Taking the time to practice for a job interview will help you feel comfortable during the job interview, enhance your interview skills, and increase your chances of getting a job offer.
What's the best way to practice? Rehearsing is one of the best ways to prepare for a job interview. You can practice with a professional, ask a family member or friend to help out, or practice by yourself.
A mock interview with a professional is one way to learn and practice interviewing skills, as well as using an online interview preparation tool. Depending on the resources you use, these may be fee-based options, but you can still practice even if you can't afford professional assistance.
Do-It-Yourself Interviewing Practice
There are several ways to prepare for an interview at home without the help of a professional career counselor, interview coach, or a fee-based service. You can also practice interviews all by yourself or recruit friends and family to assist you.
If you're a college student or graduate, check with your career services office to see if they provide practice interviewing services.
If you're new to the workplace or haven't interviewed in a while, try to learn the format of the interview to avoid any surprises. If you understand how a job interview works, you can know what to expect.
You don't need any surprises while you're interviewing, so learning about the process, whether it's a video, phone, or in-person interview, will help you prepare to make the best impression.
Practice Answering Interview Questions
The simplest way to prepare is to create a list of common interview questions and answer each question out loud. The more you practice, the more you will be prepared to respond during an actual job interview. It's important to practice out loud so you can get used to verbalizing your answers and become more comfortable speaking.
Write the questions down on flashcards. By shuffling the flashcards, you will become comfortable answering questions in any order. Using flashcards will also help you frame your responses, so you're ready to answer without hesitation during the actual interview.
Record Yourself Practicing
If you have a webcam, video camera, or smartphone, record your responses and play them back to yourself. Assess your body language (if you have a video camera) and your answers to the questions.
Pay attention to your posture and eye contact; you don't want to fidget, become too wordy, or sound unconfident. If you do not have a video camera or tape recorder, practice in front of the mirror.
If you're a LinkedIn member, you can use LinkedIn's interview preparation tools to practice responding by recording a video or writing a response.
Recruit a Friend or Family Member
You can also give a list of questions to a friend or family member and have them interview you and provide constructive feedback. Practicing with a friend or family member will provide you with a comfortable, safe environment for honing your interviewing skills and receiving feedback.
Dress the Part
One way to make a do-it-yourself practice interview seem more like an actual job interview is to dress in interview attire.
Not only will dressing the part makes you feel like you are heading to a real job interview, but it will also allow you to make sure that your interview clothes are in order and you're ready to go.
Trying on your clothes the day of your interview won't leave you much room for improvising if something is wrong, like a stain or bad fit.
Set up an Interview Space
Your practice run will feel more like an actual interview if you set up an interview space. Even if it's your kitchen table (cleared of clutter) with a chair on either side, one for you and one for the interviewer, it will set the scene for your practice interview to be more formal.
The Bottom Line
Practicing your interview skills will help reduce stress during your actual interview, and will allow you to focus on connecting with your interviewer rather than struggling to come up with answers. The more familiar you are with the types of interview questions you'll be asked, the better prepared you will be to interview.
Here's a list of practice interview questions for a variety of occupations. Taking some time to practice will boost your confidence and help you ace your job interviews.