If you're a jobseeker who finds interviews intimidating, conducting a practice interview with a friend or family member could help you feel more relaxed and prepared. To make the most of the time you set aside for your practice interview, follow these five helpful tips.
1. Narrow Your Focus
Which aspects of the interview process do you find most intimidating? Is it summarizing your career history into a brief elevator pitch in response to open-ended prompts, such as "tell me about yourself?" Or, do you draw a blank when asked very particular interview questions, such as "What is an example of a situation in which you overcame a challenge?" Spend some time before the practice interview deciding which aspects of the interview process you want to work on.
2. Make a List of Interview Questions
If there are particular questions that you know are likely to come up in an interview, write them down, and then ask your interview partner to slip them into your practice interview. A good way to come up with questions for your list is to think back over past interviews. If you have stuttered and stammered your way through your answer to "what is your biggest weakness?" that would be a good question to include on the list.
3. Decide on a Suitable Setting
Ideally, the setting of your practice interview should match that of a real interview as closely as possible. If your job interview is due to take place over the phone or as a video call, have your practice interview partner phone or video call you rather than conducting the practice in person. If you're preparing for an in-person interview, try to set up your practice interview environment to match that of a typical interview room. For example, your interview partner could sit behind a desk and call you into the room, giving you a chance to practice walking in, introducing yourself, and shaking hands without looking awkward.
4. Pick the Right Partner
Anyone can help you conduct a practice interview, even your mom or dad. However, it's best to pick someone who has first-hand experience of interviewing candidates. These interview partners can often provide the most valuable feedback. It's also important to pick someone that you feel comfortable receiving feedback from, but also someone around whom you can be serious. Your drinking buddy who treats everything as a joke might find it difficult to simulate the professional environment you need.
5. Listen to Feedback
At the end of the practice interview, stand up and leave the room just as you would in a real job interview. After a couple of minutes, come back in and ask your partner to give you feedback on your performance. Take notes during this feedback session so you remember what you need to work on.
Practice interviews can be invaluable in helping you prepare for a real job interview. Use these tips to conduct a practice interview that leaves you feeling confident and ready for the real thing.
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