A practice interview is an opportunity to test your interviewing skills. One of the key advantages of practice interviewing is the opportunity to hear direct and constructive feedback from the interviewer, something we don't always get from employers in actual interviews. To get the most out of a practice interview, you should know what to expect and prepare for it.
Set Up A Mock Interview
Contact Betty Butterbaugh at x. 5242 or email to schedule a mock interview with a career counselor.
What to Expect
The interview will take place in the Office of Career Services. Allow 60 minutes to complete the practice interview and feedback session.
The interview will be videotaped.
A trained staff interviewer will spend 15-20 minutes asking interview questions.
The video will be viewed immediately and critiqued by the interviewer and participant.
It may be helpful to take notes during the critique.
How to Prepare
- Prepare a resume and give it to the interviewer
- Dress as you would for a professional interview
- Review the sample questions handout available in Career Services
Your interviewer will give you point by point feedback and will suggest ways to continue to improve your interviewing; these may include additional practice and/or reading.
A Word About Nerves
The idea of having an interview is anxiety producing enough, but to be videotaped on top of that...YIKES! Practice interviews are designed to help you improve your interviewing skills. Even though practice interviews are not intentionally stressful and your interviewer will not introduce questions that seem beyond your current abilities (although he or she will want to challenge you) this activity may be more anxiety provoking for some students than for others. It would be helpful for your interviewer to know if interviews make you nervous before the interview. He or she will be able to help you relax and get as much as possible from the experience.
There are several ways in which a potential employer evaluates candidates. The following are some typical evaluation points. Think about them when you preparing for any practice or actual interview.
- Professional Attire: neat ... tailored ... quality clothing ... more conservative if profession is conservative ... shoes polished
- Hair, Hands and Face: hair cut so face and eyes easily seen ... limited hair spray and cologne ... hair cut on conservative side ... facial hair well trimmed (probably no beards) ... glasses fitted and cleaned ... nails manicured
- Posture: chin up so eyes meet interviewer's ... shoulders up & back straight ... lean body slightly forward ...feet on the floor or crossed at ankles ... hands in lap or on arm rests ... keep head centered - no tilting
- Personality: demonstrates honesty, integrity, ambition, leadership, teamwork ... demonstrates knowledge of field: technical and future trends ... demonstrates ability to analyze situations and offer solutions ... clearly states enthusiasm for position ... approachable and demonstrates social ease
- Poise/Maturity: demonstrates characteristics like self-reliant, responsible, decisive ... has held leadership roles at work and/or school ... appears composed: no nervous gestures ... appears confident: has a can-do attitude yet is not arrogant ... avoids slang expressions
- Friendliness: maintains effective eye contact ... smiles in a relaxed, appropriate manner ... demonstrates sense of humor ... open body posture ... effective handshake
- Conversation: demonstrates knowledge of organization, position, and asks appropriate questions ... uses appropriate professional terminology ... uses correct grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation ... provides concrete and focused ideas ... presents information in orderly fashion ... offers smooth, animated delivery... avoids filler phrases; i.e., you know, things, stuff, okay, um, uh
- Objectives: appears ambitious to professionally develop ... offers well-defined goals and steps to achieve goals ... demonstrates confidence in abilities ... demonstrates both short and long term thinking
- Alertness: demonstrates active listening skills ... provides well thought-out answers to all parts of questions ... maintains attentive body language ... asks for clarification if needed ... responds to questions in timely manner