PROJECT 15: Mock Interview


Chapters 17, 18 and 19 discuss many aspects of interviewing. Interviews are conducted for employment, graduate school admission, bank loans for entrepreneurs, promotions, recognitions, and even for volunteer positions. Employers and others are taught how to interview using many different methods. Over many years, extensive improvements have been incorporated into interviewing with the goal of making the interview process more valid and reliable.

A great deal is at stake for both the interviewer and the interviewee. The process is constantly making continuous and substantial change to ensure better employment, acceptance, and promotional decisions. Seldom is this a casual “let’s talk” situation. The research presented in your textbook reports on the results of this progress so you can learn how to better perform in these more sophisticated approaches to selection. The interview is no longer a gut feeling situation, especially in the hiring process where high salaries are involved.

One of the best ways to learn any topic well, after you have been properly trained, is to practice what you have just learned. This role-playing will give you valuable insight that should be helpful in your future interviewing preparation.

You are asked to set up a hypothetical situation that involves you interviewing for consideration. The situation may be a real job, an internship opening, a call-back interview, for graduate school admission, or for promotion. You can even make this interview a meeting with a commercial banker where you are requesting a loan for your business. The situation is up to you to select, but the situation must be well described.

Your Career Counselor will be the mock interviewer. Your counselor will critically evaluate you on an evaluation form that you give to them at the beginning of the mock interview. As you will see from the instructions this must be as real as you can make a mock interview.

You should prepare behavioral-based questions based upon your specific courses, work experiences, and activities listed on your resume that are oriented to the job you want.

Your Career Counselor will ask you most of these questions which you should be prepared to answer with succinct past behavioral-based answers. You should be prepared to answer any probing follow-up questions.

The Mock Interview project may be one of the most important exercises that you do in this class, so everyone is encouraged to complete it. Every interviewer, regardless of the situation, has multiple candidates and a limited time in which to make decisions. Why pick you?

Upon completing this project you will have observed and experienced a major part of the interview selection process. Just the activity in preparing for this will be a major career educational experience. The goal of this project is to put you over the top in all of your future interview situations.


Your finished project should fulfill ALL of the requirements below.


A.     Job Description: Submit a Job Description. Your Career Counselor needs to have some knowledge about the position or situation for which you will be interviewing. You can submit a short job description following the format in Figure 19.1 in the textbook, or you can copy a real job description from the web or any other source. You can even copy the admission standards from the website of a graduate program. The counselor needs to know the qualifications or job specifications plus the duties/tasks that you are expected to perform. Again, copy or make it as real as possible. Good job descriptions are also available at Make this less than three copied pages.

You must present to your Career Counselor the exact situation for the mock interview in one to two minutes. Discuss the company, job description, graduate study admission requirements, international or local environment if relevant, the circumstances about a unique interview situation, and any facts that would impact the final evaluation.

B.     Cover Letter/Resume: Submit a cover letter and resume if appropriate. The interviewer (your Career Counselor) needs to have some written documents about you that can be read before the interview and later assessed with the interview evaluation form. You probably can submit something that you have already prepared. This is to be no more than five pages maximum.

C.    Behavioral-based Interview Questions: Prepare six behavioral-based questions that you want the interview to ask you. One of these must be “Tell me about yourself.” Two questions must relate to your academic background; one or two questions are to be about your management or leadership skills; and one or two questions are to be about your prior work experience. You need six total questions. Leave space between the questions for your bullet-point replies. (See Part D for details on these.)

Remember that you must prepare answers. Your interviewer will be following a routine similar to that in the Recruiter’s Guide, Figure 18.5 in the textbook, and completing an evaluation form from those listed at the end of Chapter 18. Their constructive evaluations will focus on the “Fifteen Knock-out Factors” in Figure 18.6. Interviewers typically focus on reasons to reject you. Your answers should be one to two minutes in duration. The answer for the “Tell me about you” question should be a commercial about you using the ideas from the three chapters on interviewing. Figure 18.3 on Assertive Interviewing should help your “commercial.”

The questions that you submit can be based upon the general questions found in the frequently asked questions in Figures 17.8, 17.9 and 17.10. You may not use these questions verbatim. Use these questions as a guide structuring your actual questions in the context of your situation and your competencies. Your Career Counselor will only accept questions that reflect your unique circumstances. You may have already prepared these from an earlier project.

D.    S.T.A.R. Answers: You must submit a proposed answers outline to your questions above. You are expected to use the techniques described in the interview chapters. Matching your answers to the questions developed in part C and following each question number, identify three to six bullet points that will help remind you of the answers that you want to give. MEMORIZE THESE!

Use the techniques described in the interview chapters in your responses! Prepare your strategic marketing plan that you are presenting verbally and without props. Use ideas from “Convincing Presentations,” Figure 17.2, in your textbook.

The interviewer is trying to predict your success in future situations like this. Review the “Predictors of Success,” Figure 17.4, in your textbook as you construct your answers. Avoid using your time to discuss your “can-do” factors so you can emphasize your “will-do” factors.

Whenever possible, you must use your S.T.A.R. answers, Figure 18.2, in response to behavioral-based questions. The ZAP technique in Chapter 18 will allow you to talk glowingly about yourself in an indirect manner.

E.     Evaluation: Submit an evaluation form. Links below and figures found at the end of Chapter 18 in the textbook illustrate five different evaluation forms similar to those used by on-campus recruiters. Your annual performance appraisal forms are often similar to these except for the specific focus on your job tasks and accomplishments. They are also similar to graduate school evaluation forms.

Copy any one of these forms. Take it to your mock interview and give it to your Career Counselor. If time is available, you will get some verbal feedback at the end of your interview. Time often runs short so normally the counselor will complete this form later and return it to you with comments the next time that you meet.

When you get subsequent feedback, the counselor will try to give you constructive feedback. That means that the evaluation will not all be positive. By focusing on areas where you have issues, you can make improvements and enhance future interviews.

1.      Interview Evaluation

2.      Selection Summary

3.      Interview Report

4.      Powell's Trait Checklist

5.      Trait-Based Candidate Evaluation


Deliverables: Turn in to your Career Counselor:

Ø      Job Description or Graduate School Application

Ø      Cover Letter and Resume

Ø      Six questions and S.T.A.R.S. identified (separate page per question)

Ø      Outline of answers to questions

Ø      Blank evaluation form printed from the web

You may use anything that you have previously prepared for another project for any of the above items.