you should be giving your interns mock interviews

A reader writes;

My husband and I were having a water cooler chat in our kitchen today (we’re working remotely on different floors) and he mentioned something he’d been doing this week that I thought was brilliant.

He’s a software engineering manager at a medium-sized division of a huge international corporation that does many things — so his division is essentially a tech firm inside a different industry. They have a bunch of interns right now and are fully remote — no one allowed on site most days — so managers are struggling more than usual to help interns have a valuable experience when office norms, etc. are all kind of up in the air.

So this week he decided to start giving them mock interviews. He felt like the interview process at this company was pretty similar to interviews he’d had and given in his other workplaces and so he scheduled a few with the interns to help them know what to expect if they applied anywhere in the industry.

The mock interviews quickly became so popular that he had to implement a request process so he’d still have time to do the rest of his job. And other managers are now asking him to sit in on his interviews so they can begin offering this to their own interns. Some have even asked to do their own with him!

This is one of those things that feels like such an obvious thing to do now that I’ve heard it, but I’ve been asking around among friends in many industries and no one remembered doing this either as a manager or an intern. So I thought I’d tell you just in case it’s an idea you might have a reason to pass along one day.

What a great idea! Consider it passed along.

{ 88 comments… read them below }

  1. Moi*

    I love this idea. One of the best things my coworkers did for me as an intern was make me do a presentation of a proposal to them that I would be giving to my director and VP. They proceeded to impersonate said director and VP including but not limited to; arriving 5 minutes late, leaving to go get a coffee, ignoring the print outs, ignoring the slides, asking questions in the middle of the slide, completely derailing the conversation to ask how college was going, etc etc etc.

    It turned out to be the best thing in the world. About half of the behaviors they impersonated happened, I didn’t get flustered at all, and my proposal was approved!

    1. Ginger Baker*

      I am DYING LAUGHING at the Very Real Behaviors included. Good on them for thinking through to include that!

      1. JessaB*

        I’m laughing too and so proud of those coworkers for coming up with such a great idea. Most people let you stand and read something but don’t think to do all the things that happen, getting phone calls, walking out for some reason, etc. This is great.

        1. sub rosa for this*

          …asking you questions that are clearly off of someone else’s resume, then abruptly getting up and leaving while you’re halfway through explaining that you never worked at XYZ and you don’t actually have ABC skill…

    2. Ali G*

      This is great. I did something similar for an intern I wanted to offer a full time position to. We had to make the case for the need to hire her (creating a new position), and we spent a lot of time anticipating the questions we would get and practice our answers. We were successful!

    3. Foreign Octopus*

      I do this with my ESL students! There’s a portion of the Cambridge exams where they have to interact with another exam taker and I do a wide variety of behaviours including shy and reluctant to speak to overly verbose and unwilling to give airtime to the other person. It’s so helpful for them.

      1. Fake Old Converse Shoes (not in the US)*

        When did they started that? I took it in 2006 and none of this existed (that I knew of, of course).

    4. Guacamole Bob*

      I had a grad school prof in a professional degree program do something similar. It was infuriating at the time, but very useful in retrospect!

    5. Chinook*

      I did this when we did mock classes to prepare for student teaching. Everyone else treated it like any university presentation while I and another student acted like friends we had in school as well as one with dyslexia and discalcula (depending on subject matter). At one point one of the other student teachers threatened to send us to the principal’s office and we dialed it back a bit, but our professor never discouraged our behaviour.

      I think he thought the correct punishment was putting us in as the last round of practice teachers, but we just prepared ahead for disruptions and nipped them in the bud (like they should have done. We were just pretending to be bored teens). It was an object lesson to everyone that a) lesson plans nver go they way you think and b) classroom management is a skill that you need to master to survive.

    6. Cheerfully Polite Grey Rock*

      This is fantastic! So many interview guides assume that the interviewers will act a particular way (professionally), so no one is ever prepared for when they go off script.

    7. BenAdminGeek*

      I had a coworker who could do a dead-perfect impression of our most difficult client’s reaction to issues, and it was amazingly helpful. The coworker would sit there and spit out things the contact would say, and we could learn to anticipate and prepare for things. It made some really complicated discussions go really well.

  2. Hare under the moon with a silver spoon*

    Amazing idea!

    I have an interview tomorrow and so nervous, just normalising the process, verbalising “in the moment” are such great skills to have (and shakes head at having never addresses this for myself before)

    1. Colin*

      My only suggestion to improving this idea would be to arrange for strangers do the interview. Most times in life, it won’t be with someone you have been working with for a few months and building a rapport with. I know lot’s of people are extra busy these days, but lots have also had things slow down, so put out a call for people who would be willing to assist.

