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  • Different Methods of Conducting Mock Interviews

    February 07, 2020 | By NACE Staff

    Best Practices
    A student records herself answering mock interview questions.

    TAGS: technology, best practices, interviewing, spotlight, career development, alumni

    Spotlight for Career Services Professionals

    Scalability can be an issue for a mock interview program. One career services practitioner recently shared her experience with this issue in the college of business at a large university.

    The college, she says, holds a mock interview week for undergraduate students in its career development course, during which students schedule a mock interview with a recruiter who has volunteered his or her time. However, as the course—and the subsequent need for more mock interviews—grows, the practitioner questions the sustainability of the approach as the office is already having trouble enlisting volunteer interviewers and students are having trouble finding times that fit into their busy schedules.

    She asked her colleagues in the NACE Community to share their approach to and formats of their mock interviews. Here’s what those who have conducted mock interviews said:

    • A career services director at a university that approaches mock interviews in a similar manner to the “mock interview week” adds two other models:  
      • Speed mock interviewing—This is coordinated by two business faculty members who collaborate and hold speed mock interviewing during class. They recruit employers as interviewers; the career center also sends staff to serve as interviewers. Students bring copies of their resumes and rotate to a different interviewer about every 10 minutes. This gives students experience with different interviewing styles and philosophies. In addition to providing individual feedback, interviewers share more general comments—such as about trends, concerns, and tips—with the larger group.
      • Videotaped interviewing—As part of their “transitions to practice” course, all of the university’s senior nursing students are required to videotape themselves responding to four interview questions that they select from a list generated by career center staff and their nursing faculty members. Career staff review the videos. Feedback is provided in small-group seminars. Select videos are shared with the group; members are asked to tell the interviewee what they like about the responses and how they feel the responses might be strengthened. The career counselor facilitating the session expands the discussion. The decision to do this in a group rather than in an individual setting was deliberate, with the driving factor being the need to not only develop students’ interviewing skills, but also to further develop their ability to provide constructive criticism in a team environment as they would be expected to do in professional practice.
    • A former employee of a large university’s alumni association found that setting up Skype-type mentoring sessions or mock interviews had a much better participation rate and interest from the school’s alumni and business partners.
    • The career services team at another university created interview cards based on common behavior-based interview questions. Each packet contains 25 cards divided into five topics with five questions per topic. Topics the team has used include leadership, aspirations, questions for employers, and more. At the end of the mock interview, each student takes the packet home to continue to practice. The team enlists the help of the university’s graduate assistants to prepare and regularly revise the questions.

    Do you have any ideas or suggestions for mock interview formats? Share your best practices in “Mock Interviews,” a thread in the NACE Community.

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