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Finding your next job - The Next Step Project
4. Helping to prepare for the interviews and offer

How to run an effective mock interview

There’s no shortage of great interview practice questions out there to leverage when someone asks you to do a practice run with them - but an effective mock interview requires more than just asking questions.
Before the mock interview
Schedule for at least an hour 2-3 days before the actual interview.
This’ll give both you and the interviewee time to prep and address feedback before the interview.
Ask your interviewee to send you the following by no later than 1 day before the mock interview.
Job description
Resume / CV and LinkedIn profile
Any other available materials or information recruiters may have shared
Details on interview format: behavioral questions, case presentation, panel or 1-1, etc.
If this is for a case, make sure you get a copy of the prompt and their response (e.g., deck or doc)
List of areas that your interviewee may be particularly concerned about or nervous about in terms of questions
Do your homework to get into the mindset of an interviewer.
You’ll need to do some due diligence to make sure you...
Know the position: read the job description. What are the key skillsets and/or content knowledge required?
Know your interviewee: review their resume / CV and LinkedIn. What roles have they held in the past and how do these map to the skills required for the role?
Know the company + culture: read the company’s website and any relevant media. What does the company do? What are their values? What are their upcoming priorities and how does this role map to those?
Make your list of questions to ask.
Now that you have a fairly good handle on the company, role, and your interviewee, identify 5-10 questions. This should at a minimum include the standard “tell me about yourself and your interest in this role / company.”
If you’re doing a walkthrough of a case interview, make note of questions you’ll want to push on during the presentation.
During the mock interview
Understand your interviewee’s preferences: do they want you to provide feedback immediately after each question, or at the very end?
Take diligent notes throughout the mock interview. Things to consider watching out for and noting include the following (more detailed list
Verbal tics that may distract or undermine responses (e.g., filler words such as “like,” “um”)
Physical tics that may be distracting (e.g., fidgeting with fingers, playing with hair)
Jargon that may be difficult or confusing to follow (e.g., acronyms)
Longwinded responses that can lead interviewers to disengage (e.g., going too deep into details)
After the interview
Provide feedback in an objective, non-judgmental way: keep in mind that interviews, even mock interviews, are incredibly stressful. Your goal is to help your interviewee improve by coaching them. Explain what you noticed and why it’s important - and when it comes to phrasing, provide them with alternatives of how they might articulate something.
Remind your interviewee how boss they are. Cite some of the great examples they’ve been giving you in their responses as things they should remember.
Send a good luck message the day of the interview!

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