Friday, February 06, 2009

Mock Interviews: an Excellent Preparation Technique

A friend of mine is about to finish her Ph.D. in economics at Stanford University. She is a highly talented individual that is coming into the job market at a particularly bad time. On the plus side, folks with her credentials and experience are always in strong demand, but this lady is leaving nothing to chance. She has taken aggressive action to prepare for her many job interviews, and among these steps, she has asked me and other business executives, academics and other friends to conduct mock job interviews with her. 

She explained her objectives to me: 

1. Get back in the game - she has been a Ph.D. student for several years now, and it has been a while since she had to interview for anything. Just like any other skill, interviewing is something that requires practice. You may be naturally talented at being interviewed, but if you haven't practiced your skill for a while, chances are you have lost some of your edge.

2. Clarify the story - my friend knows that as part of her interviews she will be asked about her academic research, and since this is a highly technical and complex subject, she wants to test the story on some of us non-academics, to make sure that her explanation is jargon free and easily understood by an intelligent, non-expert audience.

3. Get Feedback - getting input on your performance from multiple sources is always a good idea. As much as you can prepare on your own, you never truly have an objective view of your interview performance, and asking a friendly audience to interview you seriously and to later provide honest feedback, is a great way to get information that you can get in no other way.

If you are looking for more ideas about how to prepare for job interviews, take a look at this excellent post on Digerati Life. 

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