The Business Career Center at UIC a great resource for all business students because they offer a variety of different services—one of my favorites being the mock interviews. A mock interview is a 30-minute session of an interview with a professional who at the end will provide you with constructive feedback on your performance. I recently went to my first mock interview and it was quite helpful because it allowed me to look at my strengths and weaknesses to ultimately improve my interviewing skills.
A mock interview will not only help you perfect your technique, but it will also allow you to get valuable feedback on your overall performance from a professional in your field because the career center does a good job with paring students up with an ACTUAL PROFESSIONAL from YOUR major. This is a great opportunity because after your interview is over, you not only get input from your interview, but you can feel free to ask questions about the field, and perhaps even ask about some of the professional work your interviewer is doing.
Here are some tips you can use before going into your mock interview:
- Know the Industry: Prepare for the session by researching your company/industry of interest.
- Identify key traits: Pinpoint the most common industry traits such as: analytical skills, communication skills, project management, time management, etc.
- The Elevator Pitch: Know yourself well enough to answer the “tell me about yourself” question. Be sure to summarize your education, your top work experiences, and a couple extra-curricular activities you are involved with at school.
- Know you strengths and weaknesses: Chances are, your interviewer will ask about your strengths and weaknesses. Be sure to explain why you picked this to be your strength/weakness by giving an example. For weakness, be sure to explain how you are working to improve the weakness.
- Prepare for Behavioral Questions: be sure to demonstrate your experience with these factors as well as answers to behavioral questions, such as "Tell me about a time when" and "Can you give me an example of a time." With behavioral questions, be sure to use the STAR technique (Situation, Task, Action Result) to answer the question.
- Dress in appropriate attire act as though this is an actual company interview.
- Greet the interviewer with a firm handshake, have good eye contact, and smile.
- Listen to the question asked. Make sure you know what the interviewer wants to know. Ask for clarification if the question is not clear.
- Keep your answers concise and to the point
- Have at least 3 questions prepared to ask the interviewer.
- Listen to feedback with an open mind, and ask questions.
- Learn from your performance.
- Apply what you learned to your future interviews.
Knowing how to master an interview is a skill, and just like with any skill you learn, it is important that you practice so that when it comes to the real test, you can be extremely prepared. Working with a professional and getting feedback on your performance will enable you to learn where your strengths lie and where you may need work to improve your performance. Time spent practicing will assist you greatly in either situation. An added bonus to preparing and practicing is the self-confidence you will gain. In today's competitive world, you must be prepared and in top shape. So go ahead and sign up for a mock interview today!