Interviewing gets easier with practice. Never go for an interview without preparing first with a practice interview, sometimes called a mock interview. Career Development offers them periodically during the academic year. We may videotape the interviews to allow you to review your progress.
How to get started
To make a practice interview more realistic, we have created two mock organizations: Hayden Foods, a large food conglomerate, and the James A. Garfield Rehabilitation Center, a social service agency. The interviewer - a real volunteer employer - will pretend to represent one of those organizations and interview you for a specific job you select.
- Prepare for the interview by going over the Preparing for Interviews handout. Review your resume to decide what you will stress about your skills and interests. Make sure you read the descriptions about Hayden Foods or the James A. Garfield Rehabilitation Center and understand what they do and where your position would fit in. Be prepared to ask some questions at the end of the interview that will either help you understand the job responsibilities better or help you decide if you are interested in the organization. See our interview site for more preparation.
- Remember, self-serving questions like "How much would I earn" or "How much vacation will I get" are not appropriate before you have been offered the job.
- Dress professionally, as if this were a real interview. If you do not have interview clothes on campus, dress as formally as possible. Formal dress will help you to act more professionally during the interview.
- Be on time. Do not cancel unless you are near death from illness. An employer is waiting to help you with your job search.
- Set aside an extra half hour to discuss the interview and review your videotape immediately after your practice interview.
- It is very gracious to write a thank you note after a practice interview. The interviewer may know others who might value your background and may be impressed enough to refer you for a real job.