Work-Based Learning - Mock Interview Activity Guide

  • Mock Interview Fact Sheet
  • Coordinator Checklist
  • Virtual Options
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Mock Interview Fact Sheet

What is a Mock Interview?

A Mock Interview is a highly-structured Career Awareness activity in which students are paired one-on-one with a business partner who interviews each student as if he/she were being interviewed by an employer for a paid internship or job. Mock Interviews may be conducted individually at the school, workplace or in a virtual classroom. Mock interviews may also be conducted via phone, FaceTime or Skype, if appropriate permissions, protections and guidelines are in place.

The experience allows students to practice their interviewing skills and professional behaviors while at the same time developing a level of comfort in communicating with professionals. A Mock Interview also offers the chance to demonstrate the connection between academic concepts being taught in school and how they are applied in the workplace.

Sustaining and growing Mock Interviews and all other work-based learning activities depend on maintaining positive relationships with the participating employers. These employers should be treated as valued customers and partners with frequent check-ins to address participation needs as they arise.

Mock Interview Format Options

  • Option 1: A student group visits a worksite and engage in 1:1 mock interviews with employee volunteers. Can be part of a Workplace Tour or a separate activity. Students interview for a generic position, but scenarios may be used to provide context. Group orientations are provided for students (at the school) and employee volunteers (at the workplace).
  • Option 2: Employers are recruited and come to the school to conduct mock interviews for a number of students in sequenced 1:1 settings. Can be part of a Career Day or a separate activity. Students research the industries and kinds of positions available, but not on a specific company or position. Scenarios may be used to provide context. Group orientations are provided for students (at the school) and the employee volunteers (at the school or the workplace).
  • Option 3: Students meet with an employee at their place of work and conduct a mock interview for a specific position on which s/he has developed an interest and conducted research. The interviewing employer is given information about the student, including a resume.
  • Option 4: Virtual Options
    Virtual One On One. Students meet with an employee volunteer virtually.
    Virtual Classroom. Students participate in a mock interview activity via a virtual classroom with breakout rooms.

Mock Interviews are designed to:

  • Provide students an opportunity to practice and demonstrate key employability skills, including communication, critical thinking, workplace appearance and timeliness.
  • Help students practice a work-readiness activity.
  • Allow students to develop a level of comfort in communicating with adult professionals.

Mock Interviews are structured to:

  • Enhance workplace knowledge.
  • Expose students to the skill sets and education/training required for jobs.
  • Simulate an actual job interview.
  • Promote student and adult interactions.

Mock Interviews are supported by:

  • Student preparation and research in the classroom and online.
  • Opportunities to reflect upon the experience verbally and in writing.
  • Employer assessment and feedback regarding students’ interviewing skills.

Mock Interviews are connected to:

  • Classroom learning.
  • Individual career development/training plans.
  • The development of a resume.

Mock Interviews are one activity in the continuum of authentic work-based experiences provided to all students engaged in career-related programs or course of study in New York City Public Schools.

Mock Interviews are recognized as a “Zero Hour” Supporting WBL activity by NYSED and the New York City Public Schools.

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Quick tips for Work-Based Learning Coordinators* to ensure a successful Mock Interview

Before the Mock Interview

  • Identify how many students will be ready for a mock interview and begin scheduling.
  • Determine how you will structure the mock interviews.
  • Work with teachers to conduct a resume-building workshops with students.
  • If a group activity at the school, make sure that space is set up for one-on-one interviews—the right number of tables and chairs and that there are enough employer volunteers to be able to conduct the needed number of interviews in the set period of time.
  • If the mock interviews are happening at the place of business, it may be considered a field trip and school district policies regarding transportation, Workers Compensation and liability insurance may apply. Make sure you plan ahead and address all logistics.
  • Create and provide appropriate support materials for distribution to volunteers who will be part of the interview.
  • Work with the employer to prepare for the interview. Brief the employer on the career pathway students are pursuing and what’s going on in the classroom.
  • If conducting an online activity, confirm the technical details, time and format, Test and practice with the interface prior to the mock interview.
  • If students are interviewing with employer partners over the phone or using another technology, ensure appropriate permissions, guidance and protections are in place. Share those policies with employer partners and students.

During the Mock Interview
(if a sequenced group activity)

  • If rotating students through a group of employers, make sure you have a schedule and that someone is keeping track of time and coordinating the activity.
  • Check in with the employers to see if they need anything, such as water, pen, paper or forms.
  • If being conducted in an online virtual classroom, have someone manage the breakout rooms while you and the teacher monitor activities.

