How To Approach Job Interview: Practice in 9 Simple Steps

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 31 August 2022 | Published 30 November 2021

Updated 31 August 2022

Published 30 November 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Practising for a job interview is an important step that allows you to learn how to present your important skills and increases your chances of making a lasting impression on the hiring manager. You may want to make a list of things to do to better prepare for answering the interviewer's questions and talking about your experience. Following just a few simple steps can help you make sure you're as prepared as possible. In this article, we explain why job interview practice is important and share nine steps you can take to prepare for an interview.

Why is job interview practice important?

Job interview practice is important because it helps you feel comfortable and confident during your real interview. It presents you with an opportunity to prepare answers to some common questions that an interviewer may ask you, which often include questions about your experience, skills or background. Practising for an interview also gives you some time to work on your body language and determine what outfit you'd like to wear. It's an essential step that many successful applicants focus on a few days before an interview to learn how to present themselves as the most qualified candidates.

Related: 23 Tips To Prepare for and Succeed in a Zoom Interview

How to practise for a job interview

There are many things you could do to prepare for a job interview, including:

1. Review common interview questions

Reviewing common interview questions is the way most applicants prepare for their job interviews. Although you may expect the interviewer to ask you some original and role-specific questions, chances are that they may decide to ask some general questions first. When researching the questions, make sure to focus on the specific role, skills or industry. For example, if you're interviewing for a management position, you may want to focus on some questions that test your leadership skills, besides questions about primary duties in that role.

If you've decided to practise with a coach, they may research the questions for you. Consider asking them to share that list with you. That way, you can quickly review the questions every day to make sure you're prepared.

Related: 10 Common Telephone Interview Questions (With Example Answers)

2. Learn how to develop effective answers

Developing your answers to some of the most common interview questions is a great way to learn how to structure your answers in a real interview. For example, you may focus on learning how to answer behavioural questions using the STAR interview technique. The STAR technique allows you to formulate clear answers that effectively describe issues you encountered at work, explain your role in those situations, list the steps you took and share the outcome of your actions.

Related: How To Use the STAR Interview Technique in Competency-Based Interviews

3. Prepare your interview space

Practising before an interview may feel more real if you find a clean and quiet space and set it up. Consider decluttering your desk or dining table and put a chair on either side: one for you and one for someone who'd play the role of an interviewer. Making sure that your environment during practice is more formal can help you feel like you're in an actual interview.

4. Practise answering questions with someone

Once you've reviewed common interview questions, prepared your answers to them and set up your interview space, it's time to practise with someone. You may ask a friend or a family member to role-play a job interview with you. If you think that practising with a stranger may be more beneficial for you, consider reaching out to a career coach and setting up a meeting with them. If you're unsure about these options or if there's no one who could practise with you, you can even practise by yourself.

Related: With Is a Mock Interview?

5. Use flashcards

A few weeks before your interview, you can write down some questions and sample answers on flashcards. You can take them with you on a train or bus and shuffle through them whenever you've got a moment for yourself. Using flashcards may help you remember some of your answers and make sure you don't miss anything during the actual interview. It's also a great way to learn how to successfully structure answers, so you're ready to answer without hesitation.

6. Choose an appropriate outfit

Consider wearing the same outfit during your practice interview that you plan to wear to the actual interview. This step helps you make sure that the clothes you choose are comfortable enough. It's also important that you feel confident and professional in them.

If you're unsure what clothes you'd like to wear, consider choosing a business professional outfit. Go for solid and natural colours, such as black or grey, a collared shirt and dark pants or a pencil skirt. Even if the company you're interviewing with has introduced a more casual dress code, making sure you look as professional as possible during your interview can help you make a lasting first impression on the interviewer and show that you're committed to getting the job.

Related: What To Wear to an Interview

7. Record yourself practising

Recording yourself while you practise allows you to better understand the body language that you use while answering interview questions. It's important that you pay attention to your movements and facial expressions because they usually say a lot about the way you feel in an interview. Practising positive body language, such as maintaining eye contact with the interviewer and leaning in slightly when they speak, makes you appear more likeable and approachable.

8. Ask for feedback

If you've been practising with someone, consider asking them to provide you with feedback. Chances are that this person can identify some areas for improvement that you can focus on before your actual interview. If you've been practising on your own and recording your answers, you may consider showing the recording to your friends or family. Remember that practice makes perfect and even if you're not fully satisfied with their honest feedback yet, it's important that you give yourself enough time to prepare.

Related: How To Ask for Feedback After an Interview

9. Expect the unexpected

During your job interview, an interviewer is likely to ask you specific and logical questions about the role. It's also possible that they decide to test your skills and reactions by asking unusual or even weird questions that you've not expected to hear. Typically, those questions test your motivation for the job. They also help interviewers determine your values and personality traits to determine if you'd be a good fit for the team or department. Some of the unusual questions you may hear include:

  • How many basketballs can fit on a bus?

  • Someone gives you an elephant, which you can't give away or sell. What would you do with it?

  • If you were a dog, what breed would you be and why?

  • What's your favourite animal?

  • If you were on an island and could bring three things with you, what would you bring?

  • If you found out you won the lottery, what would you do with the money?

Additional tips to make a good impression during an interview

Consider these additional tips to improve your performance in a job interview:

  • Make sure you've researched the company: Knowing as much as possible about the company and making sure you understand its company culture is critical to giving successful answers in an interview. You may begin by visiting the company's official website and reading about their recent projects or successes in the field.

  • Focus on the job description: Formulating your answers to include important information from the job description shows that you're prepared and determined. It's important that you know how to show the interviewer that you've got what the employer needs.

  • Bring a reference list: At the end of your interview, a hiring manager may ask you to provide a reference list for a background check. Bringing the list to your interview can speed up the process and show you're prepared.

  • Prepare questions to ask: It's common for interviewers to give candidates an option to ask them some questions about the role or the company. Preparing questions to ask in an interview shows you're serious about the opportunity and want to make sure the company's values align with your own.

Related: Questions To Ask at an Interview

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