Whether you’re a new college grad just entering the workforce and looking for media jobs, or a seasoned professional who finds yourself back in job hunting mode for the first time in a long time, you’re probably a bit intimidated at the prospect of sitting for an interview with a prospective employer. Honestly, even those who have recently been through numerous interviews are rattled by each and every one, at least to some degree.
Interviewing, after all, is a stressful process. There’s a lot riding on your performance during that interview, after all.
There are ways of honing your skills and the primary method for becoming more competent in interviewing is through practice or mock interview sessions. A mock interview is, simply put, a practice run that mimics the real life interview process as closely as possible. By going through several such practice session, you will become more confident and capable of making a strong positive impression when it comes time for the real deal.
Wrangle a Mock Interviewer
While it’s entirely possible for you to run through potential interview scenarios in your own head – which you’re likely doing anyway while you stew over how intimidating the interview process may be – the most effective means of practicing for an interview is to actually have a friend or family member play the role of interviewer.
If you can wrangle someone into being the mock interviewer, you’ll have the opportunity to run through question and answer practice sessions. This provides you the chance to refine your answers, practice speaking clearly and delivering clear and comprehensive responses, and to master the non-verbal communication aspects of interviewing for fulltime jobs and partime jobs as well. The manner in which you conduct yourself during an interview is as important as the answers you deliver to an employer’s questions.
Stage Your Practice Sessions Effectively
Best methods for productive mock interviews require that you mimic the real work interview situation as closely as possible. This means you should dress the part for at least some of your practice sessions, in order to get more comfortable in your suit or other business attire. Wear the outfit you plan to wear to the interview so you can ensure its comfortable, fits properly and doesn’t cause you to fidget or feel self-conscious.
You should also sit at a table, with the mock interviewer across from you. Practice making appropriate eye contact while interviewing. Pay attention to how you sit in your chair – square your shoulders, don’t slump, and don’t move around too much in your seat. Keep your hands in your lap or on the table, only using conservative hand gestures in appropriate places in your conversation for providing emphasis to verbal responses.
Try to avoid falling out of character during the practice session. This means both you and the mock interviewer that you’re wrangled into helping must maintain the professional manner and demeanor throughout the entire session. Save any and all discussion of performance, behaviors or other details for after the mock interview is complete, whether you’re interviewing for sales jobs or any other variety of positions.
Ask the interviewer to take notes during the session on areas of potential improvement they see or hear. This will not only help you better your interviewing skills during future practice sessions , but will also let you get used to the way it feels to have someone taking notes while you’re speaking , which is something that will occur during a real interview for a social worker position or any other job.
If possible, you should consider video recording some, if not all, of your practice sessions. You may be a bit self-conscious with the process, but it can help you learn how to control your facial expressions, posture, hand gestures, and other forms of non-verbal communication which all play a role in interview performance and the perception of a candidate by a prospective employer.
Get All Your Facts Straight
Mock interviews give you the chance to practice discussing the details of your own resume, work history, demonstrated skills and competencies, as well as the opportunity to promote yourself in a positive manner. Take advantage of the sessions to ensure you have all your facts straight and in your head about your past positions in fulltime jobs or partime jobs and job duties and responsibilities, no matter if you’re interviewing for administrative assistant, sales jobs, engineer jobs, or even social worker jobs. While it’s fine to occasionally reference a copy of your resume during an interview, doing so too often can make it appear as though the information contained within that document is fabricated or exaggerated.
Do Your Research
In your search for jobs, you’ll also be looking into the background, work environment and reputation of prospective employers, or at least you should be! After all, you’re considering them to see if they’re a good fit for you as much as they will be doing so with you if you’re called in for an interview. When you find media jobs of interest to you, take into account the postings and the employers and compose some relevant mock interview questions from that information. Ask your interviewer to read questions from that script during your practice sessions.
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