Mock Interview Fact Sheet
What is a Mock Interview?
A Mock Interview is a highly structured Career Awareness activity in which learners are paired one-on-one with a business partner who interviews each learner as if he/she were being interviewed by an employer for a paid internship or job. Mock Interviews can be held at the school but are more valuable if held at a workplace.
The experience allows learners to practice their interviewing skills and professional behaviors while at the same time developing a level of comfort in communicating with professionals. A Mock Interview also offers the chance to demonstrate the connection between academic concepts being taught in school and how they are applied in the workplace.
Mock Interviews are one activity in the continuum of authentic work-based experiences provided to all learners engaged in career-related programs or course of study in the Earn & Learn community.
Mock Interviews Are Designed To:
- Provide learners an opportunity to practice and demonstrate key work-readiness skills.
- Help learners practice a workreadiness skill.
- Allow learners to develop a level of comfort in communicating with adult professionals.
Mock Interviews Are Structured To:
- Enhance workplace knowledge.
- Expose learners to the skill sets and education/training required for jobs.
- Simulate an actual job interview.
- Promote learner and adult interactions.
Mock Interviews Are Supported By:
- Learner preparation and research in the classroom and online.
- Opportunities to reflect upon the experience verbally and in writing.
- Employer assessment and feedback regarding learners’ interviewing skills.
Mock Interviews Are Connected To:
- Classroom learning.
- Individual career development/training plans.
- The development or updating of a resume.
Mock Interview Format Options
- Group Visit: Learners visit a worksite as a group and participate in one-on-one mock interviews with employee volunteers. Can happen as part of a Workplace Tour or as a separate activity. Learners interview for a generic position, but scenarios may be used to provide context. Group orientations are provided for learners (at the school) and employee volunteers (at the workplace).
- At The School or College: Employer volunteers are recruited and come to the school to conduct mock interviews for a number of learners in sequenced one-on-one settings. Can happen as part of a Career Day or as a separate activity. Learners conduct research on the industries and kinds of positions available, but not on a specific company or position. Scenarios may be used to provide context. Group orientations are provided for learners (and the employee volunteers.
- Worksite – One on One: Learners meet with an employee volunteer at their place of work and conduct a mock interview for a specific position on which s/he has developed an interest and conducted research. The interviewing employer is given information about the learner, including a resume.
- Remote – One on One: Learners meet with an employee volunteer remotely via telephone, Zoom or Facetime.
WBL Connectors Mock Interview Checklist
Quick tips for Work-Based Learning Connectors to ensure successful mock interviews.
Before The Mock Interview:
- Identify how many learners will be ready for a mock interview and begin scheduling.
- Determine how you will structure the mock interviews.
- Work with teachers/faculty to conduct a resume building workshops with learners.
- If a group activity at the school, make sure that space is set up for one-on-one interviews—the right number of tables and chairs and that there are enough employer volunteers to conduct the needed number of interviews in the set period of time.
- If the mock interviews are happening at the place of business, it may be considered a field trip and school district policies regarding transportation, Workers Compensation and liability insurance may apply. Make sure you plan ahead and address all logistics.
- Create and provide appropriate support materials for distribution to employee volunteers.
- Work with the employer to prepare for the interview. Brief the employer on the career pathways learners are pursuing and what’s going on in the classroom.
- If conducting an online activity, confirm the technical details, time and format, Test and practice with the interface prior to the mock interview.
During The Mock Interview:
- If rotating learners through a group of employers, make sure you have a schedule and that someone is keeping track of time and coordinating the activity.
- Check in with the employers to see if they need anything, such as water, pens, or forms.
- If being conducted in an online remote classroom, have someone manage the breakout rooms while you and the teacher monitor activities.
After The Mock Interview:
- Conduct follow-up activities by reviewing the completed evaluations or assessments with the learners.
- Help learners update their career development plan and think about any next steps they would like to take to further their career goals. Coordinate opportunities for learner reflection with teachers/faculty to help learners make the connection between the mock interview, classroom learning and next steps.
- Assess the effectiveness of the mock interview and make recommendations for adjustments in the future.