      1. Evan Þ.*

        Great suggestion. I remember senior year of high school when my mom would give me mock college interviews – she meant well, and the chance to think over my wording did help, but the dynamic with her was totally different than with an actual interviewer.

    2. Hare under the moon with a silver spoon*

      Forget to add prepping like mad with all great advice this site has – and role play icing on the cake

  3. Threeve*

    I don’t know about others, but I find job interviews where I’m the interviewer almost as stressful as job interviews where I’m the candidate. This is a great idea, but I would hate it so much.

    1. Miss Muffet*

      It’d be a great, low-stakes way for you to get additional practice being the interviewer then, too. How freeing to get to put in a little work up front and get better at interviewing without actually having to worry about HIRING the poor sap! :) (Or worse, telling them they aren’t hired!)

    2. KateM*

      Then it would be a mock exercise for you as well and maybe you will find being interviewer less stressful in the future?

    3. Alli525*

      Yes, I would be the first one to advocate for my interns to get this kind of service, but I would definitely be clear that I couldn’t be the one to host the mock interviews – I could help with logistical support maybe, but I deeply dislike both sides of the interview process.

    4. FlyingAce*

      I’m with you. I have to “interview” a few of our trainees tomorrow (they are already hired, this is just to get to know them better and gauge their ‘propensity to leave’ before completing training). Not looking forward to it…

  4. Tad Cheeky*

    I am the director of an engineering department and we hired our first intern a few years ago. Six months into her role, unprompted, I told her that she should plan to give me a presentation on why she deserved a raise. Slightly panicked, she insisted that she didn’t want a raise. I told her that was too bad, she still had to give me the presentation because it was my job to teach her how to code AND how to advocate for herself as a woman in I/T. She thanked me later.

    1. Foreign Octopus*

      “She didn’t want a raise.”

      Bless her. That’s exactly something I’d have said at the beginning of my career as well. Good on you for getting her to do that early.

      1. Tad Cheeky*

        Same! Which is why I ask all of my interns to do it now. Also, she had a habit of saying “Sorry” before asking something perfectly normal that required no apology, so we worked on that peccadillo, too. I wish someone had done the same for me when I was interning all those years ago…

        1. Random*

          I used to preface almost any question with “I have a stupid question” when I was working in retail. My manager called me out on it and I switched it to “random question” which wasn’t the best improvement there was, but progress comes in small steps.

        1. Em*

          That’s hardly on the spot — that’s “plan to do this.” That’s an assignment to create a presentation to be presented at a later date.

          Isn’t that what most work is?

            1. Frank Doyle*

              You quit jobs whenever you don’t like the work being assigned? Or are you thinking of this as a different sort of matter?

        2. Des*

          There’ll be plenty of moments where you’re put on the spot in the real world, and it’s a manager’s job to prepare the intern for them.

        3. D3*

          Bosses ask people to do things with no notice and short deadlines all the time. Sometimes those assignments are a stretch and you learn a ton from doing them. If you can’t/won’t rise to the occasion when given an assignment, probably best if you move on.

      2. Fake Old Converse Shoes (not in the US)*

        I got second hand embarrasment just reading that sentence. I hope I wasn’t that innocent back when I started.

    2. Quinalla*

      This is great and the same kind of thing I try to do with interns when we have them – give them experiences that will help them at any future job. This is a great idea I will definitely remember for future interns! I like to take mine to client meetings, site visits, presentations, etc. so they aren’t just sitting in front of a computer the whole time doing – the in front of a computer work is real work, but I want them to have a fuller picture of their potential career and also how to do meetings, etc. in the work world. They usually just come to observe and listen, but that is important and how I learned myself when I was just starting out.

      I had not though about doing mock interviews, it makes a lot of sense and especially now if you have interns that may not be as able to jump in on the “real” work as easily being remote.

      1. Miss Muffet*

        Nice idea – learning how to do meetings. That’s something a lot of people could use some remedial education in!

      2. TootsNYC*

        The head of the unit I interned with dragged me to every meeting he had. It was SO instructive! I learned all kinds of business stuff.

        Then years later, I met the business manager for my department, and i said, “oh, so you’re the one who decides whether the discount a buying is asking for is appropriate and will fit the financial picture,” and she said, “I’ve never heard anyone from your side of the aisle actually understand what we do.”

