UPDATE: We are no longer offering this service
Mock interviews are the best way to prepare for an interview. There is nothing that will improve your interview skills faster than practicing with mock interviews. Despite this, few job seekers use mock interviews to prepare. Some of them don't understand how valuable a mock interview can be. Others are so afraid to interview that the idea of simulating an interview is awful to consider. Some job seekers are convinced they are great at interviewing , even though they never practice or have received any formal interview training. You can gain an edge on all of these people.
The secret in the job market is that the best candidate is rarely hired. It is the candidate with the best interview skills that gets the job offer.
When a company is hiring, they will identify a number of candidates who can do the job and invite all of them in to interview. All of the candidates are qualified. Demonstrating that you can do the job is what got you the interview, it will not get you hired. The candidate who is offered the job is the one that makes the best overall impression of the value they offer. In other words, the candidate who does the best job of interviewing.
If your interview skills are not exceptional, you are going to struggle, and your search is going to take much longer than it needs to.
Mock interviews can dramatically improve your interviewing. They're like a secret weapon in your job search. While most candidates are going from interview to interview, never getting an offer, you can quickly improve your interview skills and stand out from the competition.
Years of recruiting experience have shown us how the average job seeker performs in an interview. Most do ok, but never do anything to get a hiring manager really excited. Despite this, they all say they are great at interviewing. Recruiters always debrief candidates after an interview. The first question is typically "how do you think it went?" Although we didn't keep stats, we would estimate that more than 95% of the candidates would answer either good or great. Talking to the clients told a different story. Usually, the candidate did ok (recruiters shouldn't submit candidates who are going to bomb), but few did a great job. This is based on our experience and other recruiters we have talked to. The experience is the same. Candidates very rarely perform as well in an interview as they think they did.
The disconnect between the candidate's self-assessment, and the hiring manager's assessment is understandable. Few candidates are interviewing experts, and it is very difficult to self assess your performance in an interview. In addition, the hiring manager will almost always be very positive and courteous at the end of an interview. Most candidates misinterpret a polite end to the interview as evidence that the hiring manager thought the candidate did great.
Silence After An Interview
One of the most frustrating things for a job seeker is silence and unresponsiveness from companies. This occurs at every stage of the process, but after an interview, it is particularly frustrating. You go for an interview with a company you really want to work for. The interview went great (or at least you think it did). Then you hear nothing for weeks. You try to follow up, and the only thing you can get out of the company (if you get a response at all) is that they are still assessing candidates. Then, weeks later, you get a short email that the company has decided to pursue other candidates.
So, what happened? Usually, this silence followed by rejection means you did ok. If you had bombed the interview, it would have been easy for the company to reject you immediately. Instead, you showed you can do the job, but didn't do anything to differentiate yourself. Most candidates are forgotten by the people that interview them within a few days. The job seeker just doesn't convey anything memorable, and the hiring manager moves on to other candidates. Then weeks later, after they find someone that stands out, they go back through the files and reject everyone else.
You can dramatically improve your job search by working on your interview skills. You need to make a strong, memorable impression in every interview. Remember, the candidate hired is often the candidate who is the best at interviewing, not the most qualified. Mock interviews are the fastest way to improve your interview skills. As with any skill, practice is critical to improvement. Despite this, few job seekers will practice their interview skills with mock interviews. They will wing it and hope for the best.
Order a Mock Interview - UPDATE: We are no longer offering this service
Do you have questions? Below are some of the common questions about our Mock Interview Service. If these do not answer your questions, email us: email@example.com
How Does a Mock Interview Work?
After you schedule a mock interview, we will request a copy of your resume, the job posting you are pursuing, and your goals for the mock interview. Each job seeker has different goals, and most have specific types of questions they struggle to answer. We will then develop a set of interview questions that match your background and goals. Each interview we conduct is unique, with questions selected to best prepare you.
Your mock interview will be conducted by phone. We strive to simulate a real interview as much as possible. As such, we don't provide any feedback or coaching during the mock the interview. It is important to see how a person performs over the course of the entire interview before giving feedback.
As soon as the interview ends, we start the critique. During the interview, we take very detailed notes, and provide our impression of the answers to each question. This critique will assess the content, structure and delivery of the answers. We will provide specific suggestions for changes to answers. This critique is extremely valuable to job seekers who are struggling with preparing for an interview. You will have a specific plan for what you need to do to improve.
Who Conducts the Mock Interviews?
Gary Capone, owner of Palladian International, conducts all the mock interviews at Palladian. Gary has extensive interview coaching experience, and experience as a recruiter and hiring manager. His first book, Power Up Your Job Search: A Modern Approach to Interview Preparation, teaches an interview prep system that has been proven to be effective. In addition to extensive one-on-one experience teaching interview skills, Gary is the career coach for APICS. In this role, Gary has been a speaker at the APICS Annual Conference in 2009 and 2010, and is scheduled to present a two-part presentation on interview skills in October 2011 at the conference in Pittsburgh. Gary has interview coaching experience in manufacturing, operations, engineering, accounting, finance, human resources, supply chain, sales and administration. Gary has coached entry level through senior executive level candidates.
