Find the best sounding board
Who you choose to practice with is an important decision, since you’re looking for an expert’s honest feedback. Ideally, you want to practice with someone who works in your industry and has real-world experience interviewing job candidates.
Unfortunately, many people make the rookie mistake of practicing with a friend or family member, Martin laments. “You want someone who can objectively assess your interviewing skills,” she says. “Your husband or wife, for instance, isn’t objective.”
If you’re a college student or recent graduate,tap into your schools career service center! Many colleges have career advisors that will do mock interviews with students and alumni,
Choose the right setting
It’s good practice to make mock interviews feel as close to the real thing as possible. Choose a professional setting and dress in the attire you’d don for an actual job interview.
If possible, mock interviews should be done in person so that you can practice greeting the interviewer with a solid handshake and enthusiastic smile—two things that can help you start off on the right foot.
Its recommended recommends videotaping every mock interview so you can evaluate your body language and track your progress. You’ll also see a dramatic difference between your first mock interview and your last,
Don’t become a robot
Put simply: You don’t want to memorize answers. “If you have canned responses, you won’t sound authentic,” Martin says. “A job interview is not a quiz. It’s a conversation to find out whether you’re a great fit for the job and the company.”
Your best strategy, is to take a “bullet point approach,” where you practice talking about key points you want to hit on rather than rehearse what you plan to say word for word.
Practice these frequently asked interview questions
Although there’s no way of knowing exactly what questions you’re going to be asked at a given interview, it’s still beneficial to prepare for common interview questions says Debra Wheatman, president at career-coaching firm Careers Done Write.
Interview questions can vary depending on the type of industry you’re in, but hiring managers tend to ask candidates these questions:
- “Tell me about yourself.” This is often the first question interviewers ask, but they don’t want to hear your life story or a summary of what’s on your resume, says Wheatman. “This question gives you an opportunity to set the tone for the interview, so don’t go through a rote download of your background,” she advises. Your best approach is to explain how your background, knowledge, and interests intersect with the job you’re interviewing for.
- “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” When it comes time to talk up your skills, focus on traits or accomplishments that align with the requirements of the position. And as for weaknesses, “be honest but follow up with how you’re improving your skills,” says Wheatmen. For example, instead of saying, “I’m a terrible public speaker,” you’d say: “I’m not a natural public speaker, but I’m taking a course to improve my performance.”
- “What are your career goals?” Rather than saying what milestones you’re aiming for (e.g., “My goal is to be a corporate VP by the time I am 35”), frame your answer around what skills you’re looking to develop. For instance, “In five years, I want to have gained solid experience in marketing communications and carved a niche in social media marketing.”
- “Why do you want to work at our company?” To ace this question, you have to thoroughly research your prospective employer and explain why you’re the right cultural fit. A good starting point is to read the company’s mission statement to see how your experience and background have prepared you to support the company’s goals.
- “What questions do you have for me?” Interviews aren’t just about giving the right answers—they’re about asking the right questions. So, take the opportunity to ask meaningful, well-researched questions. This will demonstrate to your interviewer that you did your rearch and you’re taking the interview process seriously.