        1. Chinook*

          We “snuck” the interns into meetings like this by having them do notes (their manager would point them to me to show examples of my meeting notes so they knew what was expected). Many of them questioned why they were doing secretarial work but I quickly pointed out that I, the admin assistant, knew more about what was going on precisely because I took those notes when there was no intern to do it. They were being handed an opportunity to be useful to the director AND learn stuff, so they shouldn’t be too quick to turn up their nose at “secretarial work.”

    3. Cwebb*

      I’m copying your idea! I always say someone needs to demonstrate that they’ll advocate for themselves in order for me to trust them to advocate for the company. We need to do more of this for women.

  5. Helena1*

    We do this for our trainees (medicine, UK). Mock research fellowship interviews, mock resident interviews, mock consultant (staff physician) interviews. There’s a whole industry, but most people just ask people in their department to do it.

    Our interviews are pretty specialist though – there’s a standardised national structure, so a mock interview in hospital X will be representative of a staff interview in hospital Y. There’s also a standardised scoring structure, so even if they love you, you need to practice ticking all the boxes in your answers so you get enough points. That isn’t always as easy as just being the most qualified person (and for staff interviews, most people are highly qualified – you usually only get 3-4 applications, it is unheard of to apply and not be interviewed, and all are potentially appointable).

  6. 2ManyBugs*

    My company has received repeated positive feedback from our outgoing interns that we give them a lot of valuable experience – “This was the best, most involved internship I’ve ever had” is a direct quote.

    One of the things they seem to appreciate is we actually bring them to *real* interviews (especially when we’re interviewing potential incoming interns). They aren’t leading them or anything, but they’re expected to ask maybe one or two questions, and join the post-interview meeting about thoughts and impressions. Since they have the most ground-level view of what their work entails, we get valuable insight out of it too! And since we frequently pull from the same colleges, we’ve occasionally gotten some really interesting impressions, like “Listen, I’ve had group work with that guy several times in classes, and he does the bare minimum and expects everyone else to carry him.” It’s a win all the way around.

    1. Dino*

      How wonderful to be able to tap into what (and who!) the interns know! Those networks can be just as valuable but are often under appreciated.

    2. Sled dog mama*

      My company does this for our intern (she’s not actually called an intern but it’s a 2 year position that is primarily intended to teach the profession in a hands on way and to prepare the intern to pass a certification exam).
      Not only does she get to attend interviews, she was responsible for planning the open house/interview day for next year’s candidates and did her own interviews with them. Her insight into a couple of the candidates was crucial and she remembered things like they are going to come in the night before and don’t know the area and (being under 25) many will not have a good way to get around, so she organized a casual get to know you dinner and transport to it.

    3. Not A Girl Boss*

      At one of the companies I interned at, they had the interns (there were only two of us) do a solo interview of an engineer. The guy was such a jerk to both of us, acting like it was a waste of his time to be interviewed by a measly intern. So it ended up being great information about him as a candidate, kind of like evaluating how they treat the receptionist.

      Of course, us interns told the hiring managers that the guy was a jerk to us, and they hired him anyway because he was a legacy hire. To no ones surprise, he continued to act like a pompous jerk for the rest of my internship and was not liked by much of anyone.

      1. Formerly Ella Vader*

        I once got to participate in a faculty hiring process as a graduate student. (I mean, I often got to attend the research presentations and the mock-teaching presentations, but in one department I got the chance to meet privately with each candidate). I didn’t attend the committee deliberations, just submitted my observations. I don’t know that my reporting that a candidate had said a racist thing tanked that candidacy, but I know the committee was fascinated to hear it.

  7. Littorally*

    This is fantastic. When my last job went through layoffs, mock interviews were one of the offerings they made to help the laid-off employees find jobs elsewhere more easily, and they were a great help then. I appreciated it then and I’m sure many of these interns appreciate this now.

    1. Picard*

      When I was laid off, they offered this as well and you would have had to drag me kicking and screaming to be mock interviewed by the HR department that just laid me off.

      1. Littorally*

        It was part of a whole constellation of benefits they offered in order to help us get other jobs, so I wasn’t too bitter about it — and it also wasn’t HR that conducted the mock interviews, it was various team managers (who were also getting laid off!) who volunteered to run them.

      2. NotAnotherManager!*

        I don’t think it’s typically the organization’s HR that does this – my mom, spouse, and friend were all offered career services as part of layoffs, and they were handled by outside organizations – resume-writing, interviewing, and a few other things I can’t remember. Few people would use the services if they were offered by corporate HR, and it’d be unreasonable to expect them to.

