Interview preparation is an integral part of life. After all, it is the deciding factor to join your dream organization.
You need to present your talents and skills, to shine in the interview. To excel in an interview , it is essential that you practice your interview skills just like any other skill. This is when mock interviews come to your rescue.
A mock interview is a simulation of an actual interview conducted by your peers or mentors. In this post, we will demystify its two most common types: peer to peer and mentor-based and help you choose the right one.
What is a Peer to Peer Mock Interview?
A peer to peer interview is often touted as an excellent starting point to hone your skills.
In a peer to peer interview setup, the interviewer is someone who is preparing for interviews or has experience in your domain.
You can organize a peer to peer interview by inviting your peers, who have experience in the field you are applying for, and get them to ask you questions to test your knowledge. Once the interview is complete, you can ask your peer where you went wrong and improvement areas.
It is the most simple but effective type of mock interview one can opt for.
How it works?
Here is the usual process that is followed in a peer-to-peer based mock interview.
- You can browse the profiles of your relevant peers. You can look at the profiles and check if they are working in your target companies or have similar work experience. This will help you to ask and answer technical questions too.
- Schedule a time to have the interview practice online. You may have a minimum of 30 minutes to 1 hour to conduct the session, as many times as you wish.
- Log in on the decided time over video and connect with your partner. It is always better to have a video round during mock interviews, as you can very well understand the reactions and expressions to learn from them. If you can meet in-person, it would be a much better conversation.
During this type of mock interview, you can become both the interviewer and interviewee.
If you play the role of a peer interviewer, here are some perks that take you a long way.
- You step into the shoes of the hiring manager and think from his/her perspective. This allows you to understand the thought process of the interviewer during the actual procedure.
- When you ask questions to your peer, you can judge the quality of the expected answer; that helps you brush up on your answers when you reverse the roles.
- You learn different approaches to the question you ask.
The Pros and Cons of Peer to Peer Mock Interviews
As already seen, a peer to peer interview is a simple but effective mock interview. It has several pros and cons that can help you decide whether it is the right option for you or not.
Pros of peer to peer mock interviews
- Peer to peer interviews are free. If you are on a shoe-string budget, this type of interview is ideal for getting your capabilities tested.
- Entrusting a peer to test your knowledge has many benefits. One such advantage is the high comfort level you experience in these sessions. You can be yourself, which will help boost your self-confidence.
- If your peer has good experience and technical knowledge, you can learn a lot by asking them even the simplest of questions or doubts that you might hesitate to ask a mentor.
- You can go through as many practise interviews as you want because they are free.
- Opportunity to become a peer interviewer and learn from a different perspective
Cons of peer to peer mock interviews
- In peer to peer interviews, the feedback we receive may be inaccurate and biased. The person interviewing might not want to ruin the relationship with you and may not be ready to give feedback or criticism.
- If the peer is not a professional in your field, the question may be common and not relevant to your needs.
- In a peer-to-peer interview, you are not intimidated by the interviewer. You don’t have to bear the amplified anxiety while being interviewed by the CEO or a person with a prominent personality.
- Also, if the peer is not knowledgeable or good at asking relevant questions, the entire process can turn counter-productive as you will end up wasting a lot of time in finding the correct interviewer.
Popular Peer to Peer Mock Interview Platforms
Here are some of the popular peer to peer interview platforms -
- Pramp (for coding/CS & PM interviews)
- Interviewbit (for coding/CS mock interviews)
- Stellarpeers (for Product Management mock interviews)
If, this type of interview is to your liking then, here’s a comprehensive guide for you to follow.
What is a Mentor-Based Mock Interview?
Mentor-based mock interview is hands-down the best mock interviewing experience you can have.
In such interviews, the candidate is interviewed by a professional interviewer or a mentor who has vast experience in the field.
Many agencies and organizations offer candidates various specialised mock interview services. Most of these organisations and agencies partner with several institutes and are putting in a lot of effort to make the practice interview as realistic as possible. Some of them have even gone to the extent of designing a room that would generate an actual interview atmosphere. Such an interview can also be conducted as an online interview.
Unlike a peer to peer interview, a mentor-based interview will involve multiple levels of interviews such as technical, general, and HR. This is made possible as such agencies will have experts from every department who can conduct a mock interview and provide personalized feedback.
How it works?
The working of mentor based mock interviews is different from peer interviews in the sense that a lot of work goes into mentor assignment as compared to the random nature of peer matching. Choosing a right mentor is vital for effective mock interviews. Mock interview services use different mechanisms to assign a perfect mentor to the candidates.
Here's how we do it at Preplaced:
We understand candidate's requirements and goals
Once the registration process is completed, one of our experts will get in touch with you to understand more about your goals. Your requirements, background, and experience play a crucial role in assigning the mentor.
We find a suitable mentor
We choose a mentor that would perfectly suit your needs. Dream company, years of experience, area of interest, and job role are the factors that are taken into account. Unlike other companies, we use a manual process for this step as it ensures a perfect match between candidate and the mentor.
