The age old phrase "practice makes perfect" applies to just about everything– even nailing a job interview. To be a star interviewer, you have to practice– just like you would to be a star at anything!
Job seekers often take so many steps in order to land the interview itself -- preparing to answer potential questions without thinking to practice answering them out loud. As a result, nerves take over once the interview begins, and things fall apart.
The importance of practicing for an interview cannot be overemphasized. The benefits you’ll get from being an awesome interviewee will yield more job offers, which means more money and a more fulfilling career path.
So, how do you actually practice?
Here are a few suggestions for exercises you should do before the big day rolls around.
Create a list of questions
If you want to practice your answers, you'll need a list of questions to ask yourself! Come up with a list of questions that you think your interviewer may ask you, and spend some time writing out the jist of what you would want to say in response.
Practice in the car
The best thing about a long commute? Being alone in your car gives you some much-needed alone time to practice saying the things that you might respond with during an interview, and to see how you like the way your responses sound. Writing down your answers to potential interview questions isn't enough -- you need to hear how you sound saying your responses in order to feel confident in them. Keep in mind, you want to sound professional and polished rather than robotic and rehearsed.
Say your answers in front of a mirror
Another great way to practice is in front of a mirror. Sure, it's super uncomfortable initially, but it gives you a chance to see if you make weird expressions while saying certain words, or if you have any ticks that you’re not aware of. Try doing this in the outfit you plan to wear to your interview, so that you feel confident not only in how you look when you're speaking, but how your outfit lays once you're in a seated position.
Do a mock interview with a friend
When you're alone, it's easy to feel calm and collected about the answers you're giving. The real test is being able to say your responses in front of someone without feeling nervous or second guessing yourself. Ask someone to act as the interviewer, and give them your list of questions to ask. Perhaps you have a friend who is going through the interview process as well, and you can each trade off practice interviewing each other. A mentor or advisor is also a great person to practice with, as they could provide you with solid feedback and advice on how to get better.
Overall, you want to come across as prepared, likable and confident during your interview -- which also means being relaxed. Being prepared and having already practiced is going to make it so much easier to do so. Uncontrolled nervousness puts people off, and is inclined to make your interviewer nervous or uncomfortable -- which almost guarantees you won’t land the job. The more you practice the more natural it will feel. The more natural it feels the more fun it will begin to be. Going on an interview is like anything else -- if you’re good at it, you’re more likely to enjoy it!