Mock interviews are a great way for students to practice interview skills and build a more thorough understanding of the employment process. By participating in a mock interview, students are practicing skills of responding to and asking appropriate questions, displaying professionalism, and job research. A mock interview is also a great way for instructors to assess students’ skills, motivation, comprehension, and need for growth or support.
Device for note taking
- Organize a mock interview for the student to participate in. Develop a scenario in which the student is interviewing for a job with a fictitious employer. Develop a situation that fits the student’s interest area, and be realistic in matching the job with the student’s experience or skills. For example, if the student wants to be a veterinarian but has no work experience, interview her for a realistic but related position, such as an assistant at a pet groomer or pet store. For the sake of the scenario, the interviewer can pretend to be associated with an actual local business (i.e. the local PetCo).
- To create a more challenging but realistic situation, create a situation where the student is interviewed by someone unfamiliar, and in a less familiar location.
The student should treat the situation as if she is going to an actual job interview. This includes:
- Dressing in interview appropriate clothing
- Bringing a resume and references
- Researching the job and company ahead of time. Students working on assistive technology skills can research online. Others who are working on social skills, or who have more challenges with assistive technology, can ask their friends and family what they know about the company and the type of job they are applying for.
- Develop a list of relevant questions to ask the student. The student should also come up with questions to ask at the interview. Practicing these ahead of time is absolutely encouraged. This is a great opportunity for students to practice assistive technology and/or compensatory skills by writing these questions and accessing them for use during the interview.
- Encourage the students to take notes during the interview, whether this involves typing notes on a laptop or asking to record the interview with a voice recording device.
- After the interview, encourage the student to send a thank you note or email to the interviewer.
- Together with the student, evaluate the interview. Ask the student who she thinks the interview went. What questions were easy? Which were difficult? Did any questions surprise you? If the student recorded the interview, one strategy is to listen back to the recording and talk through it as you go along.
- Try asking the classic “tell me about yourself.” This may seem cliche, but taps into important skills of self awareness, a precursor of career success and self determination.
- Similarly, ask an interview question about strengths and weaknesses. This also taps into a student’s self awareness, confidence, and communication skills.
- Consider disability disclosure. This is something you can discuss with the student beforehand. Will you choose to share that you have a vision impairment during the interview? How will you do it?
This activity can range in complexity depending on the student’s abilities and needs. Not all students need to practice all of these skills at one time. Try focusing only on professional interview attire, how to learn about a job you are applying for, or even how to give a good handshake. All of these skills are valuable for interviews and a number of other professional and social situations.