What is a mock interview?

For anyone that knows me, my hobby is musical theatre so I’m no stranger to rehearsals and practising for a performance. At the end of the day a mock interview is just a rehearsal for that all important conversation.

I have worked in recruitment for over 20 years for the Met Police and during my career I’ve interviewed hundreds of officers and staff. I obviously can’t know the exact questions that you are going to be asked, but I have years of experience at taking an advert or job description and drafting a set of questions that will draw out the competences required for the role.

Before the mock interview

Send me the job description or advert and a copy of your application form or CV. This will ensure I have as much information as the recruiter does. I will draft questions that I would ask to draw out the skills needed.

You will also need to prepare your evidence – think about what skills the advert requests and collate your own examples to demonstrate you have the skills. If you’re not sure where to start, I have a blog on how I prepare my evidence.

Think about what kind of feedback you want. Interviews notoriously come around with only a week to prepare. I pride myself on structuring the feedback to give you the best advice to succeed at interview. If you have a day or two before the interview then it won’t be very helpful for me to say you need to do things completely different. Sometimes just having the interview is practice enough but even seeing your evidence through a second pair of eyes can help.

The interview

We will schedule a video conference at a convenient time. It should be free from interruptions and somewhere you should be able to focus and give yourself a chance to think of the right example for the questions.

I will try and create the atmosphere of a real interview to help your experience. I appreciate it might feel a bit false at first but remember what you’re hoping to achieve from the mock interview. Any awkwardness will soon be over and you will come out with usable feedback on your performance.

We will spend 30 minutes where I will ask questions and you will give examples to demonstrate you have the required skills. I will makes notes on your answers and give verbal feedback.

Fears

Some people are worried about making a fool of themselves at a mock interview. The way I view it is I’d rather someone of insignificance see a flawed performance, tell me where I can improve so the important recruiter will see a polished performance and hire me.

Some people fear giving the right example to the question. However, it is important to remember that each person will have their own experiences so each answer to a question is going to be different – therefore there is no right answer!

Tip to answering questions

The way you answer a question can be enhanced by the SOAR or STAR method.

  • SITUATION
  • OBJECTIVE OR TASK
  • ACTION
  • RESULT

This helps the recruiter understand what your example is about. The objective or task will often tie in to the competence that the recruiter is looking for you to demonstrate. Action will be the main part of the answer and most importantly the result of what happened because of the action you took.

If you want to take your example to the next level, then after the SOAR model, try and tie this back to how this demonstrates your skills for the role you’re applying for.

If you’re ready to develop your interview skills, contact me at admin@katrinasummerfield.com to arrange a mock interview.

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