Work-Based Learning - Mock Interview Activity Guide

  • Mock Interview Fact Sheet
  • Coordinator Checklist
  • Required Documents
  • Implementation Tools
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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 remote 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 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 schools.

Mock Interview Options

  • Option 1: Students visit a worksite as a group and engage in 1:1 mock interviews with employee volunteers. Can happen as part of a Workplace Tour or as 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 happen as part of a Career Day or as a separate activity. Students conduct research on 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: Remote Options
    Remote One On One. Student s/learners meet with an employee volunteer remotely.
    Remote Classroom. Students participate in a mock interview activity via a remote classroom with breakout rooms.

Support Materials

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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 remote 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 Remote & Virtual Options section of this site, or download the Remote & 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.

WBL Travel and Media Consent Form (if interviews take place at company location)

Employability Skills Profile