Job Interview: Practicing Your Answers and Presentation
By Indeed Editorial Team
Updated August 11, 2022
Published February 25, 2020
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
Practicing for an interview is an important step in the interview preparation process. When you have an interview for a new job coming up, you'll want to practice for the interview to make sure you are as prepared as possible.
In this article, we discuss everything you need to know about practicing for a job interview including practice questions with tips and example answers.
Practicing for a job interview
Job interview practice is important because it will help you feel confident and comfortable during your real interview and ensure you’re prepared to answer questions the interviewer asks.
In addition to practicing your answers to interview questions, practicing for an interview also gives you time to make sure you prepare the outfit you want to wear, gather documents you need to bring with you to the interview and practice your nonverbal communication.
Related: How To Prepare for an Interview
How to practice for a job interview
Follow these steps to use job interview practice to prepare for an interview:
1. Prepare your interview space
The first step in the practice interview process is to prepare your interview space. Try to find a space that is clean and quiet. You may want to set your interview space up in an area that has a table and chairs to make the scene feel more like an actual interview space.
Related: Virtual Interview Guide
2. Decide whether you will practice alone or with someone else
There are several options available for practicing for an interview. Some people hire a career coach or job search coach to help them practice for the interview and coach them through the job-search process. But you can also practice for an interview with a friend or family member. You can even practice by yourself if no one else is available to practice with you.
Related: 7 Interview Practice Tips
3. Gather a list of practice questions
Next, you will need to gather a list of questions to practice answering during your practice interview. If you are doing your practice interview with a career coach or job search coach, they will probably gather the list of questions for you. If you are practicing with a friend or family member, you may want to ask them to gather questions so you won't know which questions they will ask.
If you choose the practice questions yourself, you can ask the person you are practicing with to ask the questions in a random order so you won't know when to expect each question. If you are practicing alone, you can write each interview question on a flashcard and shuffle the cards for the same effect.
4. Dress for the interview
Next, you should try to wear the same thing during your practice interview that you plan to wear to the real interview. This will help you ensure you are comfortable in the outfit you have chosen and that the outfit won't cause unnecessary distractions to you or the interviewer during the interview. Doing this also helps you make sure your outfit is prepared before the day of your interview.
Related: How To Dress for a Job Interview
5. Practice answering questions
Next, it is time to start practicing answering questions. You should practice answering general interview questions, behavioral interview questions and questions that are specific to the position you are applying for.
Even if you are practicing alone, you should practice answering questions out loud to help you prepare for the real interview. You can also take notes while you answer each question of ways to improve your answer.
6. Ask for feedback
Finally, you should ask the person who is practicing with you to provide you with feedback. Hopefully, this person will be able to find areas in which you can continue to practice to improve before your real interview. If you're practicing alone, you can watch yourself in a mirror or record yourself and provide yourself with honest feedback as you go through your practice interview.
Related: How To Sell Yourself in an Interview
Job interview practice questions
Here are a few common interview questions and example answers you can use to practice for a job interview with tips for answering each question:
Tell me about yourself
The interviewer is asking this question to learn more about your professional career and how your experience has brought you to apply for this position. You should try to use this question as an opportunity to discuss how your knowledge, experience, interests and skills make you the best candidate for the position.
Example answer: "I originally realized I had a passion for education and teaching when I was a student in middle school while participating in a teacher assistant program. When I began college I knew I wanted to pursue a career in education, so I majored in Elementary Education with a minor in English Literature.
While I was working on earning my degree, I became a substitute teacher to gain real-world experience in the classroom. Substituting helped me develop strong classroom management, organization and communication skills.
As a recent graduate, I finished an internship program and passed my teacher certification exams this past year. I am excited to continue to advance my career by becoming a full-time teacher for elementary students in language arts and reading."
How has your previous experience prepared you for this position?
With this question, the interviewer is specifically interested in how your prior work experience has prepared you for the responsibilities of the position you are applying for.
When answering, try to focus on specific work experiences that have prepared you for this position. If you have limited work experience or no prior work experience at all, you can also discuss how your educational experiences have prepared you for the role.
Example answer: "In my current role, I am responsible for supporting a team of four attorneys. My job involves making sure their files are prepared for trial, assisting them with preparing legal documents, answering and responding to phone calls from clients and maintaining the attorneys' calendars.
My experience at my current firm combined with my paralegal educational experience has helped me develop strong organizational skills, time-management skills and keen attention to detail. I am excited to continue to advance my career and development by joining your team as the lead paralegal."
Why do you want to work for our company?
The interviewer is asking this question to determine whether you have done any research about the company, how much you know about the company and why you feel you will be a good fit for the company.
When answering this question, try to make a specific reference to information you learned about the company from your research and find a way to relate how your personal interests or values align with the company's goals or values.
Example answer: "I have always dreamed of working for one of the big four accounting firms. I was able to achieve this dream while completing my internship in college with your company. During my time in the internship program, I had the pleasure of getting to know a lot of people within my team.
What excites me most about working for this company is the opportunity to work for a large firm supporting several big clients while also feeling like you're working in a small firm because of the company's culture."
Job interview practice tips
Here are a few additional tips to remember when practicing for a job interview:
Record your practice session: You can use a smartphone or a video camera to record yourself during a practice session. Then, when you finish your session, you can watch and scrutinize the video for areas of your interview you can improve. Things you should look for include the confidence you project when you’re answering and the tone of voice you use.
Use a copy of your resume: You will probably be asked to bring a copy of your resume with you to your job interview. You should try to make two copies of your resume so you can keep one with you and refer back to it throughout the interview if needed. You can also keep a copy of your resume in front of you during your practice session.
Avoid memorizing answers: You don't need to memorize your answers word for word. Doing this can make you send robotic during your interview. Instead, try to make a bullet list of key talking points for each question and practice answering the questions in a way that sounds genuine and conversational.
Practice more than once: Once you gather feedback from your practice session, you should try to implement the recommendations and changes and practice the job interview again. Continue to practice until you are confident you are ready for the real job interview.
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