favorite? Why?
  • How have you overcome conflicts in the workplace?
  • Describe your relationship with your favorite manager. What made them an excellent fit for you?
  • What are your career goals?

Practice for Success

Sometimes, you need some real-world experience to gain confidence in your interviewing. So, who should you ask?

After considering the questions most likely to be asked, you might already have someone in mind. If it’s an option, your first choice should always be a professional who has experience conducting mock interviews. They’ll generally provide you with the most actionable advice.

Consider Other Career Resources

Outside of career coaching services, consider any alumni benefits that you have with your university, or even a high school guidance counselor if you’re a current or recent student.

Some libraries offer mock interviewing. Military spouses can find resources through networks such as Military One Source. Your local Department of Labor can also provide assistance.

Ask a Friend or Relative

If you’re seeking to utilize someone closer to home, ensure that it’s someone who will give you unbiased and professional feedback.

Do you have any neighbors or relatives who hold positions requiring them to analyze behaviors and give feedback? Professors, business owners, or managers would be ideal.

Remember that if you’re hoping for a remote role, you’ll want to conduct a practice interview via Zoom to ensure you are comfortable on-screen when the real one rolls around.

Regardless of who you choose, a mock interview can help you hone your skills to land the position you’re dreaming of. With a tailored resume and a keyword-focused cover letter, getting some feedback on your presentation can set you up for job search success!


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