Whether you are a student just about to enter the job market or you are an experienced veteran of the work force, every interview requires a certain amount of preparation. You do not want to walk into the meeting completely unaware of the types of questions that will be expected of you. Additionally, you do not want to go into an interview with no clue of what you want to say. Even if you have an incredible resume that is detailed and has everything the new position is looking for, many hiring managers consider the interview to be far more substantial in hiring new employees. As the old saying goes, “Practice makes perfect,” so the best interview prep you can get is to stage your own practice interviews.
Different Kinds of Practice Interviews
Scheduling a mock interview with a friend, family member of career counselor is a great way to get some valuable feedback in areas you need to improve upon. An important thing to remember for a dry run is to treat it just like you would the real thing. That means you should be dressed in a professional manner, and you might even want to consider wearing the clothes you are planning to wear to the actual interview. Properly groom yourself beforehand so that it will feel as close to the actual thing as possible.
It can be good to rehearse mock interviews with a number of different people so that you can get different perspectives about what you should and should not do. A career counselor will most likely give you advice on the type of answers hiring managers are looking for whereas a close friend might tell you something more about the way you conduct yourself such as if you are fidgeting too much. You need to prepare for a practice interview, meaning you should read up on the type of questions that are commonly asked and outline your responses. If a question comes up that you do not have a good answer for, then you know that is something you need to rehearse more thoroughly.
Another type of mock interview you should consider doing is a video-recorded one. This form of practice is beneficial even if your next interview is not going to be conducted over WebCam because the interview can be played back for you so that you can see for yourself how you behave. Someone telling you that you tend to fidget in your chair or that your eyes are constantly darting back and forth may not be enough to convince you that those are serious problems. However, if you are able to see for yourself that you have some bad interview habits, then you will be in a much better position to avoid making them. You do not even need any fancy equipment to practice this way. Chances are your laptop already comes with a feature to record yourself.
The Benefit of Informational Interviews
A different type of interview you can schedule with someone working at a company you are interested in is an informational interview. This is not meant to get a job. Instead, it is meant to gather more information about a particular line of work and to see if you would be a good fit for the company culture. You can ask questions like, “How often do people advance through the company?” or “How did you get to where you are today?” You may learn some valuable information that can be applied to actual job interviews in the future.
Another good thing about informational interviews is that you can ask the person if there is anything about your demeanor that they noticed. For example, they may tell you that they noticed you have trouble maintaining eye contact, and that is a skill you need to improve upon if you are going to go on a lot of interviews. Informational interviews will not get you a job, but they are a great way to build experience with one-on-one situations so that you can be better prepared when the actual interview comes around.
Going into an interview completely unprepared will definitely show, so you want to make sure you have an adequate amount of experience under your belt so that you can impress the interviewer. By preparing beforehand, your confidence will exude through you, and you will be in a much better position to actually get the job.