        1. Littorally*

          Yep. We had outside speakers come in to give us workshops about navigating unemployment, about how to manage health benefits & COBRA, resume workshops, mock interviews, a job fair onsite, generous official policies about time off for interviews, on and on. We also had officially, 6 months’ notice that the layoffs were coming, and people whose jobs were wrapped up before the 6 month mark got paid through the full six months before their severance started. It was really a textbook example of how to do layoffs very well, in my opinion.

  8. KuklaRed*

    Another thing that might be useful is some mentoring on common business practices that they might not be familiar with. My daughter is 29 and works in marketing. She has seen a lot of people at her various jobs who could really benefit from someone telling them about what is expected in a professional situation. She says that she had the benefit of observing my career all her life and it has paid off. Some of the stories she tells me are crazy.

    1. booksbooksbooksmorebooks*

      I was talking about this with my boss on one of my first business trips – he hadn’t observed any sort of business relationships growing up (very economically depressed area, narrow set of professions locally) and taught himself what to look for, what to be aware of, how to gauge professional social situations. Had a bit of a shock to his system starting out. I’d come from a similar economic class, but a totally different cultural background (poc passing as white, lots of context switching, close enough to a wealthy area that I was involved in things like girl guides with upper-class people.) A lot of the things he mentioned, all those unwritten rules, I already had a heightened awareness of – I came in knowing how to code switch even if I didn’t quite know the exact rules.

      Class background plays such a huge part in awareness of white-collar norms, but I hadn’t thought of the code switching as a superpower until he pointed it out. It was a fascinating conversation! We ended up incorporating a lot of the things we talked about into informal onboarding resources for junior employees. These things do pay off, so it’s worth levelling the playing field.

    2. Chinook*

      Thi was the part I enjoyed most as the AA to a manager who alwys wanted female engineer interns – she truste me to take them aside and point out th things that make them a good colleague and employee. I may not know how to calculate pipe efficiency., but I could show them how to load the photocopier instead of leaving it empty for the next guy (who could be your boss) or office kitchen rules or how to deal with your first business trip. I would even casually debrief them after a trip to the field togive them context and guidance for working with blue collar workers.

  9. WantonSeedStitch*

    This is a fantastic idea. I sort of did this for myself when I was applying for my current role (a promotion from my old one, in the same organization). I know the way we interview. I know the kinds of questions we ask. Heck, I’d sat on one of the interview panels for my predecessor, as one of the people who’d be reporting directly to her–I know what questions *I* had asked. I made a list of the questions I figured I’d be most likely to get, using some HR guidelines we have for getting at specific competencies in interviews, and wrote down notes on experiences I’d had that demonstrated things like my ability to advocate for my team, how I handled working with difficult clients, etc. I practiced talking about these and also about my priorities and visions for the team if I were to get the position. It paid off: the interviews were almost more like amiable conversations than like interviews, and I got the job. (Granted, to this day, I don’t know if anyone else applied, though I know the position was posted outside our organization as well.)

  10. Aquawoman*

    I’m in law and we interview our candidates prior to bringing them on as interns–I guess others don’t do that? It’s a real interview, scaled to their experience level (none!) but same as we would do hiring someone recently out of school.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      No, that’s normal — but this is more beneficial to the interns because it’s specifically framed as practice, they’re presumably getting feedback, etc.

      1. Not A Girl Boss*

        I think its doubly helpful because they’re learning to sell the experienced they’ve gained during their internship. For many interns, that means its their first time ‘selling’ real work and not just school experience. Receiving feedback on the way you talk about your work from people who actually know it can be helpful.

        This is especially true with young women who tend to downplay their achievement. A huge favor a previous boss did for me was have him show me my resume, then scratch it all up. Feedback like “you didn’t *participate* you led” and “Why didn’t you talk about this other achievement which shows leadership skills?” etc.

    2. NotAPirate*

      I know some of our interns had terrible interviews but their paper skills spoke for them and their references were stellar. We didn’t tell them they did terrible in the interview. A lot of first time interns are bad at interviews, and the school facilitates them back to back for us, so its not a totally normal interview process. A practice interview during the internship would give them a way to help fix some of those issues and get them more comfortable with it.

      One of the worst interns I’ve ever dealt with had a great interview. She could talk to people but it turns out she was totally BS-ing her experiences and had no sense of responsibility.

      1. That Girl from Quinn's House*

        I am always super leery of people who have great resumes and excellent interviews. Often it turns out the only thing they are skilled at is conning people.

