"Train hard, fight easy" (Alexander Suvorov)
The best way to prepare for anything is to practice. The same applies to job interviews. Thus, having passed such a mock interview, you will get practical experience close to a real one, you will assess your weak sides (and strengthen them of course), and besides, you will obtain the necessary confidence. A mock interview is the best way to practice your winning strategy for a real job interview with a future employer. But to do everything properly, you should organize the entire training process and its circumstances as accurately as possible, to make you feel familiar and calm about your future interview. Here we will consider mock interviews and how to organize them correctly.
In fact, anyone can be your interviewer. Just prepare the list of topical interview questions, and then ask them. But of course, a professional in your field, or a real HR, is a much more effective partner in this training, so it is worth looking for such a partner first of all.
What is a mock interview?
A mock interview is a type of practice allowing a job candidate to practice both verbal and non-verbal communication skills, prepare the best answers, and become familiar with the general interview environment. A mock interview models the environment of any job interview: face-to-face, telephone call, or group interviews.
One of the main benefits of a mock interview is the reduction of your nervous state since any person feels nervous about a job interview (even experienced professionals get nervous). But, having practised several times in conditions close to real ones, you will find yourself in a familiar environment and you will be much more confident during your real interview.
What are the benefits of a mock interview practice?
During your practice, you can try different answers to the same question, and by doing this you will be able to choose the best answer for your real job interview. After conducting 2,3,5 mock interviews, you will answer much more confidently, without pauses and hitches. Try several options, and combine different elements of your answer until your speech sounds more organic with an ordinary conversational tone.
How to prepare for a mock interview?
So, here is a step-by-step plan for you on how to prepare for your mock interview:
Prepare your outfit for a mock interview. Dress up like for a real job interview, business style is preferable for such an occasion. Your professional look will create a positive image for HRs.
1. Make the conditions of a real job interview. Try to organize the room as close to the real cabinet as possible: sit at the table with your interviewer; when preparing for a phone interview, choose a quiet place; begin the interview at a strictly scheduled time in advance. By doing this, you will then feel familiar with the environment of a real job interview and will focus better on the answers.
2. Invite the most suitable interviewer. This should be an HR manager, or a professional in your field, so that this person can ask you questions related to your position and industry, and give a professional assessment of your answers. For example, you can ask your colleagues to participate in your mock interview.
3. Prepare your CV and portfolio. For any interview, you will be asked to prepare your CV, portfolio, various certificates, diploma and other necessary documents. Ask your interviewer to give you feedback on these documents, perhaps something has escaped your mind, and your colleague will notice that.
4. Use the STAR method. We recommend you use the STAR method so that the interviewer to evaluate your skills, logical thinking, practical experience, and examples of specific problem-solving. STAR means:
5. You describe a Situation where you had to solve a problem.
- Next, talk about the Tasks you’ve got to solve the problem.
- After that, describe your Actions to resolve the problem.
- Finally, describe the Results of your actions, preferably in numbers and graphs.
- This will make it easier for the interviewer to assess your skills, knowledge and experience.
6. Get to know the company. You must understand who you are interviewing with. Thus to meet your future employer, visit their website, read their social media posts, articles and news, in a word, everything you can find. You must understand the mission and values of the company, and, if possible, your role in the team.
7. Record your mock interview on video. Looking at yourself from the outside, you will notice things that you did not pay attention to first, such as facial expressions, hand gestures, posture, tone of voice and speed of speech. Make sure you look and sound as confident and positive as possible.
Prepare your questions and answers for mock interviews
Your main task during the preparation process is to collect the set of questions for the interview and prepare your answers to them. Indeed, you must be prepared for the answers, but that doesn't mean you have to learn them by hard. No one wants to see a “robot” reproducing the answers recorded in his memory. Your main task is to make sure that you sound confident, and speak clearly and without long pauses. At the end of the interview, your interviewer should conclude that you are the perfect fit for the position.
Of course, you cannot be 100% sure what questions the interviewer will ask you, but still, there is a number of common questions that are 99% likely to be asked in any interview, no matter what field you work in. These are questions regarding your soft skills, here they are:
1. Tell me about yourself and your professional experience. Of course, any interviewer is interested in information about you, they want to understand who they really deal with, what skills you have, and whether they are suitable for this position. So do your best to create the right image of yourself in your answer.
2. What are your strengths and weaknesses? Naturally, every person has some pros and cons, strengths and weaknesses. When talking about your strengths, pay attention to the successes you have achieved, and when you talk about weaknesses, be sure to tell how you work on your shortcomings, constantly improving yourself.
3. According to you, where will you be in 5..10..20 years? The interviewer's goal is to assess your ambitions and vision for your future career, that is, whether you are striving for vertical career growth, or you are interested in horizontal growth in your profession. Think about how you will answer this question.
4. Why do you want to work with us? You have already heard about this company (at least you should have). The best option to answer this question is to tell how your knowledge and skills will be ideal for their vacancy, and how with the help of this job and this company you can realize your career ambitions. Collaboration must be mutually beneficial.
5. Do you have any questions for me? This is the best moment to ask your questions. This shows that on the one hand you are interested in this company, and on the other hand, you have prepared for the interview and really want this job.
Of course, it is impossible to prepare yourself for all possible situations in a future interview, but the more carefully you prepare all the aspects, the more you practice on your mock interviews, the easier it will be for you and the more confident you will feel in a real interview and thus the higher your chances of success.