Preparing Students for, Setting Up Mock Interviews

January 23, 2019 | By NACE Staff

Best Practices
woman smiling across the table from interviewer

TAGS: best practices, career development, coaching, interviewing, nace insights,

Spotlight for Career Services Professionals

A mock interview is intended to prepare students for the real interviews they will participate in as part of their job search. How can you help students to prepare for the mock interview? How can the career center help students prepare and set up the mock interviews to maximize the experience?

Recently, career services practitioners shared a wide range of ideas on conducting mock interviews for students in a discussion in the NACE Community. Here are some of their ideas:

  • Hold an interviewing skills workshop before the mock interview.
  • Encourage students to dress as if they are attending a real interview and to bring a copy of their updated resume.
  • Invite local business professionals and HR managers to sit on interview panels. Have backups—staff and professors—who can fill in for last-minute cancellations.
  • Enlist alumni from companies that haven’t visited your campus as mock interviewers. This gives students a chance to look at new organizations and introduces your career center to new employers.
  • Find a long-distance employer who is willing to do virtual interview prep.
  • Schedule 45 minutes for each mock interview. The first 20 to 25 minutes is the interview, followed by feedback from the interviewer.
  • Allow employers to use their own questions rather than a prepared list of questions. This gives students a realistic interview experience.
  • Mock interviews can be done individually or as a group. If done in a group, place a table and two chairs in front of the room. Each student takes a turn sitting at the table and answering two to three interview questions. The group then critiques the answers.
  • After each interview, have employers designate students as “Ready,” “Almost Ready,” and “Not Ready” for real interviews.
  • Have employers complete paper feedback forms that students can read privately.
  • Encourage employers to hand out their business cards so students have a point of contact at the organization.

How can your career center help students to prepare for their mock interviews and set up the mock interviews to maximize the experience? Join the discussion in the NACE Community.

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