The Importance of Mock Interviewing

134195454As recruiters we spend over a thousand hours each year just trying to locate candidates, but we spend very little, if any time actually helping them win the job. A mock interview is a great tool for increasing your number of successful placements, for boosting your company’s credibility with candidates, and for impressing your clients.

It is possible to conduct a solid mock interview in twenty minutes and by doing so you will significantly increase your candidate’s probability of winning the job. Compare that to your returns gained from twenty additional minutes of sourcing. Clearly, the opportunity cost is low and the return on investment is high, mock interviewing is a no brainer. Additionally, candidates will appreciate your effort in helping them through an interview and allows you to build closer relationships with them which increases trust in the long rung. Finally, even if the mock interview isn’t enough to push the candidate through, at-least the client will be impressed with the quality of candidates that you provide for them.

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Here are some of the fundamentals that everyone needs to be reminded of when heading into an interview:

  1. Do not introduce negatives. We have all had candidates who got to the final stages of an interview process and said that one thing in the final moment that ruined all of that hard work. Never introduce negatives by talking about bad past experiences.Most candidates do not even realize that they are doing it, so when you are preparing them you have to point out their mistakes in the moment.
  2. Qualify your statements. General and overly broad statements are cliché and do not fool good interviewers. Your candidate is a subject matter expert in their field, and they need to be able to qualify their statements, talk about exceptions, and make distinctions. A general framing technique for this is: “well in situation X, I would use method A for this reason. While in situation Y, I would use method B, for that reason.” Doing this will show that an interviewee has fluid intelligence.
  3. Layout highly specific examples before the interview. The candidate should know the job description and position before hand and be able to talk about specific examples from their background that are most closely associated with what they would be doing in this job. Every example that they give must describe apositive result of their work, i.e. increased profitability, higher productivity, lower costs, happy customers, etc.
  4. Don’t merely answer the question; answer the purpose behind why they are asking the question. Consider this open ended interview question:“Tell us about yourself and walk us through your background?” The interviewer isn’t interested in hearing every single thing that someone has done at every job, he wants to know if the candidate has the relevant experiences for this job and if what matters to the interviewer, matters to the candidate.
  5. Connections with that job. Most interviews are not simply about whether or not someone can do a job, more importantly they are about what connects that person with the job across many dimensions. It’s about why the candidate is working in that industry, why she wants to work at that company, why she wants to work for that manager, and why she will be good in that role. The candidate has to build a narrative based on their past experiences and has to be very selective about which experiences they want to highlight and why.

Since I began prepping candidates for their interviews my percentage of successful placements per interview has significantly increased.  You spend hours finding candidates, why not spend twenty minutes greatly increasing their chances of winning the job you found them?

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Matt Jeffers

Matt Jeffers
Matt Jeffers is an IT staffing consultant at Beacon Hill Staffing Group. He can be reached at Jeffers.matt7 (at) gmail (dot) com.

Matt Jeffers

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