Our large mentor community helps us to make sure that you get a mentor based on the role and company of your choice. Not only are our mentors domian experts, they are also interviewers of their companies. This enables us to provide real-life interview experience and benefits of interacting with interviewers of top companies.
Candidate finalise the mentor
Once a suitable mentor is selected, we share the complete profile of the mentor. We believe that knowing your mentor is of utmost importance. It inculcates trust and belief about the guidance, you are about to receive. You can go through the profile, achievements, and journey of the mentor and even opt for a different mentor(or a mentor from a specific company) if you wish.
Not all mock interview websites provide this option of checking out the mentor profile. Why would someone do that? Also, change of mentor is not an option. You are stuck with the mentor assigned to you by a random software.
It is extremely important to choose the right mentor. So make sure, this process is rock-solid when you opt for a mentor-based mock interview.
Candidate & the mentor decide interview date
Once the mentor is finalised, you along with the mentor finalise upon a date of the mock interview. You receive a calendar invite for the mock interview session.
The Pros and Cons of Mentor-Based Mock Interviews
A mentor-based mock interview is a great way to prepare for an actual interview. Like peer-to-peer interviews, mentor-based interviews also have their own merits and demerits.
Pros of mentor-based mock interviews
- In a mentor-based mock interview, you can experience a real interview’s atmosphere. You will feel as if you are in an actual interview as the organizations/agencies that offer these services tend to provide the full experience.
- The interviewer is often an interviewer at one of the top companies. This can be intimidating as you are facing a real-life interviewer. This helps in simulating the pressure component of a real interview. After all, that's what mock interview is for.
- As an expert will be your interviewer, you will be able to get a fair idea of the types of questions generally asked to recruit for your chosen role and profession. You will also understand the latest industry trends, adding to your preparation.
- A detailed report of your performance can be given in a mentor-based interview. You will also be provided with additional questions that can help you further with the actual interview.
- Mentor-based interviews are more accurate in terms of analysis and feedback.
- You will be offered basic tips on behaviour and dressing style to follow while attending interviews.
- Some organizations/agencies even offer an interview with company-specific questions, particularly about FAANG mock interviews. In other words, your interviews can be customized based on company you are preparing for. Eg:- Google mock interview, Facebook mock interview, Amazon mock interview, etc.
Cons of mentor-based mock interviews
- Most mentor-based practice interviews are paid. Multiple interviews might become expensive as you will end up paying a fee for each interview. But it is worth the money to discuss subject-matters in detail with industry experts.
- It might sometimes be more difficult to discuss your issues with a mentor as compared to a peer. Many candidates feel scared to argue or put forward their points in front of a mentor. But this is often a one-time problem and goes away with subsequent sessions. Almost all mentors understand this problem and are as friendly as possible.
Popular Mentor-based Mock Interview Platforms
Here are some of the popular mentor based mock interview platforms -
- Preplaced (for all domains)
- Interviewbuddy (for coding/CS interviews)
- Interviewing.io (for coding/system design/CS interviews)
- Techmockinterview (for coding/CS interviews)
If you have any other queries about mock interviews, then you can refer Ultimate guide to mock interviews to get more insights and clarity.
When to Opt for a Peer to Peer Mock Interview?
- A peer to peer mock interview is ideal if you are in the initial stages of your interview preparation.
- It is also an apt choice if you have a peer who has already attended the interview from the same organization or works in the organization that you are applying for. They will share their first-hand experience concerning the type of questions asked and the overall interview atmosphere. If you have a peer who has extensive technical knowledge, he/she can help you prepare for technical interviews.
In summary, peer to peer interviews is perfect if you are in the initial phases of interview preparation, and you can structure the entire interview process well. Since your focus will be on practising more during the initial preparation phase, you might not need the help of experienced interviewers.
When to Opt for a Mentor-Based Mock Interview?
- If you are in the final stages of interview preparation and wish to be 100% prepared for your interview, you should consider a mentor-based practice interview. It will give you real-world experience and will help you correct whatever mistakes you had been making.
- A mentor-based is also ideal if you are not overly concerned about the price factor. After all, you cannot put a price tag on your dream job.
- It is also ideal if time is critical and all you seek is professional and rigorous training in a short period that can help you face your dream company’s interview and crack it.
- Many websites including Preplaced provide interview preparation packages, entirely based on mentor mock interviews. You can do your entire interview preparation using such programs if you don't want to experiment and would rather follow a tried & tested curriculum to crack your dream company.
Both peer to peer and mentor based mock interviews have their advantages. In ideal case, it is recommended to follow up a peer to peer interview with a mentor-based interview. Together, they will make you into a thorough professional that is ready to face any and all interview in the future.
If you are not sure, as to how to plan your interview preparation strategy or when and how many mock interviews to take, you can even have a discussion session with an experienced mentor. Such a session will help you come up with a clear preparation and mock interview plan.