3 Steps to Successfully Mock Interviewing Yourself (With Minimal Awkwardness)
If you’re reading this article, you’re probably preparing for an interview. You’ve probably also heard that mock interviewing is one of the best ways to do that. More specifically, you may be interested in actually doing this but are struggling to find a friend who will help you out right now.
Here’s some good news: That’s completely fine, because you can handle this one all by yourself. Really! Before we get started, I do have a warning—it’s going to be a little awkward. Trust me though, it’ll be worth it.
Step 1: Come Up With Questions
First things first, you’re going to need a list of questions. Obviously, the more similar these are to the real thing, the more helpful this whole exercise will be. There are a few different strategies you can take here. You can go for common ones such as these 31 interview questions, or if you know you’re doing a behavioral interview, you can check these 30 behavioral questions out.
A more hands-on approach could involve reading between the lines of the job description to come up with relevant options, as well as checking Glassdoor to get a sense of what technical things you might get asked.
Finally, consider looking over your resume. Some interviewers drive the conversation with this piece of paper, so it’s good to be ready for that as well. There’s no real limit to how many you include on this list—it just depends on how much you want to practice.
Step 2: Record Yourself
This is the part where it can get a little uncomfortable, but that’s kind of the point. Instead of having someone ask you a question and listen to your response, you’re going to read a question and respond to a video camera of some sort—any kind of webcam will work just fine (or, if you’re really in a bind, a voice recording app). If it makes you a little nervous to be recording yourself, that’s a good thing. The idea is to give you something to evaluate later and to simulate the nerves you might feel on the actual day of the interview.
It should be noted that this part where you’re answering the questions aloud is definitely the most important part of this process. While the feedback can sometimes be very useful, it’s not always. Practicing answering questions out loud, however, will always help you sound more polished than you would’ve otherwise.
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Step 3: Evaluate Your Performance
As I mentioned before, it’s the practice that’ll be most helpful to you. In fact, you’ll likely know before reviewing the video whether you did well or not. This step, then, is more for you to pick up on the little details and get a sense of how you’re coming across. By details, I mean you can count the number of times you use filler words like “um” and “like” if you know that is something you struggle with. Or, you can pay close attention to how often you go off on tangents in your behavioral questions. Another thing would be to keep an ear out for the moments in which you stumble or sound unsure of yourself.
In terms of the general impression you’re making, you first want to figure out what exactly you’re going for. Are you just trying to pass the airport test? In most cases, that’s a great benchmark. But, sometimes it may be very important for the role that you’re coming off as a content expert or that you have executive presence. This is the time to check for those things.
That’s it! The key here is to keep practicing. And, you don’t even have an excuse not to anymore, since you don’t even need a partner. Good luck!
Photo of mock interview courtesy of Shutterstock.
About The Author
Lily Zhang serves as a Career Development Specialist at MIT where she works with a range of students from undergraduates to PhDs on how to reach their career aspirations. When she's not indulging in a new book or video game, she's thinking about, talking about, or writing about careers. Follow her musings on Twitter @lzhng.