Don't step into your next job interview without practicing.
Practice makes perfect, right? Exactly; practice really is one of the most essential steps to mastering a job interview. It'll help you prepare answers to common questions and feel confident and comfortable in front of the interviewer.
But what's the best way to rehearse for a job interview? Follow these surefire strategies below to aid your job interview practice.
Do your research
Before you start rehearsing for a job interview, take plenty of time to research the company, the position, the interviewers, and the industry. This is a sure way to impress, and you'll feel a whole lot more confident walking into the interview.
To prepare, follow this pre-interview checklist:
Brush up on the basics: Spend time on the company website, look up the company's most recent 10K Annual Report (if it's a public company), or check Crunchbase (if it's a startup).
Check in on social channels: Start with the company's LinkedIn company profile, then peruse Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other other platforms. Note shared articles, customer interaction, and thought leadership content that you can utilize later.
Google 'em: Find recent press releases, articles, and interviews that feature the company and its key executives. If you want, set up Google news alerts, so you'll see when new information is published about the company.
Search online reviews: Start with Glassdoor and see what previous and current employers say about the company. Like any online reviews, you'll want to take these with a grain of salt, but you can find some good insight.
As you do your research, take note of key players, top values, company culture, and recent news. Use this research to help inform the way you answer your questions as well as what questions to ask in your interview.
Practice on your own
Now, it's time to rehearse! It may feel strange at first, but start by practicing on your own. Here are some tips to make the most of practicing for your interview on your own.
Prepare a list of interview questions and answer them out loud
If you're not sure what type of interview you'll have, practice answering a mix of questions. You can probably expect at least one or two behavioral interview questions — if not more. Interviewers love asking these questions because they're designed to gauge your past experience and what your future performance may look like. Practice answering these questions using the STAR method.
Record yourself during job interview practice
Once you start feeling comfortable answering these questions aloud, record yourself! This is particularly helpful if you have a virtual interview coming up.
To record yourself on video, you can use your camera app on your phone, or you can use Photo Booth on Mac or QuickTime Player on Windows. Once you practice answering questions, take a moment to watch the video back. Make note of your eye contact with the camera, facial expressions, posture, hand gestures, and voice inflection. Also note any verbal tics including “uhm,” “like,” “basically,” “I mean,” or “so.”
Watch and critique yourself like an interviewer, then record another round using these notes.
Ask a friend or family member to help you with job interview practice
You can also ask a friend or family member to help you practice. If you have a virtual interview, have a friend hop on a Zoom call with you, sending them a list of practice questions to ask. After a few questions, seek their honest feedback. Of course, this won't be professional feedback, but if they notice any common slip-ups or mistakes (sometimes you don't see everything!), they can let you know.
Recreate the job interview setting at home
As you practice for your job interview, do your best to recreate the job interview setting at home. Wear your interview outfit (yes, even if it's a virtual interview) and sit at a desk. If you have a virtual interview, sit where you plan to do your interview and note any background noise or potential distractions.
Practice with a professional
Practicing for a job interview by yourself, with a family member, or with a friend will only get you so far — you might benefit from working with a professional interview coach as well.
A professional coach will have insight into what employers want. For instance, TopInterview's professional coaches have spent years as HR directors and recruiters — working on the other side of the operation.
Plus, after a mock interview, they'll provide personalized feedback and critiques. You can ask specific questions, seek feedback on how to answer particular questions, and gain insight on ways to avoid common interview mistakes.
It's no secret practicing for a job interview is essential. Before you dive into rehearsals, do your research; you want to walk into an interview armed with as much information as possible.
Once you've got what you need, practice! Record yourself or tap a friend or family member to play the interviewer. If you want more professional feedback, seek out an interview coach, who'll give you professional feedback so you can walk into (or sign into) your interview with confidence.
Want to rehearse with a professional interview coach? Learn more about our coaching sessions.