The power of the mock interview

 Careers blog written by Georgia Everall (Psychology, 2015)

Since March, I have been a Graduate Intern in the Student Volunteering Team within Careers. It has been a great experience that has really allowed me to develop a whole range of skills and experiences. As I was fast approaching the end of my contract, it was time to apply for jobs, and so the process began.

When I found a role that I was really excited about, I began writing my application. I decided to seek the support of a Careers Consultant by booking an appointment and I am so glad I did! The first appointment I had was an application review. In this session I was advised to restructure my application statement as well as offered a range of different adjectives to use when describing my skills. Kelly, the Careers Consultant I saw also showed me an activity to do to help me realise my strengths so that I could better show these off and put them across in the application statement. This appointment was really helpful and gave me so many tips for how I could work to improve my statement before submitting it.

After submitting my application, I was shortlisted for interview. Interviews are not something that people generally look forward to and after not having been interviewed for a little while as well as knowing that there would be stiff competition for the role, I sought the help of a Careers Consultant again. This time my appointment with Bev was a practice interview session. When I went into the room, I was feeling unconfident, nervous, and unsure of what sorts of things I should say in my answers.

During the session, we worked on several things such as how to take control of an interview, how to make sure that my answers were well structured using the CAR (context, action, result) framework, as well as practicing answers to some competency based questions. Bev advised me to think of examples that I had of different experiences before going to the interview so that I was able to easily draw upon it.  When I left the session, I felt so much more confident about the interview. The appointment left me feeling in control of the situation and ready to articulate my skills and experience in a successful way. This was a complete shift compared to how I felt before the session.

When it came to the interview, I remembered tips that Bev had given me. I took deep breaths to help calm my nerves and remembered to speak slowly and coherently throughout the interview. When asked questions, I would take a few moments to gather my thoughts and prepare an answer before delivering this with the CAR structure. After the interview, I felt really happy with my performance and I knew that this was because of the advice and guidance that I had been given by the Careers Consultants.

To anyone who has an upcoming interview, I can’t recommend a practice interview enough. If you feel confident with the interview process, you will be able to pick up tips about how to deliver answers and how small things such as body language can make a huge difference. And, if you’re feeling a little like I was, nervous and not so confident, don’t under estimate how much difference the help of an expert can make.

The support and guidance that the Careers Consultants gave me throughout the application process made me feel far more confident and empowered, and definitely contributed to my success. It’s not the flick of a magic wand, you have to put in some work too but the results are absolutely worth it. So if you’re prepping for an application or interview, don’t struggle alone as the Careers Consultants will be able to help!

For details of how to prepare for and book a mock interview, see the Types of appointments page.