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Ace the Interview With a Little Help From a Friend

The #WeekendJobSearch Assignment #9: Use a mock interview to get ready for the real thing

Welcome to week 9 of The Weekend Job Search, our ongoing series that breaks the whole job-search process into 13 totally doable to-do items.

Last week, we helped you prepare for your next job interview, even before it’s on your calendar.

This week, we’re helping you prep for the interview itself by doing a little role-playing and conducting a mock interview. Think of it as practice making perfect: If you go through the motions and rehearse the kinds of questions you may be asked, you’re more likely to be relaxed and perform better when it’s time for the real thing.  

The Weekend Job Search Assignment #9

Hold a Mock Interview With a Friend

There’s no better way to prep for an interview than by conducting a mock interview with a friend or family member. While you can never totally prepare for curveball questions interviewers are going to ask, practicing your responses to popular interview questions will help up your confidence and lower your umms, you knows and other filler words that make you sound less smart.

Here’s how to do it:

1. Find a Friend or Family Member. 

Today, reach out to somebody you think would be helpful in a mock interview, whether it’s a friend, a family member or even a professional mock interview coach. You’re looking for someone who won’t be afraid to give you honest feedback; maybe sweeten the deal by offering to meet in a coffee shop and footing the bill.

2. Prepare for the Mock Interview.

Make a list of questions for your friend to ask during your mock interview. You can pull these from lists of popular or tricky interview questions; if you’re targeting companies, you can also check out Glassdoor to find company-specific interview questions.

It’s also a good idea to make a list of things for your friend to watch out for, like which questions gave you trouble, or if things like your body language is sending the wrong impression.

Get even more help on your interview preparation: The counselors with Mediabistro’s Career Services can help you refine your interview skills in a one-on-one session.

3. Conduct the Mock Interview.

Even though your friend will probably do a “boss” voice for the first question, it’s important to treat this like a real interview. Once you’ve completed one round of the interview, ask for feedback from your interviewer. Then, consider a second round to take in notes and give those trouble questions another go.

Hopefully this process will shed some light on your strong and not-so-strong interview skills. Taking the feedback from your friend, and thinking on the questions that gave you trouble, work to improve upon what you learned from the experience.

And because video interviews are quickly becoming the norm, consider setting up a FaceTime interview with a friend as well.

Bonus tip: Consider swapping roles with your friend. Because experienced hiring managers have conducted so many interviews themselves, many report that when they’re up for a job, they rarely get nervous. Going a round in the interviewer’s seat may help you avoid the jitters when the real thing comes around.

And that’s week 9!

Next week, we’ll be giving you quick, easy ways to research a company, as well as the people looking to hire you.

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