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Western Colorado's Selective University

Interviewing: Mock Interviews and Interviewing Guidelines

The interview is an exchange of information between an employer and a potential employee. Employers use the interview to determine whether or not a potential employee is qualified for their open position and if that person would be a good fit for the company. You, the potential employee, should view the interview not only as an opportunity to impress the potential employer, but also to gather information about the position and the company in order to evaluate whether or not to accept an offer. Use our Mock Interview Service and Interviewing Guidelines to improve your interviewing skills.

Mock Interview Service

A Mock Interview is one of the very best ways to prepare for an actual employment interview, professional program, or graduate school interview. For example, mock interviews may be conducted for: employment opportunities, the Nursing Program, Radiology, Physician Assistant, Medical School, etc. The Mock Interview will help you to learn what is expected in a real interview and how you can improve the way you present yourself.

We will try to make the interview as realistic as possible. Many of the questions you will be asked are interview questions from actual employers or professional programs. The Mock Interview will take approximately 50 minutes. You will be asked possible questions and provided immediate feedback on how you might change or improve your initial response.

The Mock Interview focuses on how well you know yourself and your past experiences, how well you know the industry you hope to enter, and how well you can convey that information. You will gain the most experience from your Mock Interview if you treat it like an actual interview. The Mock Interview is a safe place to practice your interview skills and gain feedback.


  • Prepare for the session by researching your company/industry of interest
  • Investigate and identify the most common industry traits sought (analytical skills, communication skills, business knowledge and problem solving) and the skill/abilities asked for in the job description
  • Outline answers to demonstrate your experience and skills
  • Be prepared to answer behavioral questions, such as "Tell me about a time when" and "Can you give me an example of a time..."

The Session

  • Appropriate dress/attire will be discussed but is optional for the mock interview
  • Greet the interviewer with an enthusiastic handshake and smile
  • Listen to the question--make sure you know what the interviewer wants to know and ask for clarification if the question is not clear
  • Keep your answers concise and to the point--two to three minutes long
  • Make sure you are selling the product: You!
  • Have questions prepared to ask at the end of the mock interview, questions you would ask the employer/school
  • To set-up a Mock Interview, call 970-248-1404.

Interviewing Guidelines

Use the table below for more on preparing for an interview, from common interviewing questions to different types of interviews. For a printable PDF version see Interview Preparation and Execution & Types of Interviews.

Before the Interview

  • Research: Company's mission statement and goals; organizational structure; products/services; how does the company compare with competitors?
  • Self Assess: Be prepared to discuss anything in your Resume and Cover Letter. Review your interests, skills, and values.
  • Anticipate Interview Questions: The interviewer will ask questions about your education and work experience, strengths and weaknesses, and your short and long term goals. Behind these questions are two main concerns: what will you bring to the job? And, how will you fit with the company? For more preparation, see our PDFs of Common Interview Question, Interview Q&A, and Illegal Questions.
  • Plan to Ask Questions: The questions you ask are as important as the ones you answer. Good questions will not only help you obtain information, but will also demonstrate your sincere interest in the job. Make sure you have a list of 3-5 questions to ask during your interview. See out list of Questions to Ask During the Interview.
  • Practice: Practice answering a variety questions you may be asked in the interview. Have a friend practice with you or schedule a mock interview with Career Services at 970-248-1404.

Day of Interview Dressing for the Interview

  • Dressing for Success: You want the interviewer to focus on you, not your appearance
  • The key here is to look professional
  • Make sure everything is clean, ironed, and fits well
  • Be professional at all times
  • Plan to arrive 15 minutes early - call if you will be late
  • Bring: extra copies of resume, references, pen, notepad, and your list of questions

During the Interview

  • Greet the interviewer with a firm handshake
  • Do not sit until you are offered a seat
  • Maintain steady eye-contact
  • Ask for clarification if you do not understand a question
  • Watch out for "umm", "uh," "like," etc.
  • Be yourself - do not exaggerate or be negative

After the Interview

Think about how the interview went. What did you do well and what could you have done better? What could you do differently next time? Make sure you send a short thank-you note.

One-On-One Interview

An in person meeting with one to two people. This is the most common type of interview.

Panel Interview

Interviewed by several people at once. Interviewers usually take turns asking questions.

--Be sure to make eye contact with all interviewers as you answer questions--

Group Interview

An individual or a panel will interview a group of potential employees. This interview gives the employer the opportunity to watch how you interact with others in a group as well as how you make yourself stand out. Group interviews are usually used to eliminate candidates early on when an employer has too many people to interview one-on-one or has a limited amount of time.

Phone Interview

Phone interviews are usually used to select a few candidates to invite for in person interviews. An interviewer will call you at a prearranged time to ask questions over the phone. Make sure you answer the phone professionally and are in a quiet area where you can concentrate on the questions. Have your resume and list of questions for the employer out in front of you for quick reference. Make sure you ask for clarification if you need it.

Meal Interview

This type of interview is used to see how well you function in a social setting. Know the rules of professional etiquette, order non-messy foods, treat your server with respect, and order a moderately priced meal. Avoid alcohol and remember that this is an interview so you must remain professional at all times.