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5 Effective interview exercises to be prepared

5 Effective interview exercises to be prepared

  • What is the best way to practice for interviews?
  • How can you practice interviews by yourself?
  • 5 Practical (and fun) exercises to prepare for an interview
  • 1. Do a “Personal Map” 
  • 2. Improv! 
  • 3. Write out your interview answers 
  • 4. Try a board game!
  • 5. Learn how to loosen up 
  • Key takeaways

You can’t know exactly what you’ll be asked during an interview. But there are a few interview exercises that can help you be extra-prepared for the big day no matter what comes your way, and as a bonus, you might even have fun doing them!

The whole point of a job interview, from the hiring manager’s perspective, is to use professional tools to ascertain the best candidate for the job. To do that, they may use a slew of common interview questions, situational or behavioral questions, or open-ended questions. While you can prepare for those—and you absolutely should—there are some other, more unexpected questions you might be faced with. To ace your interview, you need to be prepared…for the unexpected.

In this article, we’ll discuss how you can prepare for anything that comes your way during an interview, including:

  • What is the best way to practice for interviews?

  • How can you practice interviews by yourself?

  • 6 practical and fun exercises to prepare for an interview

What is the best way to practice for interviews?

The first (and best) way to practice for your interview is to do a little “prep work” first. It’s not fun or glamorous, but having a solid foundation will help you prepare for whatever question the interviewer throws at you. Do you need to reschedule the interview? Read on our blog you can you do this without burning any bridges.

  • Do your homework. Research both the company and the role, ensuring that you have a good grasp of all that the job entails. 

  • Look at the company culture, via company website and social media profiles, and make sure you jibe with it. 

  • Evaluate your body language. How we present ourselves has as great an effect as what we say. Convey confidence, openness, and affability.

In addition to preparing answers to common interview questions, which you can read about here and here.

How can you practice interviews by yourself?

Generally, an interview is a two-person operation: one person asks the questions and the other (you) provides effective, thoughtful answers. So how do you prepare if you’re working solo? Here are five things you should do:

  • Talk to yourself. While it may feel awkward, practicing your answers out loud is the best way to develop your confidence in presenting a concise, relevant answer. Consider recording your answers, either on video (which will also help you assess your body language) or audio, and playing them back to double-check how they sound and if you've fully answered the question.

  • Pick a card, any card. The interviewer won’t ask you questions in the exact order in which you rehearsed them. Try writing your questions on index cards and shuffling them. Be prepared no matter which order the questions come to you.

  • Phone a friend. Recruite a friend or family member to ask you sample interview questions so you get comfortable answering them. Working with people you know and trust can help you gain confidence and help you fine-tune your responses.

  • Have a dress rehearsal. Take your interview outfit for a test drive. Not only will it help you determine whether your clothing is comfortable and appropriate, but it will give your practice interview a sense of how you’ll feel when you’re actually interviewing. It will also let you check your clothes fit, have no stains or tears, and look okay when you’re sitting down.

5 Practical (and fun) exercises to prepare for an interview

As important as preparing answers to common questions is, there is more you can do to be prepared for an interview, and some of it can be fun! These exercises might feel silly, but they’re effective, and they might also give you some insight about yourself. 

1. Do a “Personal Map” 

Write down several areas of your life—personal relationships, goals, or pastimes—and use those as “jumping off” points to identify things in those areas that are important to you. Draw lines between connected ideas and find commonalities. Add colors and explanations to create more detail. You may discover a new passion or something about yourself you didn’t realize before!

2. Improv! 

Improv games are designed to help you think on your feet. If you can recruit a friend, improvise a mock interview where they ask you off-the-wall questions, or where you don’t know what job you’re interviewing for but have to answer using your real background and experience.

3. Write out your interview answers 

Check your sentence structure, tone, spelling, and how you organize your thoughts. In addition to this, read our article if you can bring notes to an interview.

4. Try a board game!

Interview Challenge” is a game that helps you hone your interview skills. The player must give a fictitious candidate the best advice to succeed in their interview and provide sample answers. that can help you develop the best answers for your own situation. Career.io’s Interview Prep tool also offers mock interviews, personalized feedback, and expert-based AI insights.

5. Learn how to loosen up 

Interviews can be nerve-wracking, so it's important to know how to deal with that stress. Before your interview, try some warm-up  relaxation exercises, like shaking out each limb or deep breathing. Just make sure you do them in a private place if it’s right before your interview. You never know who’s watching!

Need help keeping track of your job search? Try Career.io’s Job Tracker tool, which will help you apply for jobs, keep track of your applications, and view your progress, all in one convenient online dashboard.

Key takeaways

  1. Before practicing for your interview, do a little “prep work” first, which will provide a solid foundation that will help you prepare for whatever question the interviewer throws at you.

  2. You can prepare for an interview by yourself by doing writing exercises, phoning a friend for feedback, or recording your answers.

  3. There are a lot of unique and fun exercises to prepare for your interview, such as online or board games, improv exercises, relaxation techniques, or creating a Personal Map.

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