        1. Not A Girl Boss*

          I mean… Or they’re just fantastic candidates who have taken the time to rehearse interviewing and get feedback on their resumes?

          Ask specific questions to assess the depth of their knowledge, sure, always do that. But it seems very strange to assume people who are good at interviewing are con artists. (And conversely, that people who have terrible resumes and interviews might really be the best candidates).

          I actually was on the receiving end of this. They called to tell me I didn’t get the job and said “but you were an excellent interviewer, I mean just a really confident speaker” in an oddly condescending tone that made the subtext read “you dusky hued lady Satan, trying to con us with your showmanship” when really I’d just spent an entire semester of college in a class where all we did was learn how to create resumes and practice interviewing.

          1. Owler*

            I know you meant it in a negative way, but my compliments to you on “dusty hued lady Satan”. What an excellent turn of phrase, and a new aspiration for me (although I’d be more of the pasty hued variety).

            1. Not A Girl Boss*

              Haha thanks. It’s from Tombstone, great film about women with gumption (bwahaha you’re so right Seeking Second Childhood, I love it)

        2. NotAnotherManager!*

          This has not really been my experience. Not to say we never make a bad hire, but we use situational/behavior questions and have people interview with 2-3 different people, at least one of whom usually flags a problem. I try to have at least one position-level peer interview each candidate, too, and their feedback is very helpful – sometimes, not-great people will let their guard down with a peer v. a manager.

          1. NotaPirate*

            We only get interns interviewing in a giant batch for over the summer usually pick 2 to 4. So they don’t have a peer on site to conduct an interview unfortunately.

        3. Renata Ricotta*

          But what do all the people do who actually have impressive accomplishments and are adept at discussing them in a warm, confident and professional manner? Remove the accolades from the resume and show up unprepared just so they seem … authentic?

          1. NotaPirate*

            I said some of our interns were bad at their interview. Not that we look deliberately for bad interviews. And then I pointed out that the interview is not a fool proof measure for how well the intern will do in the role as ironically the worst intern hall of famer had a decent one.

  11. Mama Bear*

    I don’t know if we do this or not, but I think it’s a great idea. The other week two interns had to give a presentation on their work, and I was one of the team who asked questions, etc. I thought it was a great exercise for them. You can’t always hide behind a computer, even as an engineer.

  12. LCH*

    i was in a magnet program in high school that had mock interviews at the end of every semester that were supposed to mimic the sort of job interview we would have for our field. it was an arts program so for some students it was like auditions, for others it was portfolio review, for mine it was discussion of past “work experience” mixed with portfolio review. so it didn’t translate exactly to standard interviews, but it was really helpful in getting comfortable being questioned by a group of people (which is what a lot of my current interviews are).

    tl;dr yes, all internships should implement this.

  13. irene adler*

    Wow! This is gold!

    Getting interview feedback from someone in the field is so valuable. Try getting that once you are working in the field.

  14. Tuckerman*

    Mock interviews are great but can be intimidating! So to help students build confidence, I meet with small groups and lead interviewing workshops. We go through commonly asked questions and talk through why employers ask them (what they’re trying to learn about you). We discuss strategies for answering and I ask for brave volunteers to give a practice answer. We give positive and constructive feedback as a group.

    1. Amy*

      This is something I want to do more of in my role as an employability officer- we do plenty of mock interviews (which are frequently more rigorous than the real thing, according to my students, which definitely contributes to our excellent success rate) but I sometimes feel we are missing that in between stage of “how to prepare for an interview”. Our students often don’t think about the interview until they get one and I would like them to factor it in a bit earlier in their search for placements so they are not just going “argh I need a mock” two days before, when they have coursework to hand in too! I have run a workshop before but it wasn’t very well attended, although that made for a nice supportive atmosphere in the group.

  15. MissBliss*

    I worked for an organization that has cohorts of temp employees. Not necessarily interns but their roles are finite and they’re meant to be learning. However, their position at the org may be entirely different from their ideal position, and that’s fine. We developed a program where they would identify their ideal position, we’d find a real job description for that level, and then they would prepare for a mock interview for that position. The mock interviewers were stakeholders from outside the organization, oftentimes actually involved in the industries the temp employees wanted to go into, and both temp employees and mock interviewers gave fantastic feedback on the program. It helped temp employees gain insight into how they would need to prepare to get into their ideal careers, and it gave the outside stakeholders insight into how our org was preparing potential employees. It was a heck to coordinate, but worth it.