How Long is a Mock Interview?
Our mock interviews will have eight to ten questions. This is a typical length for a structured interview at a company. For most candidates, this means an interview will last between 30 and 45 minutes, but this varies by the candidate. The critique typically takes 30 to 60 minutes. In total, a mock interview is usually takes 60 to 90 minutes. Sessions are never rushed and run as long they need to.
Do You Offer Behavioral Style Mock Interviews?
Yes, behavioral interviewing is a major component of our interview coaching and most of our mock interviews will include some behavioral questions. This style interview tends to be the most challenging for job seekers. As we design a mock interview for you, we will include behavioral interview questions to the extent that it will help your job search. Most clients come to us because they have a behavioral interview coming up and need to prepare.
What Other Styles of Mock Interviews Do You Offer?
In our interview coaching program, we identified four primary types of interviews and three styles.
The interview types are Experienced Based, Behavior Based, Skill Based and Aptitude Based.
- Experienced Based interviews focus on the candidate's resume and work history. This is one of the more common interview types, and is typically one of the easier styles for job seekers.
- Behavior Based interviews focus on asking about specific past experiences with a "Tell me about a time..." style question. This interview type is very common and requires skill and preparation to succeed. Most of our mock interviews behavioral interviews.
- Skill Based interviews are designed for technical positions where a candidate's technical skills are assessed by an expert. This type of interview is more common in very technical fields. Because this interview type requires expert level technical skills to assess the correctness of the answers, we do not offer this type of mock interview.
- Aptitude interviews focus on assessing a candidate's intelligence and creativity. It is a very specialized type of interview and used by a small selection of companies. We do not offer this type of mock interview.
The three styles of interview are friendly, clinical and confrontational.
- A friendly interview involves a high degree of back and forth dialog between the candidate and interviewer. The interview is more of a conversation than interrogation. This interview style is common and typically puts a candidate at ease. It is the most enjoyable of the interview styles. We can provide a mock interview in this style, but find few clients seeking this style of interview.
- The clinical interview is structured in a clear question-answer-new question format. There is very little dialog, and the interview feels like a performance to the candidate. This is common in companies that do behavioral interviews as the interviewer attempts to remove their reactions from the interview. Many candidates find this style of interview discomforting, and some struggle with wrapping up answers. Because the interviewer does not give queues about their reaction, the candidate doesn't get a sense of when they have said enough. This makes candidates prone to rambling on and on. The vast majority of mock interviews we conduct are in a clinical style.
- The confrontation style of interview focuses on challenging the candidate. It involves a lot of follow-up questions requiring the candidate to delve deeply into each answer. The interviewer will focus on weaknesses and failures, and try to make the candidate as uncomfortable as possible. Most candidates absolutely hate this style of interview. It is a very rare to find a company that interviews with a confrontational style, but they do exist. It is common for an interviewer will use a friendly or clinical style, and bring in a few confrontational questions.
We can conduct a mock interview with any of the three styles, or a combination of the three. We recommend a behavioral interview with a clinical style for most mock interviews. This type and style of interview is very common and a format many job seekers struggle with.
Do You Work With Candidates in My Industry?
We have recruiting, hiring and coaching experience in a number of industries. A few of our specialties include:
- Supply Chain
- Sales and Marketing
- Account and Finance
- Human Resources
Do You Have Experience with Transitioning Military Candidates?
Yes, we have extensive experience with transitioning military candidates, including working with enlisted, junior officers, warrant officers and senior officers. Our focus has been helping military personnel transition into private sector careers. We can teach you how to translate your military accomplishments into language that a civilian will understand.
Do You Work with Executives?
Yes, we have worked with senior executives. Coaching senior executives requires a different approach than with other candidates. Typically, the executives possess strong communications skills and just need to polish their interview skills. Often, the executive has a specific weakness they want to work on. We will tailor the mock interview to these needs.
Do You Work with Entry Level Job Seekers?
Typically, our mock interviews are more valuable to mid to senior level professionals. Entry level candidates often do not have the interview experience to get a lot of value out of a mock interview. A better option for an entry level candidate is to start with one of our interview coaching programs where we teach core interview skills, and then move on to a mock interview.
How Many Mock Interviews Do You Recommend?
We recommend a job seeker complete at least two and preferably three mock interviews before going on their first interview with a company. After coaching numerous job seekers, we have seen a consistent pattern. In the first interview, the job seeker makes a lot of mistakes. The feedback from the mock interview critique allows the job seeker to rapidly improve. The job seeker also learns how to self assess their performance better. In the second mock interview, the job seeker applies what they learned in the first mock interview, and they improve dramatically. Many candidates stop after two mock interviews. The candidates who complete a third mock interview work on correcting more subtle mistakes in their interviewing, and gain a tremendous amount of confidence. They also achieve the greatest improvement in their interview skills.
