How To Prepare for a Mock Interview

Updated June 9, 2023

Interview practice can boost your confidence during important interviews by helping you refine your interview skills. A mock interview is a useful way to prepare for a real interview with a potential employer. They allow you to practice interviewing in a similar setting so you can feel comfortable with the environment. In this article, we will explain what a mock interview is and how you can prepare for one. 

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What is a mock interview?

A mock interview is a practice interview that allows the interviewee to create effective responses, work on nonverbal communication skills and become familiar with interview settings. A mock interview can recreate any interview environment, such as in-person, phone or group interviews.

Anyone can be your mock interviewer, as long as they have a list of related questions and can provide helpful feedback. However, a career counselor or professional in your field would be the best option for a mock interview. You can also use a family member or friend, as long as they can offer honest advice. 

What are the benefits of mock interviews?

When you participate in mock interviews, you can practice different responses to the same questions to find the best answer. Instead of choosing and memorizing one answer, you can feel comfortable responding with highlights that best fit the question and setting. Your answer will also sound less rehearsed and have a conversational tone. 

Attending mock interviews may reduce the nervousness you experience during this part of the job search process. By recreating the environment, you become familiar with the setting and types of questions you’ll encounter.

Related: 21 Job Interview Tips: How to Make a Great Impression

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How to prepare for a mock interview

You can prepare for your mock interview by following eight steps:

1. Dress appropriately

Your appearance is an important part of the interview since professional attire can positively influence the hiring manager. For in-person and video interviews, dress as if you’re going to the real thing. Your mock interviewer should evaluate your professional dress as part of the testing process so you can receive feedback about how you present yourself. 

2. Mimic the interview setting

Feeling comfortable in an interview setting allows you to maintain your focus on your responses and interactions with the interviewer. Aim to create an interview setting that is as close to the real environment as possible to become familiar with your surroundings. 

For an in-person interview, try to mimic a space with a desk or table in between you and the interviewer. You should be able to put your resume or portfolio on the table just as you would in a real interview.

If you’re preparing for a phone interview, choose a quiet place with good reception. Make sure your battery is full if you’re using a cellphone. Since a recruiter will call you, have your mock interviewer reach you at a designated time.

3. Choose the right interviewer

Ideally, your interviewer should be able to ask you a variety of questions related to the role and industry and provide specific feedback on your responses. You can check with your local career center to see if they offer mock interviews in your field or you may prefer to use a mentor or colleague as your mock interviewer.

4. Bring your resume and other necessary materials

Just as you would for a real interview, bring copies of your resume, portfolio and any other necessary information that your interviewer might need. Your mock interviewer should be able to provide feedback on these materials so you can make adjustments to what you bring to the actual interview.

5. Take your time answering questions

A mock interview allows you to carefully consider questions and form thoughtful responses that relate to your qualifications and skills. Try to use the STAR method for as many answers as you can to give the interviewer real examples of your abilities. When you use the STAR method, you provide a response that includes these elements for your responses: 

  • Situation: Explain the context for what was happening at the time you are discussing.

  • Task: Explain your role in the situation.

  • Action: Describe your actions in detail.

  • Result: Explain the results of your actions, making sure to use concrete numbers whenever possible.

Take the time to practice responses that fully answer the question and impress the interviewer. 

Read more: How to Use the STAR Interview Response Technique

6. Research the company

Review the company’s website, social media posts and any news articles that may be available. You should know about their mission statement, values and relevant recent changes. Try to include your research in your mock interview answers to practice delivering responses that will show the hiring manager you’re interested in the company. 

7. Review the interview criteria

Either provide a syllabus to your interviewer or ask your career counselor what they will use to determine the success of your interview. You want to make sure that your mock interviewer provides clear feedback on your appearance, ability to answer questions, communication skills and qualifications for the role. They should be able to tell you where you excelled and skills you can work to improve.

You may want to interview with multiple people to get feedback from different sources. Interviewing with different individuals will help you identify patterns in comments to determine specific areas of improvement. 

8. Record it

Your mock interviewer should give you constructive feedback, but recording the interview can allow you to review yourself. When looking at or listening to your recording, take notes. Watch your facial expressions, hand gestures and posture. Listen to the tone and speed of your voice to make sure it sounds conversational and positive. After reviewing the recording, try practicing your interview again to improve any areas that might need work.

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