How To Prepare for a Mock Interview (Plus Definition)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 27 September 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Before your appointment with the company you want to work for, it's important to prepare in advance. A mock interview can offer insight into how a real recruitment and hiring process takes place, which can help you be successful in your job search. Performing well in a mock interview can indicate your ability to do the same when you actually meet the employer. In this article, we explain how to prepare for a mock interview and provide the benefits and tips for attending a recreated meeting with an employer.

What is a mock interview?

A mock interview is a meeting between a job candidate and a professional posing as the hiring manager. Its purpose is to prepare the prospective employee for conversing with the employer after they apply for a job. It resembles the environment and discussion topics of a real interview, where the candidate responds to a series of questions about their qualifications for their desired position. At the end of the appointment, the interviewer often delivers constructive criticism of the candidate's overall performance.

How to prepare for a mock interview

Follow these steps to perform successfully in a mock interview:

1. Research the company

Collecting information about the employer and your desired position can help you answer interview questions effectively. For example, the interviewer may ask you, "Why do you want to work for us?" or "What about the position encouraged you to apply?" It may be beneficial to practise researching your prospective employer before the interview.

When reviewing the job description, pay attention to the qualifications the hiring manager seeks in a candidate and the responsibilities of the position. You can also browse the company's website and social media content to gain insight into the organisational culture and the types of professionals who work there. Consider reading press releases or news articles about the agency's recent accomplishments or challenges. During the mock interview, practice incorporating your knowledge of the company in your answer to show the interviewer you've researched their brand and are enthusiastic about being a potential employee.

Related: Interviewing Skills to Ace the Interview

2. Choose the appropriate attire

Use the mock interview as a dress rehearsal for the real meeting with the employer. Wear an outfit that reflects the company's standards and reflects positively on you as a candidate. For example, if employees often wear a suit and tie in the office, then you might wear similar attire to show you can meet the dress code. A hiring manager may evaluate your professionalism based on your physical appearance. Consider asking your mock interviewer to deliver feedback on your attire so you know how you presented yourself.

3. Mimic the interview setting

An effective mock interview looks and feels as if you're meeting with a real recruiter. For an in-person appointment, consider positioning two chairs at a table, one for you and one for the interviewer. You can practise delivering your responses to someone else with eye contact. If you're planning to attend a virtual interview, then learn how to navigate a video conference application and adjust the audio and visual settings so the interviewer can see and hear you clearly. Mimicking the environment can help you rehearse your responses in a formal setting.

Read more: How To Succeed in a Virtual Interview

4. Choose the right interviewer

A competent mock interviewer can pose a variety of questions applicable to your industry and the position you want. It's also important that they deliver constructive criticism to help you improve your interview performance. Consider enlisting the help of a mentor, such as a former instructor or supervisor. Consult your local career centre to determine if it offers mock interviewing services in your field. Another option is asking a family member or friend to pose as the recruiter. Send them the job description and ask them to create questions that the employer may ask.

5. Prepare your answers in advance

Contemplate your responses to common interview questions to rehearse your delivery. Practise emphasising your qualifications and citing specific examples from your work experience. The interviewer may appraise not only what you say, but how you say it. It may be helpful to write your answers down and practice reciting them aloud. Pay attention to the speaking rate, pitch of your voice and the conciseness of your message. You can look at your reflection in the mirror to view how you may appear to the interviewer, or you can record your delivery to reflect on ways to improve it.

6. Review the interview criteria

Ask the interviewer to provide the criteria for judging your performance. You can gain insight into what a potential employer may want to see from a candidate to make a hiring decision in their favour. Knowing the rubric in advance can also enable you to prepare more effectively. For example, if the interviewer plans to measure the specificity of your responses, then you can focus on providing relevant context when referencing your employment history. After the mock interview, you can compare the interviewer's feedback with the initial criteria to determine how your performance met their standards.

7. Assemble recording equipment

While the interviewer's written feedback can be helpful, you may also benefit from watching a recording of the meeting. Request that the interviewer use equipment to document the conversation on camera. For example, if you're attending a virtual interview, then you can record the meeting so you can reference it later. For in-person appointments, position a camera on a tripod to encompass you and the interviewer within the frame. Consider arriving at the appointment early to reserve time to ensure the technology works properly.

Read more: How To Prepare for an Interview

Benefits of mock interviews

Participating in a mock interview can provide advantages for your job search, including:

Practise answering interview questions

It can be essential for the employer to have a thorough understanding of why you're the best professional for the job. A mock interview is an occasion where you can learn how to deliver prompt and thoughtful responses. For instance, you can master limiting the time from the interviewer asking the question and you answering it. You can also gain exposure to the enquiries an employer in your field may ask, so you can know what to expect when a real hiring manager invites you to a meeting.

Related: 21 Tips for Interviewers (Plus 5 Interview Techniques)

Reduce anxiety about the interview

Undergoing the process of an interview can increase your confidence in meeting with a hiring manager. You can learn your strengths when responding to questions and the areas where you can enhance before the real appointment takes place. For example, the interviewer may inform you that your speaking rate is too fast, so you know to use silent pauses and enunciate your words more clearly.

Consider exercising breathing techniques and maintaining a positive attitude to prepare for the mock interview. Evaluate how well you're able to reduce nervousness for the rehearsal to gain insight into what to do for the actual appointment.

Improve your nonverbal cues

Another advantage of mock interviews is it enables you to receive feedback on your nonverbal cues, which include your body language. Nonverbal communication can demonstrate your emotions, such as your confidence or enthusiasm. Make sure your cues are consistent with your words so the interviewer can concentrate on your message. Give direct eye contact to engage the interviewer in your response. You can also practise holding a straight posture in the chair to show you're alert and attentive.

Tips for participating in a mock interview

Here is additional information about attending a mock interview:

  • Take detailed notes. During the interview, the hiring manager may share a lot of information about the position and the company culture. Take notes during the practice interview so you can learn how to record the conversation and listen to the interviewer's messages simultaneously.

  • Bring a copy of your CV and portfolio. The interviewer may refer to your application materials when asking questions about your professional background. Print out your CV and portfolio to read before the session occurs and hand it to the professional for their reference.

  • Attend multiple mock interviews. Consider taking part in the rehearsals more than once to track your progress in responding to questions. You can also take part in different interview formats to increase your familiarity with how employers may choose to meet with you.

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