We have seen this pattern time and time again. Clients make dramatic improvements after the first interview, and continue to improve and build their confidence in the second and third interviews.
To be prepared, we recommend completing three mock interviews. This will help you build your skill and confidence, and give you the opportunity to practice what you learn.
Do You Have to Record the Mock Interview?
No, we ask every client permission to record the interview. Many clients are a little uncomfortable with the idea of recording the interview at first. They find interviewing scary, and recording it magnifies this fear. This is natural. Public speaking is one of the strongest and most common fears. Interviewing is even worse for some people, because the point of the interview is to judge the candidate. Despite this fear, we strongly recommend recording the interview. Even our clients who were most reluctant about the recording have said they were looking forward to getting the recording by the end of the critique. The recording allows the client to listen to our critique without trying to write a lot of notes, and they still get our word-for-word advice in the recording.
Your Blog Has Recorded Interviews on It. Will You Keep My Recording Confidential?
Absolutely. We have never shared a client's interview recording with anyone other than the client. The recordings on our blog came from volunteers who allowed us to record an interview for the sole purpose of publishing the interview. Each person was an active job seeker, and formally agreed to our publishing of the recording in advance. We did this to have a few recordings job seekers could listen to as they prepare for an interview, but are not posting new recordings at this time.
Will a Mock Interview Help My Confidence?
Some job seekers find their biggest challenge is developing confidence and overcoming their fear of interviewing. This is common since public speaking is one of the most common fears. Many people consider public speaking their greatest fear. Interviewing stokes this fear because it is such an unusual activity. Most people only interview a few times in their career, and go years between job searches. The result is they are out of practice, their skills are rusty, and they lack confidence. Mock interviews can dramatically help a job seeker improve their confidence. Rehearsing and simulating an interview situation will naturally build confidence. In our mock interviews, we also teach strategies to make it easier to interview. These strategies will help you better prepare and improve your confidence. We can't get rid of a person's fear of public speaking, but we can help make the fear more manageable.
How Soon After the First Mock Interview Can We Do the Second?
We have never scheduled two interviews for the same day, and discourage scheduling them on successive days. In our critique, we will give specific instructions for follow up actions to improve your interviewing. You cannot improve without working on your interview skills. The candidates who have improved the most have scheduled mock interviews with three to five days in between each session. We will always try to work around your schedule as best as we can.
I Have an Interview Tomorrow, Can You Help Me?
A mock interview the night before a real interview can provide some benefit, but not nearly as much as when there is more time to prepare. Practicing will always benefit your interview skills, but to get the most value out of the mock interviews, you need to work on the feedback we provide. This takes time - usually several days. The feedback we will provide will change based on the time you have to prepare. If you have a few days to work on your interview skills, our feedback will address things you will need to work on over several days. If your interview is tomorrow, it is pointless and counterproductive to focus on skills and tactics that cannot be improved in time. Listing a number of mistakes that cannot be corrected will only hurt a candidate's confidence. Ideally, we would like to have at least three or four days before your next interview to get you ready.
How Tough Are Your Interviews?
We strive to ensure our clients are as prepared as possible. To do this, we will make our interviews a little more challenging than we expect the real interview to be. Our clients have told us repeatedly that when they got into the real interview, it felt easy. This is our goal. For clients that order multiple interviews, we will make each one a little tougher. This increase in difficulty level is designed to push the client to improve, and we have found it to be very effective. We can design an interview to be as easy or as hard as you want.
Selecting the right difficulty level is part of our planning when we prepare for a mock interview. Most of our clients trust us to select the best difficulty level for them, and are happy with the results.
Do You Conduct Mock Interviews in Person?
No, all of our coaching services are provided by phone. We do offer interview training programs and presentations, and will travel to offer these to groups. Contact us for more information.
Where Do You Get the Questions for the Mock Interview?
Over the years, we have written a lot of questions, and we draw on this history. Most mock interviews include at least a couple we write specifically for the interview. This is required as every situation is a little different. This becomes more of a concern when we do more than one mock interview with a client. By the third mock interview, we have to really work to find questions that are great questions for the specific needs of the job seeker, that relate to the job seeker's target job, and that will surprise the job seeker. Surprise is critical in a mock interview. One of the most important things to take away from mock interviews is improving how you react when you are blindsided. Most job seekers have experienced this. In the middle of an interview, they are asked a question they had never considered and are stropped in their tracks. Panic takes over, and they have no idea how to answer. We try to present questions that will surprise you and simulate this experience so that you won't panic in a real interview.
Don't go to your next interview unprepared. Schedule a Mock Interview today!
Do you have questions we didn't answer? Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Do you want personal interview coaching... check out our Interview Coaching Services