How to Improve your Online Mock Interview: 5 Preparation Tips

How to Improve your Online Mock Interview: 5 Preparation Tips

Congratulations! You’ve successfully managed to get your job application past the “resume robots” at your dream company and you lined up an interview that could change the course of your career.

Are you prepared for what comes next?

While all of us wish this was the easy part, the stress that often comes with the coveted interview can be the most challenging aspect of your job search. This has become more true in the age of video technology. Recent trends show more hiring managers are conducting remote video interviews, and if you’re an adult learner who hasn’t been in the job market for some time, you may feel apprehensive about being interviewed on-camera. 

This recent uptick in video interviews inspired Ashford University’s Career Services team to launch My Career Powered by Symplicity, a job interview simulation tool that allows students and alumni to practice their interview techniques, overcome camera shyness, and receive feedback on their performance. 

“The advantage to the applicant is that they’re able to highlight where they need to improve,” explains Ashford University Director of Career Services and Alumni Relations Grace Williamson. “In a live interview, you have the opportunity to go back and correct yourself, so this is a great way to analyze and get advice on your performance.”

Top 5 Recommendations for Improving Your Mock Video Interview Performance

Although mock interviews are intended as practice, you’ll want to treat them like the real deal. The more professional you are in the mock exercises, the more you can learn about your speech patterns, body language, and subject matter expertise. 

Here are five recommendations to follow when recording your mock interview:

1. Research the opportunity: An employer will want to know how your skills align with the job posting to which you applied. Do your research in advance and anticipate the types of questions that you’re going to be asked. It’s helpful that the mock interviews are timed, so you can develop concise responses and avoid long periods of awkward silence (or rambling) in a real interview.

2. Check your background and computer settings: When conducting an interview on-camera, you need to remove background distractions. Position yourself in front of a blank wall, and make sure lighting is bright enough for your interviewer to see you. You’ll also want to test your internet connection and speakers ahead of time to ensure nothing will go wrong in the event that you have a real-life video interview.

3. Maintain eye contact: If your camera isn’t built into your screen, you may be looking in another direction during your interview. Make adjustments so that you always appear to be making eye contact with your interviewer. 

4. Keep your notes close by: It helps when you’re able to lay out all of your resources (resume, job posting, etc.) in front of you. Take time to outline the highlights you’ll want to remember during the interview, and keep those handy. 

5. Assess your performance before sending it to others: Do you use your hands a lot when speaking? Are there too many “ummm” moments and pauses during your responses? Did you ramble on nervously? Send yourself the link first, so you can review and revise your on-camera skills and try again. 

How My Career Powered by Symplicity Works

You can access My Career Powered by Symplicity through your Student Portal. From there, follow these five steps to complete your interview: 

1. Log in: Select Resources, then select Mock Interviews. 

2. Choose your topic: Once you’re logged in, you can search through hundreds of sample video interview sessions and questions using keywords related to degree programs, job postings, and professional interests. 

3. Adjust your settings: After adjusting your audio/video settings to your liking, you can begin watching the questions. Once the interview begins, you will not be able to pause or stop the video.

4. Record your response: Typically, there are 5– 15 mock interview questions and after each question plays, you will have 30 seconds to prepare your response. You will then have three minutes to record your answer. 

5. Submit for feedback: After your interview, you will receive a link to your video interview via email. You can forward the link to Career Services, instructors, peers, and trusted colleagues in your network who can provide feedback on your performance. 

There is no limit to the number of questions or interview recordings you can do, Williamson says, and the only way the interview can be seen by anyone else is if you share the link.  

Expanding the Possibilities of Video Interviews

When it comes to user benefits, the My Career Powered by Symplicity program has only just scratched the surface. In 2020, Ashford University will add personalized mock interview questions and mock video interviews for every degree program that’s offered. 

Additionally, the program allows real-life employers to develop their own questions, which will give you the opportunity to send a link of your video interview directly to a hiring manager.

“It’s becoming part of the application process,” Williamson says. “It’s more convenient, and beneficial for employers and candidates.”

To learn more about mock interviews or how Career Services can help you, call 866.974.5700 ext. 20057, or send an email to [email protected].

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Written by Ashford University staff

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