Post Academic

(Unofficial) Interviews You Don’t Want to Have #5: The Mock Interview

Posted in First Person by Arnold Pan on December 17, 2010
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So I guess my first interview wasn’t really a real interview to begin with: It was a mock interview with my advisor and one of my other diss committee members, along with one person I didn’t know.  Normally, I passed on the dept-sanctioned fake interviews, in part because I didn’t really want the powers-that-be in my business–for instance, there’s always one *really* nosy professor who likes to take credit for your interviews/job even when s/he’d totally ignore you otherwise–and in part because I was too cool for school. But my faculty peeps set up their own ad hoc alterna faux interviews for us self-identifying outsiders, so there was no excuse not to do them.  Here are what ended up being the pros and cons from the experience…

PRO — Practice makes better: I had never been under the intense scrutiny of a job interview, with the closest thing being the qualifying exam orals.  The mock interview at least gave me a chance to give my dissertation spiel, even though I probably ended up giving it less than half the time in my real interviews.  But the experience was useful in helping me tweak my answers, mostly through a process of elimination, since I learned more about what I shouldn’t be talking about.

CON — Role playing is only playing: The thing is, though, I didn’t find the role playing plausible.  For starters, I’m a bad bluffer, and even more so in front of people who know me.  So try as I might, I found it hard to ham up my answers in front of my faculty members, whom I kept worrying had their BS detectors on.  I know they weren’t there to check on the progress of my dissertation, but that’s how I felt.  I’m just not a good enough actor or an imaginative enough person to pull it off.

More pros and cons of the mock interview and making a mockery of yourself, below the fold…