I’m competitive by nature.
What I like about sport is the discipline, effort and the challenge. In fact, I like these 3 components so much that I try to shift my whole life in a sense where I can feel that I’m competing all the time. This is also true about my job.
Over the past 9 years, I have been blessed to be promoted on 4 occasions. A part of it was being at the right place at the right time and another part was being a true competitor, a gamer, an athlete. Over the upcoming weeks, I will share a few of my tricks to get a promotion and how to choose the right career path to be happy (on top of making money!). Today I want to share my experience about having a mock interview. This has been like practice or a training camp for me in order to get better results at an interview when it really counts.
What is a Mock Interview?
A mock interview is like a mock exam. By definition, a mock interview is a “fake” interview where you simulate the interview situation in order to prepare for the “real” interview. This is a common term for spokesmen that perform mock interviews to train in handling journalists. I’ve decided to use the same term to define how I prepare myself for a job interview.
The only difference is that I don’t practice in my apartment with my buddy who will ask me questions. I actually go to real interviews.
Mock Interviews By Mike
Going to real interviews to practice, how does that make sense?
This is my own view of having a mock interview: I select a job that is close to what I want to do (or that corresponds to what I am actually doing) and I go to the interview. I prefer to communicate with head hunters instead of with companies directly. The reason is simple; I want to avoid being too close to the hiring process. My goal is not to have my name out on the market or to get hired. I just want to have good practice interviews in real conditions.
While I prefer talking to head hunters, I’ve also been to mock interviews with companies in my field too. Depending on the level of confidence I have in my present job and how I want things to move, I can take this additional risk. However, I would remain a bit cautious about whether or not you want to push the mock interview experience too far.
The best case scenario is when a head hunter calls you for an interview. If you have an interesting profile on Linkedin, it shouldn’t be hard to get interview requests. I usually select jobs that are either in my current field or I apply for jobs I know I can’t get right now (because I’m missing a few requirements). However, I still have a chance to interview and get as much info as possible during these precious moments with the head hunter or employer.
Why Mock Interviews Are So Great
Mock interviews are amazing as they give you an incredible amount of information:
- About yourself. It’s easier for you to know what you are truly looking for in terms of job, work environment and manager.
- About your industry. Throughout the interview, you can determine what is required by employers by analyzing the questions and the reaction of the interviewer to your answers.
- About how much to expect. If you are not sure about the salary in a specific sector or if you want to validate if you are paid a fair wage, performing mock interviews can give you these answers. You would probably be too shy to ask for a certain salary during an important interview. But since this one doesn’t count, why wouldn’t you bother?
- About a specific type of interview. You will get to know the tough questions and also which kinds of questions are asked for the job you aiming for.
Mock interviews are also the perfect environment to test your interview techniques and get used to answering tough questions. You are more relaxed and it gives you the opportunity to get used to interviews. Since you don’t really want this job, it is a perfect learning experience.
One Last Thing about Mock Interviews
While I think a mock interview is the perfect way to become awesome during your future interviews, it’s not risk free. Always keep in mind that you might have a face-to-face discussion with your manager if this comes to light. I suggest not supplying references during your interview in order to avoid this situation. On the other hand, there is nothing bad about looking elsewhere either (professionally speaking off course!). Your manager should understand that it is quite common in many industries.
The key is not to always be in “heavy training”. I usually perform 1 mock interview every 18 months. This is good enough to keep me “in shape” and ready for action. Mock interviews helped me to discover other companies’ cultures and I’ve found out that I wasn’t too bad where I was. I guess that the last advantage of mock interviews is helping you realize how lucky you are to have a job that you like!
I never talked about my strategy with anyone at work obviously so I feel like there aren’t a lot of people who have tried mock interviews before. I’m curious to know if you have ever tried going to an interview just for fun or is it just me.