Career coach Marcelle Yeager regularly conducts mock interviews with expat partners looking for jobs in the US. She explains why and how.
“A mock interview can help expat partners prepare in advance for common and more targeted interview questions so that they will feel confident going into interviews. I find that doing a video call over Skype is key; the mock interviewee can experience it as realistically as possible. It’s best if a coachee has a job of interest so that I can prepare questions directly related to that role, as well as more general behavioural questions that are typically asked in an interview.
When I conduct a mock interview, I take detailed notes or record it. That way, I can provide the coachee not only with their responses to review and reflect on, but also give constructive feedback on their answers. If I think they could give a stronger example in an answer to a question, I will let them know. This is something we then talk through during a follow-up call after the coachee has a chance to review my notes and recommendations. They then have this document to refer to before going into an actual interview.
It’s usually sufficient to practise just once with a coach. However, I find that when someone is going to interview for a ‘dream job’ and we’ve only done a more general simulation, it’s helpful to conduct a mock interview for that particular job. In my view, role-play with a coach is more effective than role-play with someone who knows you well. It is difficult for a friend or relative to objectively assess your responses, and they may not give you honest feedback. You can expect a coach to be frank and to direct you as to how to improve certain answers.”