Choosing interview questions is critical when planning for a mock interview. There are thousands of potential questions – so many questions, that a job seeker can never prepare for all of them. This will allow an interviewer to develop a list of questions that will be unexpected by the job seeker.
The first step in selecting questions for a mock interview is to review the job description of the position being pursued. This is easy if the mock interview is being conducted in advance of a scheduled interview. If the job seeker does not have an interview scheduled, and is just working on their interview skills, get a copy of a job description that is close to the ideal position for the job seeker.
Review the job description and identify the most significant skills required, the main responsibilities and the greatest challenges of the position. This will lead to a list of experiences that a hiring manager is likely to use to generate questions. There are a number of skills and attributes that are important in virtually every job. The relative importance varies, but each attribute is a factor. Below are some of the most common skills and attributes:
- Dealing with conflict
- Mentoring others
- Giving and receiving feedback
- Communications skills
- Leadership skills
- Organizational skills
- Project management
- Ability to work under tight deadlines
- Administrative skills
- Ability to multitask
- Work ethic
- Overcoming adversity
- Accepting responsibility
- Technical skills
Select a few main areas to focus on in the mock interview and write a question or two for each. Add in at least one, and preferably two questions about failures and weaknesses. These are questions that typically give job seekers trouble, and should be worked on in a mock interview.
If the job seeker has a red flag in their background, consider asking a question about it in the mock interview. A red flag is something that a hiring manager is likely to question. For example, an unusual career path, a gap in employment, or a series of quick job changes are all situations that need to be explained by the job seeker. The mock interview should address these head on by questioning them.
Finally, add the most common question found in interviews: “Tell me about yourself.” This question kicks off most interviews and is a critical question for any job seeker to answer. It should be practiced in every mock interview.
The result is a set of 8 to 10 questions. Mix the questions up, so that similar questions do not immediately follow each other. This will help the job seeker practice bouncing from concept to concept.