A mock interview is a type of interview that people do in order to practice for real interviews, and doing mock interviews allows an interviewee to become comfortable and confident with how a real interview would be.
For these reasons, many job applications participate in mock interviews for all job roles throughout all industries. It helps them become a more competitive candidate and increases the probability of passing an interview and getting a job. This is especially important for hyper-competitive jobs like software engineer job roles at big tech companies like Google, Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft, where software engineers prepare intensively for multiple months to pass their interviews.
In the rest of this article, we will discuss what a mock interview is in greater detail along with elaborating how beneficial they are to do. Subsequently, we’ll explain 7 steps you can take to better prepare yourself for mock interviews to get the most benefit out of them. At the end of the article, we’ll specifically mention whether software engineers do mock interviews and what the best platforms are for practicing coding-related mock interviews.
What Is A Mock Interview?
A mock interview is a type of interview that mirrors the environment of a real interview. During a mock interview, an interviewee is evaluated by a mock interviewer as if they’re doing a real interview. However, in the case of a mock interview, the interviewee is able to see their interview evaluation results and receive advice from the mock interviewer on how they can improve their interviewing skills.
Any type of interview can be given as a mock interview, and they can be conducted in different formats such as in-person or online (through a webcam). For instance, there are mock phone interviews and mock behavioral interviews, which are the most common types of mock interviews. Mock interviews also exist for technical candidates like software engineers. An example of this is a mock coding interview where software engineer job candidates are expected to solve coding interview problems.
The purpose of a mock interview is to provide an interviewee with an interviewing environment that is realistic of how they would perform during a real interview. The purpose is also to be beneficial to the interviewee by helping them improve as an interviewee through advice from the mock interviewer.
How Beneficial Are Doing Mock Interviews?
Doing mock interviews in preparation for real interviews is highly beneficial because it allows an interviewee to boost their confidence by improving their weaknesses and understanding their strengths. Without doing a mock interview, an interviewee doesn’t get the opportunity to experience what a high-pressure interview experience is like which makes them perform worse during a real interview.
The image below expresses 5 additional key benefits of doing mock interviews.
How Do You Prepare For Mock Interviews?
To prepare for mock interviews, you’ll want to develop an appropriate outfit, arrange experiential stories ahead of time, practice answering common mock interview questions, practice your communication skills, practice your body language skills, seek additional mock interview opportunities, and seek experienced mock interviewers for your mock interviews. Following a methodological approach like this enables you to increase your chances of success in real interviews.
In the sections below, we’ll define what each of these 7 steps are in preparing for mock interviews and also describe their importance.
1. Develop An Appropriate Outfit
Developing an appropriate outfit for a mock interview means selecting an outfit that best aligns with the dress code of the industry or company that you’re interviewing for. Your outfit can range from being business formal to business casual. For those in the tech sector, you may be expected to wear startup casual.
Developing an appropriate outfit for a mock interview allows you to give the impression that you understand and respect the type of culture of the organization you’re interviewing for. It also aids in boosting your confidence and creating a positive first impression.
2. Arrange Experiential Stories Ahead Of Time
Arranging experiential stories ahead of time for a mock interview means reflecting on your past experiences and recalling specific instances that best represent your skills and achievements. These stories should showcase aspects of your competencies as a candidate such as your problem-solving aptitude and the ways you’ve operated in various situations.
Arranging experiential stories ahead of time for a mock interview helps interviewers comprehend your practical experience and provides concrete examples of your past actions, allowing them to get a clearer understanding of your abilities and allowing them to give you better feedback.
3. Practice Answering Common Mock Interview Questions
Practicing answering common mock interview questions means rehearsing answers to questions that are frequently asked in interviews for your industry and job role. This includes both technical and behavioral questions.
Practicing answering common mock interview questions allows you to articulate your responses with more confidence and coherence during the real interview, reducing anxiety by allowing you to answer questions in the best possible way.
4. Practice Communication
Practicing communication for a mock interview means practicing the communication-related skills that are related to a mock interview. This includes skills such as your speaking and listening skills.
Practicing communication for a mock interview ensures you can actively listen, understand questions correctly, and deliver clear responses, increasing your credibility and likability to the interviewer. These benefits of effective communication skills increase your chances of passing real interviews.
5. Practice Appropriate Body Language
Practicing appropriate body language for a mock interview involves focusing on non-verbal cues. This includes maintaining eye contact, offering a firm handshake, and adopting an open posture.
Practicing appropriate body language for a mock interview complements your verbal answers and signifies confidence, enthusiasm, and professionalism, which can leave a positive lasting impression on interviewers.
6. Seek Additional Mock Interview Opportunities
Seeking additional mock interview opportunities means looking for and participating in as many mock interviews as you can to continually improve your interviewing skills.
Seeking additional mock interview opportunities allows you to obtain more feedback from different interviewers, and adapt to different interviewer styles, ensuring that you’re well-prepared for real-world interview scenarios.
7. Seek Experienced Mock Interviewers
Seeking experienced mock interviewers for a mock interview means connecting with professionals and mentors with substantial experience to be your mock interviewers.
Seeking experienced mock interviewers for a mock interview provides an opportunity to receive invaluable feedback, gain insights into what employers prioritize, and understand areas that might need more focus or refinement in your preparation. Their experiences allow you to learn what experienced interviewers are looking for in a real interview, compared to what an inexperienced interviewer thinks you need to improve on.
Should Software Engineers Do Mock Interviews?
Yes, software engineers should do mock interviews because mock interviews provide great opportunities to make yourself a competitive candidate for top-tier tech companies like Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Meta, and Apple. The competition to get a job as a software engineer is highly competitive, so you’ll want to do mock interviews to give you the best chances of passing real software engineering interviews and getting job offers.
The most relevant types of mock interviews for software engineers to practice in are mock coding interviews, mock behavioral interviews, and mock system design interviews.
Where Can You Practice Mock Coding Interviews?
You can practice mock coding interviews online on popular mock coding interview platforms like Pramp and Interviewing.io. Depending on your timeline, educational budget, and the quality of the mock interviews you seek, you can practice mock coding interviews for free or hire a professional mock interviewer on popular mock interview platforms that fit your personal circumstances.