Why participate in a mock interview?

In today’s job market, the best candidate for a job is not always the person hired. More often, the candidate with the best interview skills gets the job offer.

When a company is hiring, they will identify a number of candidates who can do the job and invite all of them in to interview. Demonstrating that you can do the job is what got you the interview, however, it will not get you hired. The candidate who is offered the job is the one that makes the best overall impression of the value they offer. In other words, the candidate who does the best job of interviewing will receive a job offer.

If your interview skills are not exceptional, you are going to struggle, and your search is going to take much longer than it needs to.

Mock interviews can dramatically improve your interviewing. They’re like a secret weapon in your job search. While most candidates are going from interview to interview, never getting an offer, you can quickly improve your interview skills and stand out from the competition. Years of recruiting experience have shown us how the average job-seeker performs in an interview. Most do ok, but never do anything to get a hiring manager really excited. Despite this, they all say they are great at interviewing.

Recruiters always debrief candidates after an interview. The first question is typically “how do you think it went?” Although we didn’t keep stats, we would estimate that more than 95% of the candidates would answer either good or great. Talking to the clients told a different story. Usually, the candidate did ok (recruiters shouldn’t submit candidates who are going to bomb), but few did a great job.

This is based on our experience and other recruiters we have talked to. The experience is the same. Candidates very rarely perform as well in an interview as they think they did. The disconnect between the candidate’s self-assessment and the hiring manager’s assessment is understandable. Few candidates are interviewing experts, and it is very difficult to self-assess your performance in an interview. In addition, the hiring manager will almost always be very positive and courteous at the end of an interview. Most candidates misinterpret a polite end to the interview as evidence that the hiring manager thought the candidate did a great job.

The Office for Career Success offers interview practice (mock interviews) for undergraduate and graduate students to assist in preparing for an interview with an employer. The purpose of these practice sessions is to give students an appreciation of what to expect in a typical interview and an opportunity to refine their interviewing skills.

For additional information on interview preparation, see below.

Interview Preparations

Questions asked by employers


  • Tell me about yourself.
  • What are your hobbies?
  • Why did you choose to interview with our organization?
  • Describe your ideal job.
  • What can you offer us?
  • What do you consider to be your greatest strengths?
  • Can you name some weaknesses?
  • Define success and failure.
  • Have you ever had any failures? What did you learn from them?
  • Of which three accomplishments are you most proud?
  • Who are your role models? why?
  • How does your college education or work experience relate to this job?
  • What motivates you most in a job?
  • Have you had difficulty getting along with a former professor/supervisor/co-worker and how did you handle it?
  • Have you ever spoke before a group of people? how large?
  • Why should we hire you rather than another candidate?
  • What do you know about our organization (products or services)?
  • Where do you want to be in five years? ten years?
  • Do you plan to return to school for further education?


  • Why did you choose your major?
  • Why did you choose to attend your college or university?
  • Do you think you received a good education? In what ways?
  • In which campus activities did you participate?
  • Which classes in your major did you like best? Least? Why?
  • Which elective classes did you like best? Least? Why?
  • If you were to start over, what would you change about your education?
  • Do your grades accurately reflect your ability? Why or why not?
  • Were you financially responsible for any portion of your college education?


  • What job related skills have you developed?
  • Did you work while going to school? In what positions?
  • What did you learn from these work experiences?
  • What did you enjoy most about your last employment? Least?
  • Have you ever quit a job? Why?
  • Give an example of a situation in which your provided a solution to an employer.
  • Give an example of a time in which you worked under deadline pressure.
  • Have you ever done any volunteer work? What kind?
  • How do you think a former supervisor would describe your work?

Career Goals:

  • Do you prefer to work under supervision or on your own?
  • What kind of boss do you prefer?
  • Would you be successful working with a team?
  • Do you prefer large or small organizations? Why?
  • What other types of positions are you considering?
  • How do you feel about working in a structured environment?
  • Are you able to work on several assignments at once?
  • How do you feel about working overtime?
  • How do you feel about travel?
  • How do you feel about the possibility of relocating?
  • Are you willing to work flextime?

Questions to ask employers

  • Please describe the duties of the job for me.
  • What kind s of assignments might I expect the first six months on the job?
  • Are salary adjustments geared to the cost of living or job performance?
  • Does your company encourage further education?
  • How often are performance reviews given?
  • What products (or services) are in the development stage now?
  • Do you have plans for expansion?
  • What are your growth projections for next year?
  • Have you cut your staff in the last three years?
  • How do you feel about creativity and individuality?
  • Do you offer flextime?
  • Is your company environmentally conscious? In what ways?
  • In what ways is a career with your company better than one with your competitors?
  • Is this a new position or am I replacing someone?
  • What is the largest single problem facing your staff now?
  • May I talk with the last person who held this position?
  • What is the usual promotional time frame?
  • Does your company offer either single or dual career-track programs
  • What do you like best about your job/company?
  • Once the probation period is completed, how much authority will I have over decisions?
  • Has there been much turnover in this job area?
  • Do you fill positions from the outside or promote from within first?
  • What qualities are you looking for in the candidate who fills this position?
  • What skills are specially important for someone in this position?
  • What characteristics do the achievers in this company seem to share?
  • Is there a lot of team and project work?
  • Will I have the opportunity to work on special projects?
  • Where does this position fit into the organizational structure?
  • How many travel, if any, is involved in the position?
  • What is the next course of action? When should I expect to hear from you or should I contact you?
  • Characteristics of a Successful Interview


    • Give yourself ample amount of time! Check driving directions, time to arrive, parking, et cetera.
    • Meet with the interpreter to review your resume, prefer mode of communication, sitting (or should it be seating) set up
    • Turn off your phone
    • Check yourself to make sure you look sharp!

    First Impression:

    • Business/professional suit appearance
    • Firm handshake
    • Enthusiastic and engaging at the interview

    Interview Content:

    • Do your homework by researching about the company/organization and the position you are applying for to be knowledgeable
    • Show confidence and interest in the interview


    • Maintain eye contact with your interviewer
    • Be attentive
    • Sit up straight with good posture. No fidgeting
    • Avoid saying um, hmm, like, you know
    • Speak at a good pace
    • Be confident and interested in the job position interview


    • Wrap up the interview with asking questions about the company/organization and/or the position.
    • Thank the interviewer and give a firm handshake.

    How to dress appropriately for interviews:

    How to dress for an interview: MenHow to dress for an interview: Women

Contact Us

Office for Career Success

JSAC (Jordan Student Academic Center) Suite 2200

9:00 am-5:00 pm
9:00 am-5:00 pm
9:00 am-5:00 pm
9:00 am-5:00 pm
9:00 am-5:00 pm

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