- Document the experience in ELENA.
- Make the interview part of a project and have learners prepare and deliver a presentation to others at your school about the company.
- Consider any potential public relations benefits and opportunities for the participating companies and share that with them.
This includes Earn & Learn work-based learning connectors and others who facilitate, arrange and support work-based learning activities for learners.
- Beginning of the school year: Communicate with potential hosts. Determine dates and learner cohorts with school community.
- Three months in advance: Confirm dates and format, conduct resume-building workshop and recruit learners.
- Two months in advance: Hold employer orientation and elevator pitch workshop. Do portfolio review and assembly.
- One month in advance: Send/receive forms, confirm logistics and review resumes.
- One week in advance: Cover travel, safety and attire protocols, resume and portfolio folder.
- During Mock Interview: Facilitate agenda, learner management and social media.
- After Mock Interview: Oversee thank-you notes, reflection and career development plan update.
Tips For Success
- Conduct Effective Planning
- Prepare for Success
- Identify Learning Objectives
- Create Authentic and Engaging Experiences
- Connect to Careers
- Support Learner Growth
- Ensure Activities are Safe and Legal
- Provide Ongoing Support
- Provide for Reflection, Presentation and Feedback
- Connect to the Learner Next Step
- Assess and Document the Experience
Remote & Virtual Mock Interview Options
Conducting Mock Interviews remotely requires a careful look at policies and procedures regarding learner contact via phone or the internet with industry partners outside the school setting. Mock Interviews are usually conducted individually at the workplace or the school, however they may take place over the phone or using an online platform.
Remote Mock Interview Options
Remember, remote activities promote “live” learner contact with adult professionals and front-line workers via the use of technology. Appropriate permissions, protections and guidance should be developed to support these experiences.
Mock Interviews by Phone or Internet
A learner is formally interviewed via phone, FaceTime, Skype, Microsoft Teams or Zoom by an Industry Partner as if they were applying for a job with the company the partner represents.
Mock Interviews Via Remote Classroom
Multiple Employers are invited to a remote classroom. Each is assigned to a breakout room and interviews learners individually.
Steps To Success
- Review the Mock Interview Guide. Review and distribute appropriate tip sheets and checklists.
- Recruit a number of Industry Partner(s) and match learners for the interviews to participate and interview a number of learners.
- Help select and test the appropriate platform and decide how you will manage the session.
- Carefully schedule the session and prepare team members to help coordinate the activity.
- As they sign in, assign the Industry Partners to breakout rooms.
- Help learners as they enter the breakout room to participate in their interview.
- Teachers support reflection activities and helps learners update their employability skills profile.
- Provide activities for the learners who are not being interviewed.
- Make sure learners are comfortable with the selected technology.
- Pay attention to logistics during the session.
- Remind learners to dress as if they were participating in a real interview.
- Consider recording the interviews and have each learner critique their performance.
Virtual Mock Interview Activities
Remember, virtual activities are generally simulations and provide learners with employer exposures through recordings, online research and related classroom activities.
Mock Interviews do not lend themselves well to a virtual option. You may wish to have learners view a recorded mock interview and have learners critique it in the classroom.
Tips For Success
- Identify the preferred format and structure for the mock interviews.
- Select and personally practice using the selected technology.
- Make sure all learners have access to appropriate technology.
- Do a test run with your learners.
- Decide how you want to organize and moderate the session. Sometimes it takes one person to manage the session and another to monitor the technology and address questions.
- Decide which Learner reflection activities will take place and how you will support them.
- Make sure you get feedback on the activity from the speaker and the learners.
- Record the interview. Use the recording as a way for each learner to reflect on and rate their performance.
Resources & Links
There are number of fee-based websites offering online support and practice for interviewing that include mock interviews. There are also plenty of free resources that offer guidance and advice for successful interviews. Some samples are provided below.
Consider having your learners conduct internet research on interview tips and have them share what they found with the class.
Mock Interview Downloads
Complete Activity Guide
- Support learners in recognizing the curriculum connection.
- Help learner practice their elevator pitch and update their resume.
- Structure a reflection activity based on a “What? So what? Now what?” format.