Mock InterviewsYou just got off the phone with the recruiter or hiring manager to schedule an interview. You’re excited, but it’s time to get down to business and prepare for that important interview that will put you one step closer to getting a job offer.

Your job interview preparation checklist includes conducting research on the company, reviewing your resume to highlight projects and experiences that are relevant, coming up with answers to common questions and finding your interview suit. While that’s a good start, have you thought about taking it to the next level and doing a mock interview?

Mock interviews give you the experience of going through a full interview with another person. You can get a feel for what a real interview might be like. You can easily enough ask a friend or family member to sit down with you and ask a few questions so you can practice your answers.

To get the most out of a mock interview session and take your preparation to the next level, structure it to replicate a real interview as much as possible. Here’s how:


Know What Type of Interview You’re Prepping For

Just as with anything else, it’s much easier to prepare if you have an idea of what types of interviews you’ll be having. Throughout the interviewing process, you may go through different types of interviews, so you may want to consider preparing for all scenarios.

If you don’t already know what type of interview to expect, ask the recruiter or hiring manager about the interviewing process and who you’ll be speaking with along the way.


Find the Right Mock Interviewer

Now that you know what type of interview you’ll be having, you should find an interviewer who can help you make the mock interview process as productive as possible. Ideally, that person would be from the same industry or field, would be familiar with the position you’re seeking and would be able to provide relevant feedback.

Due to the interactive nature of case interviews, for instance, it’s especially important that your mock interviewer has experience conducting these types of interviews. In case interviews, you’re asked to solve a situation or dilemma posed by the interviewer, so your mock interviewer will need to be able to ask questions based on your previous answers. They’ll also need to be able to critique your performance.

Where can you find a mock interviewer to help you prepare? Ask friends and family, or join a job search group where you can pair up with another person. How well you know your mock interviewer might affect the experience itself and the feedback you receive. Keep that in mind. Remember, you’re trying to replicate a real interview as much as possible.


Make Sure Your Mock Interviewer Prepares

While you can give your mock interviewer a list of questions to use, you’re more likely to get the experience of a real interview if your mock interviewer prepares the questions herself. A mock interview is supposed to help you think on your feet and adjust accordingly to the interviewer and the questions. Therefore, you want your interviewer to be able to catch you off guard.  Ask your mock interviewer to do you a favor, and have her put together the questions.


Dress Appropriately For Your Mock Interview

That’s right, you should dress up for your mock interview. Here’s why it’s important: You’re trying to replicate the environment of a real interview as much as possible. By dressing up, you’re putting yourself in the frame of mind to take the mock interview seriously. This will help you do your best in answering the questions and establishing rapport with your interviewer.


Put the Interviewer’s Feedback to Work For You

While you’d like to get feedback on your performance from real interviews, the chances of that are low. Hiring managers and recruiters interview so many candidates they don’t have the time to provide feedback to each person individually. Depending on the company, they may not be allowed to do so because of company policies.

Mock interviews, on the other hand, are a great way for you to get feedback and to get better at interviewing. (Click here to tweet this thought.) Make sure all of your mock interviews end with feedback provided by your interviewer. You can ask your interviewer to provide feedback for certain aspects of your interviewing skills. Once you have this feedback, it’s up to you to fine-tune your interviewing skills.

Are mock interviews in your job search arsenal?

Image: Photobucket