  16. animaniactoo*

    My dad instituted this in his high school when he was the VP in charge of guidance counseling. He brought it to the next high school he went to, and has continued to advocate for it even though he’s retired now. It made such awesome sense to me, particularly in vocational high schools – but really, as part of any Career/College guidance office, because so many aspects of it also apply to college applications, etc.

    1. Fake Old Converse Shoes (not in the US)*

      One of my college courses included a small presentation, with dress code included! National and state-funded higher education have no dress code whatsoever, so it makes sense to face it sooner than later.

  17. BluntBunny*

    At my university our department had mock interviews, where you got feedback as part of the course. Also we had a career service where you could get feedback on CVs cover letters and applications. The students who used the career service were the ones who got interviews and placements.

    1. beanie gee*

      Mine did too (at least they did 20 years ag0) and it still stands out! Although they were sort of actual interviews also.

      They had recruiters come interview seniors for actual jobs, but you could interview just for practice even if you weren’t interested in the job.

      I remembering interviewing with Enterprise Rent a Car and they asked something about my weaknesses and I totally said I didn’t handle stressful environments well. The interviewer was pretty open in their feedback afterwards and said “Any job is going to be stressful. Learn to deal with stress and never tell tell an interviewer that you can’t handle stress.”

      I was so glad for that practice and feedback! I’m still laughing at myself.

    2. Ilrie*

      It took me years after I graduated to fully appreciate the overlooked gem my college’s Student Career Services office was. They also offered resume and cover letter feedback, and even went a step further with mock interviews by videotaping them (with the student’s consent) and replaying it for us as part of the debrief so we could see for ourselves how we presented during an interview- stressed/anxious? smug? arrogant? uncertain? unprepared? Watching those taped interviews was the worst kind of cringe-inducing embarrassment but so valuable.

      I really lucked out too- my cousin went to a different college in the same university system and their career services was absolutely useless. And to think how this was a thing that never crossed our minds as a factor when we were choosing places to apply for undergrad- I think that’s a damn shame.

  18. Raine*

    I always offer to review their resume at the end of the internship. It’s a great time to help them incorporate everything they’ve done over the summer and I even picked up some modern layout tips for my resume!

  19. Elizabeth the Ginger*

    We do this! I teach at a school where we have associate teachers who work supporting a lead teacher, generally for two years, then go on to lead classrooms themselves. Part of the program is also weekly meetings with professional development. Every spring one of these meetings is a mock interview day, and other teachers volunteer to be the interviewers. It’s always a favorite with the associates, many of whom start doing actual interviews shortly afterwards.

  20. StudentScientist*

    This is something that happens in the field biology definitely. When I was applying to graduate programs I did mock interviews with more experienced people in my lab. They were incredibly helpful! I think it helps that in my field there’s a big culture of giving/asking for feedback.

  21. TootsNYC*

    I don’t think my own interview style would match other styles in my industry.
    But I have developed a set of recommendations and tactics that I can pass along.

    Though, it’s something I might suggest to one of the internship programs in my field.

  22. TootsNYC*

    The head of the unit I interned with dragged me to every meeting he had. It was SO instructive! I learned all kinds of business stuff.

    Then years later, I met the business manager for my department, and i said, “oh, so you’re the one who decides whether the discount a buying is asking for is appropriate and will fit the financial picture,” and she said, “I’ve never heard anyone from your side of the aisle actually understand what we do.”

  23. Jennifer*

    My then 14-year old wanted to be a volunteer soccer coach at a local program that works with small kids, and the coach who runs the program (who is AWESOME), had him go through an “interview”.
    The kid knew (and liked) the interviewer, but was shy, and had to be coached (by the interviewer) through some potential answers (“when I ask ‘how can you help my business’ you might say ‘I am good at coming up with fun games for little kids to play'”).
    Honestly, it’s just one more example of a great coach doing a great job. Now my kid has at least a passing familiarity with what an interview looks like, what kind of questions might be asked, and what sort of answers might be sensible to provide.

  24. Pollyanna*

    We do this as part of professional institute’s mentorship program. I think I must have run several mock interviews over the last 3 months. Mine are kind of casual though, so if the student/intern says something interesting, I’ll say something like “Pause, let’s discuss what you said and expand on it to get a cleaner answer”. Or on the flipside if they say something not great, I will also do a pause and reflect exercise as well.

  25. Richard*

    One of my profs in grad school (somewhat between a professional and academic masters program) gave out mock interview questions after every unit to practice talking about our work. I now do it in the training classes I teach and it’s usually a hit. Great practice!

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