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In many ways, a job interview is a performance. Any actor will tell you doing scene work or watching themselves on film for the first time is a sobering experience. After that, it’s nothing but practice. Just like acting, interviewing is a learned skill. The better you become, the better your chances of receiving the job offers you truly want. 

Enter the Mock Interview. Think of a mock interview as a rehearsal – you run the lines but the stakes aren’t real. It does not matter how many mistakes you make because there are no real-world consequences beyond derision from the very generous and patient friend or family member who has agreed to interview you. Running lines with another person is a superior barometer of how prepared you are to face the room than writing out and practicing answers to potential interview questions. 

Before we dive into the nuts and bolts of a Mock Interview, let’s step back and think about your “sweet spot” in the room. The whole purpose of practice, practice, practice is to make the experience as natural as possible. A contradiction? Yes. Tried, true, and effective? Yes. Going into an interview, you want: 

·      Your authentic self to shine.

·      Your answers to sound polished but not rehearsed.

·      To give sharp, succinct answers that match the question you were asked.

·      To avoid using space-filling interjections (e.g., um, ahem, aah, hmm, ah, like, etc.)

·      To make eye contact and have open body language. 

Mock interviews can:

·      Provide a fantastic method to hone your skills and sharpen your pencil.

·      Reveal whether or not you are effectively answering questions.

·      Make you more prepared, which makes you more comfortable, which mitigates anxiety and nervousness, which increases your vertical leap by three feet.

·      Provide a friendly and receptive audience comprised of a person, or people, who know you best and will, most likely, offer positive constructive criticism.


Start with a list of questions. Endless examples of interview questions are a Google search away but to give you a jump-start here is a quick list of classics: 

·      Tell me about yourself.

·      What interested you in this opportunity?

·      Why do you think you’re a good fit for this job?

·      Tell me about your experience in this type of work.

·      What is your greatest strength and weakness?

The first type of Mock Interview is like a play in an empty theater. It’s in person. Just like a real interview, you sit awkwardly across the table from someone who asks you questions typical of a job interview. There are no rules to conducting a Mock Interview, but for the best results keep the interview questions a secret for the first run-through. After that, you can hone your responses and demeanor. In this setting, your interviewer’s body language and reactions are instant feedback.

The second type of Mock Interview is a video. Yes, you’re sitting awkwardly across a table just like before, but this time a video camera is rolling. Warning: video is not kind. Watching yourself interview can be painful, because video reveals interview skill deficiencies with unnerving accuracy. You will see things invisible during your live one-on-one like fidgeting, posture, eye contact, blinking, excessive interactions, and sweating.

Practice. Practice. Practice. Rinse. Repeat.

Other tips – ignore at your own risk: 

·For recent graduates or soon-to-be-recent graduates – put down your phones! No. Seriously. Put down your phones. Take those earbuds out of your ears and L-I-S-T-E-N. Your college career center may have some great resources to help you prepare for interviews.


Thank your interviewer(s) for your time (yes, even the imaginary one during the mock interview!).


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