After the Mock Interview

  • Conduct follow-up activities by reviewing the completed evaluations or assessments with the students.
  • Help students update their Employability Skills Profile and think about any next steps they would like to take to further their career goals.
  • Coordinate opportunities for student reflection with teachers to help students make the connection between the mock interview, classroom learning and next steps.
  • Assess the effectiveness of the mock interview and make recommendations for adjustments in the future.
  • Document the experience and provide reports to school leadership and employer partners.

Go Deeper

  • Make the interview part of a project and have students prepare and deliver a presentation to others at your school about the company.
  • Consider any potential public relations benefits and opportunities for the participating companies and share that with them.

Tips for Conducting Mock Interviews Online

  • Identify the preferred format and structure for the mock interviews.
  • Select and personally practice using the selected technology.
  • Make sure all students have access to appropriate technology.
  • Do a practice run with your students.
  • Decide how you want to manage the session. Sometimes it takes one person to moderate and another to monitor the technology and address any questions.
  • Decide which student reflection activities will take place and how you will support them.
  • Make sure you get feedback on the activity from the employer(s) and the students.
  • Record the interview. Use the recording as a way for each student to reflect on and rate their performance.
  • Refer to the Virtual Options section of this site, or download the Virtual Mock Interview Options sheet for more guidance.

*In New York State, this includes certified work-based learning coordinators and others who facilitate, arrange and support work-based learning activities for students.

Sample Timeline

  • Beginning of the School Year: Communicate with potential hosts. Determine dates and student cohorts with school community.
  • Three months in advance: Confirm dates and format, conduct resume-building workshop and recruit students.
  • Two months in advance: Hold employer orientation and elevator pitch workshop. Do portfolio review and assembly.
  • One month in advance: Send/receive forms, confirm logistics and review resumes.
  • One week in advance: Cover travel, safety and attire protocols, resume and portfolio folder.
  • During Mock Interviews: Facilitate agenda, student management and social media.
  • After Mock Interviews: Oversee thank-you notes, reflection and Employability Skills Profile update.

Tips for Success

  • Engage in proper planning and preparation.
  • Address safety, legal and logistical details.
  • Communicate with all parties.
  • Maximize learning potential.
  • Focus on building skills.
  • Connect to the classroom.
  • Provide support for students and supervisors.
  • Promote student reflection.
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Mock Interview Virtual Options


Conducting Mock Interviews virtually requires a careful look at policies and procedures regarding student contact via phone or the internet with industry partners outside the school setting. Mock Interviews are usually conducted individually at the workplace or the school, however they may take place over the phone or using an online platform.

Virtual Activity Options

Remember, virtual activities either promote “live” student contact with adult professionals and front-line workers via the use of technology, or are simulations and provide students with employer exposures through recordings, on-line research and related classroom activities.  Appropriate permissions, protections and guidance should be developed to support these experiences.

Virtual Mock Interviews Options

By Phone or Intranet

A student is formally interviewed via phone, FaceTime, Skype, Microsoft Teams or Zoom by an Industry Partner as if they were applying for a job with the company the partner represents.

Steps to Success

  • 1. Review the Mock Interview Guide. Distribute and review checklists and tip sheets to all parties
  • 2. WBL Coordinator and/or Teachers recruit a range of Industry Partner(s) and match students for the interviews.
  • 3. WBL Coordinator and/or Teachers help students select and test the platform they are planning to use as well as to schedule the interview with the industry partner.
  • 4. Students then contact the industry partner and participates in the interview.
  • 5. Teachers support reflection activities and helps students update their employability skills profile.

Virtual Classroom

Multiple Employers are invited to a virtual classroom.  Each is assigned to a breakout room and interviews students individually.

Steps to Success

  • 1. Review the Mock Interview Guide. Review and distribute appropriate tip sheets and checklists.
  • 2. Recruit a number of Industry Partner(s) and match students for the interviews to participate and interview a number of students.
  • 3. Help select and test the appropriate platform and decide how you will manage the session.
  • 4. Carefully schedule the session and prepare team members to help coordinate the activity.
  • 5. As they sign in, assign the Industry Partners to breakout rooms.
  • 6. Help students as they enter the breakout room to participate in their interview.
  • 7. Teachers support reflection activities and helps students update their employability skills profile.

Go Hybrid

View a recorded mock interview and have students critique it in the classroom.

Special Considerations

  • Ensure appropriate permissions, guidance and protections are in place and share those policies with employer partners and students.
  • Distribute and collect necessary permission forms.
  • Make sure students are comfortable with the selected technology.
  • Remind students to dress as if they were participating in a real interview.
  • During virtual or simultaneous exercises, provide activities for the students who are not being interviewed.
  • Pay attention to logistics during the session.
  • Consider recording the interviews and have each student critique their performance.

Resources & Links