For every job candidate, interviewing can be the most daunting part of the job search process. There are endless questions about your skills and experience, as well as a myriad of “what if” scenarios that you have to answer to. This can make even the most confident of candidates break out in a sweat.
According to a report by Monster, practicing interviewing with a friend or family member can take some of the pressure off and help you prepare for the big day. It is recommended that you videotape yourself during these practice runs to check your body language and make sure you respond in a concise manner as it can help you hone your technique for the real thing.
Below, 12 coaching experts with Forbes Coaches Council share their tips for conducting a practice job interview to help you prepare.
1. Record Yourself
After doing your research come up with a few anticipated questions, and actually record yourself on video answering them. In this day and age, there are so many technologies that make it easy to do. There is a lot you can learn from watching yourself. – Donald Hatter, Donald Hatter Inc.
2. Practice With Similar Role Interviewer
To practice for a real interview, find people to interview you who are in similar roles to those who would be hiring you in the first place. For instance, if I am going to interview for marketing positions in healthcare, then I may ask a friend of mine who is a vice president of marketing in a different industry to interview me in a mock interview. They have similar insight and their feedback will be on point. – Brad Federman, F&H Solutions Group
3. Manage Your Monkey Mind
The greatest tool you have is your mind. You’ll be nervous, so build your confidence and manage the monkey. Know the No. 1 knock-out, must-have skill and how to align your expertise. Ask your partner to be relentless and go over your answer many, many times. When you want to fire them you’re on the right track. Your goal is to confidently prove your value with facts and data through story. – Christine J. Culbertson (Boyle), Fusion Enterprises
4. Be In The Moment And Listen
Job interviews are easy when you break them down to core elements: You are listening to someone ask you questions, you are answering the questions, and you are presenting the best version of yourself to your audience. During a practice interview, work on being present and listening — this will allow you to focus on the interviewer and answer their questions in a specific manner. – Jennifer Oleniczak Brown, The Engaging Educator
5. Practice Being A STAR
In today’s interview landscape hiring influencers use a variety of interview styles and techniques. One of the more common styles is behavioral-based interviewing. This approach requires the candidate to share stories of situations where past actions may be a great indicator of future performance. The way to navigate this is to utilize the STAR technique (situation, task, action, result). – Kenneth Johnson, East Coast Executives
6. Use Story Genres
Stories communicate best. If you prepare five to 10 very strong job-focused stories about yourself, this effort will help you answer most interview questions. Learn to move beyond the traditional STAR method into the use of story genres — you’ll engage, persuade and sparkle by framing your answer in a genre. Practice how to tell your stories with poise and passion in front of peers who know you best. – Joanne Markow, GreenMason
7. Acknowledge The Elephant In The Room
Focus interview prep on the moment you fear most. Is there a particular question you are dreading? Are you unclear as to how to respond to a past failure? Note your top concerns and spend time with a trusted advisor reviewing and refining responses to those items. Removing the fear and anxiety of what could go wrong will allow you to focus on all the “right” moments. – Kris McGuigan, Professional Courage
8. Learn How To Brag A Bit
I hear most often candidates feel like they are bragging. The essence of the interview is to find out about you; if you can’t sell me as to why you have the qualifications and are a fit, why would I hire you? Practice recording your answers. It sounds silly but if you can speak with confidence and hear yourself, you’ll soon sound like a hire and get past your humility. Brag a bit. Just this once. – Kari Price, The Art of Being a BOSS
9. Don’t Get Tricked By Trick Questions
“What is your greatest weakness?” “Tell me about a time when you failed.” Interviewers ask these questions because they want to know how you overcame challenges. And, here’s the formula. Practice answering by first thinking of a real, past example and briefly explaining it. Second, describe how you’ve taken steps to overcome it or solve it. Finally, discuss how you’ll apply that learning to the role. – Loren Margolis, Training & Leadership Success LLC
10. Ask Your Interviewer To Throw Curveballs Your Way
You’ll need to both create CAR (challenge-action-result) success stories and hone your ability to reference them under stressful conditions. Spend time assessing your strengths, then write talking points on each story and what it represents. Next, ask a mentor or coach to ask tough interview questions (not the ones you’re expecting!) to practice pulling in a related CAR story on the fly. – Laura Smith-Proulx, An Expert Resume
11. Turn The Negative Into A Positive
Record and critique yourself for verbal and nonverbal negativity. Avoid saying things like, “You can’t increase profits, if you can’t do X, Y, and Z,” and replace them with positives like, “I increase profits by doing X, Y and Z.” Sit up and look the interviewer in the eye. Smile and show enthusiasm. Positivity is always well-received. – Lucie Yeomans, YourCareerAlly/Sick Resumes
12. Know The Job Description
When practicing for the big job interview, it’s important to know the job description and create appropriate answers to match the job description requirements. By practicing, you will be confident and also knowledgeable about the job you want. Second, be sure to study the company and its culture. The more prepared you are, the better. Relax. – Tamara Patzer, Total Audience Market Immersion TAMI LLC