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The job interview process can be intimidating, but a little practice can go a long way in boosting your confidence and improving your performance. One way to gain experience and overcome your nerves is to participate in a mock interview. This is a simulated interview that lets you practice your interviewing skills while receiving feedback on ways to improve them. To conduct your own mock interview, enlist the help of family and friends.
Get Into Character
To make the mock interview effective, try to simulate a real interview as closely as possible. This begins by having your practice partner, whether it's a friend or family member, get into character as the interviewer. To help them prepare for this role, do some research on basic interview etiquette and become familiar with the interview process in general. Many online tools are available that can help your partner learn more about the types of questions to ask, how to ask them, and what to look for from a job candidate's answers. As the interviewer, your practice partner should pretend as though she is meeting the “applicant” for the first time regardless of her personal relationship with you.
Types of Questions
Whether you are new to the job market or a seasoned worker, practice and repetition will allow you to think more quickly on your feet as you are faced with each new interview question. Have your practice partner ask various types of interview questions -- including structured, unstructured and situational questions -- so you can practice responding to various scenarios. Sample questions can be gathered from a number of sources, including career advisers and job recruiters. Provide as much detail as possible in your answers. Whenever possible, try to incorporate a specific example of how you’ve successfully demonstrated the task at hand in your previous experience.
Equally important to the content of your responses is your overall delivery and behavior. Regardless of how nervous and unsure you might be feeling, remain calm, poised and confident. Practice positive body language by sitting up straight and not folding your arms. Maintain constant eye contact during the conversation. Speak clearly and concisely and avoid mumbling or stammering.
Have the interviewer take notes during the mock interview and highlight areas in which you excelled and struggled in. Once the interview is complete, jot down your own notes while the questions and responses are still fresh in your memory. Determine if there were certain questions you felt you responded inadequately to. If so, examine your initial answers to determine what could have been done differently to more effectively convince the interviewer that you possess the skill set he is looking for. Afterwards, compare notes with your practice partner to see if you both had a similar view of your performance. Have your partner provide an honest assessment of your performance. This information should help you better understand your interview strengths and identify areas that need improvement. After a few mock interviews, you should feel more confident about how to respond to questions and make your case as the best job candidate.
Based in Virginia, Amanda Banach has been a writer since 2009. Her professional work experience includes roles in media advertising, financial services and human resources. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in human resources management and is PHR-certified.