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Mock Interviews: Practice Makes Perfect

Job interviews are nerve wrecking -- especially if you haven't interviewed in a while. And, it's never a good idea to go into an interview unprepared. One of the best ways to brush up on your interview skills is to have a mock interview.

A mock interview is a practice interview that can help job seekers anticipate what kind of questions the interviewer will ask. Most mock interviews are conducted by a professional or job recruiter. The interview can tell you a lot about yourself and how you handle certain interview questions. Here's how a mock interview is conducted:

What Is a Mock Interview?

  • A 30-minute videotaped session of you in an interview with a professional.
  • A review of the tape with constructive feedback on your performance.

Preparation

  • Prepare for the session by researching your company/industry of interest.
  • Investigate and identify the most common industry traits sought (analytical skills, communication skills, business knowledge and problem solving).
  • Script answers to demonstrate your experience with these factors as well as answers to behavioral questions, such as "Tell me about a time when..." and "Can you give me an example of a time..."

The Session

  • Dress in appropriate attire -- as though this is an actual company interview.
  • Greet the interviewer with an enthusiastic handshake and smile.
  • Listen to the question asked. Make sure you know what the interviewer wants to know. Ask for clarification if the question is not clear.
  • Keep your answers concise and to the point -- two to three minutes long.
  • Make sure you are selling the product: you.
  • Have questions prepared to ask the interviewer.

The Feedback

  • Observe your feelings while viewing the tape and listening to your answers. Are you coming across the way you intended?
  • Listen to feedback with an open mind, not defensively.
  • Learn from your performance. How are you being perceived through the eyes of someone who does not know you?

Additionally, if you can't hire a job recruiter or headhunter, recruit friends or family members to conduct a mock interview.

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